Patricia Argerey Vilar | Director of GAIN: “R&D&I is one of the strategic pillars of Galicia’s economic recovery plan”
Immersed in the definition of the new Smart Specialisation Strategy of Galicia (RIS3) that will guide the priorities of Galician innovation in the 2021-2027 period, the Xunta de Galicia focuses all its efforts at this moment on contributing to the economic reactivation, been aware that a knowledge-based economy is a more resilient economy.
GAIN is the public agency in charge of leading the innovation policies of the Xunta de Galicia. What are its main objectives?
The mission of the Galician Innovation Agency is to coordinate the R&D&I policies of the Xunta de Galicia and, specifically, to define and promote policies aimed at enhancing knowledge and its transferability, increasing results and stimulating the structuring of the Galician innovation system, fostering scientific and technological research and development, promoting the internationalisation of Galician agents, attracting and retaining talent, supporting the promotion and dissemination of scientific and technological knowledge in Galicia and supporting and boosting the growth and competitiveness of Galician companies.
In this regard, what are your priorities in terms of innovation policies and programmes?
We are currently working on the definition of the Galician Smart Specialisation Strategy 2021-2027 (RIS3), which will establish the challenges for R&D&I policies over the coming years. However, the impact of the coronavirus pandemic has made us focus all our efforts on contributing to the reactivation of our economy, being aware that R&D&I is one of the strategic pillars of this plan for the reactivation and dynamization of Galicia. A knowledge-based economic model contributes to a more resilient economy. In fact, Galicia has suffered a lesser impact of this crisis thanks to a more diversified economy.
With the RIS3 Strategy as the backbone to intensify Galicia’s specialisation in our competitive advantages, what novelties will the transition to the new period 2021 – 2027 bring? Will this new RIS3 Strategy influence the map of the Innovation Support Agency?
The new Smart Specialisation Strategy for Galicia 2021-2027 will be aligned, on the one hand, with the new European challenges and priorities and, on the other hand, will include the conclusions of the evaluation of the previous strategy. Among these conclusions, we will reformulate support instruments with new formulas for public-private collaboration, we will support more, larger and more transformative projects, we will strengthen governance and we will improve coordination.
Regarding the 2021 support map, we have already introduced some new instruments that respond to these identified needs, such as support for the competitiveness of SMEs through the Digital Innovation Hubs, new agents that function as one-stop shops to facilitate the access of small and medium-sized enterprises to cutting-edge technologies and other support services for their digitisation. Along these lines, we have launched the Conecta Hubs call for proposals and, shortly, a specific Covid-19 line and the Hubs Vouchers.
Facing the current pandemic situation, and to help repair the economic and social damage caused, the European Union is launching a Recovery Plan that will lead the way out of the crisis and the double ecological and digital transition. How does GAIN support and promote these new mechanisms in Galicia?
Galicia is committed to coordination when designing the application for the Next Generation European funds. In this way, the objectives are to comply with EU requirements to ensure the correct execution of the funds, to guarantee the alignment of the driving projects included in the European recovery funds and that these have a driving effect on the Galician R&D&I ecosystem, to establish priorities in line with those set by the EU and to ensure the correct coherence, effectiveness and impact of all the funds and actions to achieve a real transformation of the production system and a clear commitment to sustainability.
The excellent knowledge of the Technology Centres will be key to the dynamization of the corporate R&D&I for its recovery in this new context. What priorities will GAIN establish in order to continue its support for the Technology Centres?
To the extent that technology centres contribute in boosting business innovation, especially among SMEs that do not have the capacity to carry out research and development tasks on their own, technology centres will continue to play a key role in the innovation policies of the Xunta de Galicia. In this regard, it is planned to maintain the programme-contracts with the consolidated technology centres to cover their structural costs, involve them in strategic projects and continue to encourage their participation in the various calls for proposals to support corporative R&D&I projects.
R&D&I, the Circular Economy, Sustainable Digitalisation and proximity to the Industrial Environment will be fundamental pillars for innovation and recovery in the coming years. In your opinion, what role does CETIM play in this transformation?
As a technology centre, CETIM is called to support the Galician business network, especially SMEs, in those strategic areas in which it has capabilities, such as advanced materials, biotechnology and digitalisation, all of which are essential enabling technologies that contribute to the modernisation of traditional productive sectors.
Finally, what are the challenges that GAIN wants to achieve in the near future, and where are you directing your efforts?
At the moment, GaIN’s priorities are, on the one hand, to support SMEs by promoting their modernisation through digital and green transformation and, on the other hand, the commitment to talent to ensure that the Galician economy grows on the basis of knowledge, putting the focus on people and, in this way, to have a Galicia that is more prepared, more enterprising and that can generate an economy with greater added value.
The Galician Innovation Agency is a regional public agency, attached to the Second Vice-Presidency and Regional Ministry of Economy, Enterprise and Innovation, which aims to promote and structure innovation policies in the Galician public administrations, and to support and boost the growth and competitiveness of Galician companies, through the implementation of efficient innovation strategies and programmes.