Innovation culture

Smart cities to tech start-ups: the future is very present


Barcelona Synchrotron Park

Both the public and private sector in Catalonia have made innovation a priority with the Catalan government actively supporting R&D programmes and with the Business Enterprise Sector funding a remarkable 55.4% of the total R&D expenditure -a value above the Spanish (45.0%) and EU average (54.8%). It may be small but Catalonia already produces 1% of the world’s scientific output.

Tap into investment in R&D

Catalonia is Spain’s major science laboratory, with over 1.4% of GDP going to R&D, its output is a quarter of the nation’s total, and nearly 1% of world production - on a par with Finland and Scotland. Nature magazine coined the phrase “Catalan Scientific Power” recognising its significant contribution in fields like medical research. In fact, six of Spain’s leading clinical research units are in Catalonia.

An example of Catalan Scientific Power is the Biocat Foundation. Created in 2006 at the behest of the Government of Catalonia and the Barcelona City Council, Biocat brings together representatives from all areas of the biomedicine and biotechnology sector: Administrations, universities, research centres, companies and support bodies. Its aim is to create a strong research environment, an active transfer of knowledge and a dynamic business ecosystem.

Tap into innovation in business

With under 20% of state spending, Catalan enterprise still accounts for nearly 22% of companies responsible for innovation with the figure even higher among SMEs. Special focus is above all on the pharma industry, biotech, biomedicine, medical technologies, ICTs, multimedia and audio-visual sectors.

Tap into prestigious science parks and cutting edge scientific facilities

Catalonia has a number of leading science parks linked to prestigious universities and medical facilities, such as: Barcelona Science Park (PCB), Barcelona Biomedical Research Park (BBRP), UAB Research Park (PRUAB), and August Pi i Sunyer Institute for Biomedical Research (IDIBAPS).

BarcelonaTech is a Catalan University specialised in the fields of architecture, science and engineering. Committed to excellence and well connected to the productive sector, Barcelona Tech, as well as the rest of Catalan universities, is a driver of economic and social change.

Catalonia boasts several state of the art scientific facilities including the Synchrotron ALBA (the first particle accelerator in Southern Europe), MareNostrum (Spain's premium supercomputer and one Europe's foremost), IDIADA, a state of the art system used in the automotive industry, and the National Microelectronics Centre (Spain's largest public centre for microelectronics).

Tap into technology centres

Firms based in Catalonia and who are aiming to increase competitiveness and capacity in technological terms find the perfect partner in TECNIO.

TECNIO acts as an innovation partner for local firms and, via its network of over 100 technology transfer centres and experts from a range of associated sectors, it detects the needs of companies and puts the technological capability of the Catalan business network at their disposal. It also provides them with support in securing funding and in-project management, while searching for strategic technological partners.

With 160 full-time engineers, scientists, support staff and technicians, ALBA third generation synchrotron is one of Catalonia’s leading state of the art research facilities.
Catalonia produces 1% of the world’s scientific output, 9 times what would correspond to its population. Research accounts for 1.68% of GDP (slighty below EU average) and obtains 7 ERC grants -to top researchers- per million population (similiar to Sweeden).