Michał Kurtyka graduated from the prestigious Ecole Polytechnique in Paris and received a scholarship in quantum optics from the National Institute of Standards and Technologies in Washington (DC), where he worked under the lead of William D. Phillips, Nobel Prize Laureate in Physics. During his studies, he also specialised in economics, with particular emphasis on market organisation under the lead of Professor Jean Tirole, Nobel Prize Laureate in Economics in 2014. He also studied international economics at the University of Louvain La Neuve and was awarded a Master's degree at the Warsaw School of Economics. He defended his PhD dissertation at the University of Warsaw. In the past, he worked as a professor, teaching change management, economics, market organisation and industrial strategy at the University of Warsaw, Collegium Civitas, Oxford Programme on Modern Poland. He co-authored the concept of effective change management in an enterprise, described in the book Zarządzanie zmianą. Od strategii do działania, he also wrote Od restrukturyzacji do modernizacji. Opóźniona transformacja polskiego sektora elektroenergetycznego w latach 1990-2009.
He began his professional career in the Office of the Committee of European Integration, in the team of Minister Jan Kułakowski, responsible for conducting accession negotiations with the European Union, where he led an analytical team and was directly responsible for the area of energy and transport. Later on, he carried out the modernisation processes in numerous Polish companies, where he supported adaptation to the challenges of the European and global market. He promoted European cooperation in the field of industrial changes and adaptation of European industry to the challenges of globalisation within the framework of the European University of Labour and the Dublin Foundation.
He created the governmental programme for the development of electro-mobility in Poland, described for the first time as a concept in New Electricity and New Cars, a book written in 2013-2015, together with Prof. Leszek Jesień. He also serves as Chairman of the Steering Committee of the Electro-mobility Programme.
Since 1 January 2016, he has been working as the Secretary of State at the Ministry of Energy, where he has been directly responsible for technological development and innovation in the energy sector, implementation of climate and energy policy in the fuel and gas sector, international relations with countries and international organisations. His duties also included supervising the participation of the state in the largest Polish energy companies in the oil and gas sector, such as Orlen, Lotos and PGNiG. He was the initiator of the “Electro-mobility Development Plan” and then piloted the creation of a law on electro-mobility and alternative fuels, thanks to which these forms of transport will be able to develop dynamically.
On the 27th of April 2018, he was appointed as the Plenipotentiary for the Presidency of the COP 24 Summit.