Technological Centres present a new R&D model with a decalogue of measures to improve Spain economic indicators
Fedit Report #Desafío2027 was presented during the 25th anniversary event
The Minister of Science and Innovation, Diana Morant, opened yesterday the commemorative event of the 25th anniversary of the Technological Centres, Fedit, and she announced the creation of a permanent working group between the Ministry of Science and the entity. This commitment comes after the claims of the sector since despite the 75% drop in the State’s contribution to the Centers in the last ten years, each direct job they create generates 4 more in other parts of the economy and are agents with the highest cumulative success rate in innovation support programs such as Horizon 2020, among others.
The celebration of Fedit’s 25th anniversary brought together leading figures from business, research and administration. CETIM Technological Centre was represented by its executive director, Lucía Vázquez.
During the event, the Fedit Report # Desafío2027: towards a new R&D&I model and the new Fedit Technological Centers corporate video were presented and a round table discussion was held under the title, “The Spanish opportunity for the future of business innovation”.
Specifically, the Fedit Report #Desafío2027: towards a new R&D&I model analyzes how, unlike similar successful models in Europe, the network has been forced to operate in a regulatory and budgetary environment full of territorial and competitive barriers, and at a clear disadvantage with other agents in the ecosystem. Despite this, the Centers have consolidated an efficient and competitive model, ready to support economic growth and the development of the innovation system.
As the president of Fedit, Carlos Calvo, has indicated: “if the Technology Centers received recognition and support at similar levels as public policies applied in those countries we want to approach, would Spain be a more competitive country? In light of the available data and the conclusions of the Report that we present today, the unequivocal answer is yes”.
In this line, the director of Fedit, Áureo Díaz-Carrasco, explained how the competitive capacity of the Technology Centers is reflected, among other sources, in the latest data from the Science, Technology and Innovation Information System (SICTI) of the Ministry of Science and Innovation, with very revealing data. For example, Universities and Technology Centers were awarded in the accumulated of 2017 and 2018 a very similar number of collaborative projects in competitive concurrence, despite the great difference in means and resources that each one has.
In fact, the final income balance places the Technology Centers in the top of the national technology transfer ecosystem. The competitive capacity of the Technology Centers in the field of technology transfer, despite the unfavorable regulations and aids, is accredited by the facts and legitimizes them, therefore, to claim better attention in public policies to support innovation that still show shortcomings that hinder a greater deployment of their activity.
Asynchrony and barriers to SME innovation
According to Fedit, the latest series of data provided by the SICTI survey highlights, on the one hand, an asynchrony between the real way in which technology transfer is articulated and, on the other hand, the model of the different Administrations. The worrying thing is that all this translates into problems of access to finance for SMEs and a limiting factor for them to increase their presence in R&D&I initiatives, when it should be the other way around.
Other data included in the report and discussed during the event are:
- They led 259 projects in the European Horizon 2020 program, 28% led by Spanish entities, the highest percentage among all agents in the Spanish innovation ecosystem.
- They have the highest cumulative success rate in innovation support programs and have grown the most in the science and technology ecosystem.
- For every euro they spend on their own R&D, almost 2 are created in embedded technology; for every euro invested in the Technology Centers, another 3 return through tax revenues; and for every direct job they generate, they get 4 more in other parts of the economy.
- They have increased in four years more than 100% the percentage of their own R&D income, reaching 40% of their total budget in 2019.
- While the State’s contribution to the group of Centers has been reduced by 75% in a decade, the volume of resources raised in international calls by the network has tripled. They are the agents most used by companies to carry out R&D, driving SMEs to turn them into innovators.
Decalogue for a new innovation model in Spain
The purpose of the report presented is to contribute to the improvement of the R&D&I system and for this it formulates 10 proposals with which it intends to feed a debate that allows improving science, technology and innovation indicators in Spain:
- Promotion of business R&D&I.
- Promotion public-private collaboration in R&D&I.
- More facilities for private financing.
- Betting on the Technology Center model is betting on the country’s competitiveness.
- Imitate European models of success
- Recognize and value the public interest of the Technology Centers.
- Equal conditions for all research organizations.
- Improve governance and interregional and network coordination.
- Stability and predictability in the allocation and execution of public funds in R&D&I.
- Implement accountability models in technology transfer.
The Technology Centers and the Federation that represents them, were born in 1996 under the impulse of the business network, and have been able to evolve and become benchmarks in the transmission of cutting-edge knowledge to the economy. The cases of Fraunhofer in Germany, Catapult in the UK and GTS in Denmark confirm the robustness of the model in Europe.