The Lehendakari at the opening of the UPV/EHU Science Park
Lehendakari Iñigo Urkullu presided over the opening of the UPV/EHU (University of the Basque Country) Science Park. Accompanied by the Chancellor of the UPV/EHU, Iñaki Goirizelaia, and the Basque Government's Minister for Education, Linguistic Policy and Culture, Cristina Uriarte, he visited some of its premises. Located within the setting of the Bizkaia Campus in Leioa, the Science Park currently is home to four buildings.
Driven by the University of the Basque Country and by the Basque Government, through the Bizkaia Science and Technology Park, its mission is to be a benchmark infrastructure to facilitate innovation and knowledge transfer to the Basque manufacturing sector. This platform is a meeting point between university, science and company, and the first park offering these specific characteristics in the Basque Country.
The development of the science park is conducive to the generation of an innovation ecosystem that seeks to drive scientific and technological entrepreneurship and transfer. Thus, the UPV/EHUko Zientzia Parkea is a first-rate space dedicate to research, development and innovation (R&D&i) whose main objectives is to encourage university-industry relations, create new technology spin-offs and highly-skilled jobs, and to foster the incorporation of researchers in companies.
During his speech, the Lehendakari stressed that “we are all here together today and the emphasis is on collaboration. At times of economic hardship, the concentration of private and public endeavours has allowed us to invest in innovation and remain among the average of advanced European countries. The economic opportunities offered by the global economy require decisive investment today”.
He also stressed the firm commitment of the Basque Country to giving impetus to science: “We are focusing on collaboration as part of the Science, Technology and Innovation Plan and with the Smart Specialisation Strategy-RIS3. We have earmarked 11,100 million for investment up to 2020. Last week, the European Union named the Basque Country as the only autonomous community of the whole of the Spanish State to still retain its high-innovation region status. Our shared commitment is for the Basque Country to remain green on the European innovation map".
The new Science Park will be home to different research centres. In this regard, the Lehendakari pointed out that "our shared commitment is to create and finance centres for excellence dedicated to basic research. This Science Park is going to be home to four Basque BERC Centres (basic excellence research centres, promoted by the Basque Government)”. During the opening, the delegates visited one of those BERCs already up and running there, the BC3, the Basque Centre for Climate Change. It is one of few centres in Europe specialised in long-term research into the causes and consequences of climate change. Nearly 50 people make up its research teams.
The Science Park has started out with four buildings. the Headquarters Building, pioneered by the Bizkaia Science and Technology Park; the Biofisika Institute, the María Goyri Centre and the Martina Casiano Platform, with the last three attached to the University of the Basque Country.
The UPV/EHUko Zientzia Parkea Headquarters Building will host companies, institutions and private or public research centres related to the university. BC3. is already based there.
Achucarro Basque Centre for Neuroscience will soon move to that building. It is an excellence research centre (BERC), dedicated to translational and basic research in neuroglial biology to discover new therapies for brain diseases. One hundred and twenty researchers work there. The BERC Achucarro aspires to become an international first-class research centre in basic research, post-graduate training and knowledge transfer in neurosciences.
At the Biofisika Institute (Joint Centre of the UPV/EHU and of the Spanish National Research Council-CSIC), 150 people are involved in cross-curricular research into biological membranes, their components and relations between them by means of advanced biophysical techniques. The fundamental objectives of this centre of excellence in biophysics are to generate knowledge, advance in the knowledge economy, establish market-oriented technological platforms and maximise private-public partnership to channel technology transfer.
The María Goyri Centre will host research groups in the areas of Biomedicine, Food Science and Sustainable Ecosystems. The Analytical and High Resolution Microscopy in Biomedicine and Proteomics Units of the Advanced Research Facilities (SGIker) will also be based there.
The Martina Casiano Platform will be dedicated to the area of Materials Science and Technology, and research groups in those fields will be based there. The Central Analysis Service and Magnetic Measurement Units will also be located in this building. The BERC BCMaterials, the Basque centre for materials, applications and nanostructures, is also expected to move to that platform.
The María Goyri and Martina Casiano buildings will be opened at the end of this year.