The Basque Country has obtained 195 million euros in funding during the first four years of the 7th European Framework Program for R&D
The region accounts for 6.2% of Spain's GDP yet has managed to obtain a return equivalent to 16.6% of Spain's income from the program
During the first four years of the 7th European Framework Program, the Basque Country has increased its income by 49% in comparison with the preceding four-year period.
Bernabé Unda, the Minister for Industry, Innovation, Trade and Tourism, Cristina Garmendia, the Minister for Science and Innovation, and Octavi Quintana, the Director of the European Commission's Research Area, today inaugurated the 5th Conference on the 7th European Framework Program for R&D, held in San Sebastian.
The Basque Country has revised and raised its objectives for the next two and a half years, and intends to obtain 220 million euros from the current Framework Program.
The Basque Country is among the Spanish regions that have most benefited from European funding in R&D. Today, San Sebastian's Kursaal Congress Hall hosted the inauguration of the European Framework Program conference, a two-day event that will showcase the advances made by the Spanish research agencies and companies taking part within the context of R&D in the European Union. The conference will also provide an opportunity to present successful case studies and examples of good practice.
The Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation selected the Basque Country to host this year's conference, which is held annually. Around a thousand people are expected to attend. The Basque Country has managed to obtain 195 million euros of income during the first four years of this 7th European Framework Program for R&D.
This is a remarkable figure, given that the region represents just 6.2% of Spain's GDP yet has received 16.6% of the country's Framework Program income over the last four years.
In total, Spain has obtained in excess of 1325.7 million euros in funding, representing 7.6% of the total funds awarded to the 27 members of the EU and an investment of almost 1925 million in R&D activities. Spain is sixth on the list of recipients, behind Germany (18.4%), the United Kingdom (16.3%), France (12.7%), Italy (9.5%) and Holland (7.7%).
The weight of the Basque Country's contribution to Spain's achievements in terms of obtaining European funding for R&D also translates into success in the international context. The region accounts for just 0.54% of EU GDP, yet during the first four years of the current program it has obtained 1.22% of the entire funds available for the 27 countries that make up the EU, thereby improving its performance by 34% in comparison with the previous framework program.
Bernabé Unda, the Minister for Industry, Innovation, Trade and Tourism, today inaugurated the conference with the help of Cristina Garmendia, the Minister of Science and Innovation, and Octavi Quintana, the Director of the European Commission's Research Area. Unda remarked that "our companies and other entities are very active: they carry out high-quality R&D activities and they are capable of attracting significant proportions of the funding offered by the European Union".
He also noted that the results obtained for the 2007-2011 period "significantly exceeded the objective set for this period in 2006, which established a goal of 180 million euros of funding".
The Basque Country participates in the program through its companies, technology centres, universities and entities belonging to the Basque Network for Science, Technology and Innovation. Together they have attracted 49.4% more income than in the previous four-year period, which corresponded to the 6th Framework Program.
A total of 606 Basque entities have participated in projects funded by the program, leading 134 of these programs. The funding objective established in 2006, in the Basque Country's Strategic Plan for Europe, has therefore been exceeded by 8.8%.
It should also be noted that companies were responsible for 22% of the funding received and technology corporations were responsible for a remarkable 51%, participating in 289 projects (and leading 65 of them) with a total funding of 97 million euros.
The activities that attracted the most funding to the region were in the field of NMP (Nanotechnologies, Materials and New Production Technologies), followed by the ICT, energy and transport fields. The Basque Country achieved outstanding results in several areas: % of Spain's total funding for NMP, 21% of its total funding for energy, 20% of total transport funding and 9.3% of total funding for ICT.
During his address, Unda informed those present that he is working to make sure the Basque Country remains "amongst the regions that obtain the highest levels of funding. Our projects are at the level of the best in Spain and Europe".
2013 objectives are raised
The minister also confirmed that the Basque Country has recently revised its objectives for the remaining two and a half years of the 7th Framework Program, which will come to an end in late 2013. Objectives have also been revised upwards in regard to the forecasts made in 2006.
As a result, the forecast of 210 million euros for 2011-2013 has been adjusted to around 220 million euros, anticipating annual funding in excess of 70 million euros. To date, a little less than 50 million euros in funding have been obtained each year.
The Basque Country is now working on defining its position in relation to the 8th Framework Program, which is to be dubbed the European Strategy for Research and Innovation. The Basque Government wishes to add its efforts to the Spanish position, which is being prepared by the Centro para el Desarrollo Tecnológico Industrial (Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology - CDTI).
Unda concluded his remarks by emphasising the importance of innovation, research, development and internationalisation, "in order to ensure the progress of the Basque Country, Spain and Europe".
Juan Tomás Hernani, the General Secretary for Innovation, is to bring the first day of the conference to a close by handing out various distinctions to Spanish organisations that have coordinated major European projects corresponding to the 2010 bidding period.
The conference has been organised by the Ministry of Science and Innovation via the CDTI, in collaboration with the Basque Government's Ministry of Industry, Innovation, Trade and Tourism via the Sociedad para la Transformación Competitiva (the Competitive Transformation Company - SPRI).
San Sebastian, June 20th, 2011