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Why Spain loses money with innovation

If innovation is a key factor in the competitiveness of companies and countries, and Spain is one of the 10 most innovative countries in the world, then why do we lose money with innovation instead of earning it?

Spain, at the head of scientific production

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According to the latest GFI Report , our country is the 10th in the world in scientific production. Specifically, Spain is responsible for 3.36% of the research carried out in the world, only behind the US, China, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, France, India, Canada and Italy.

Not bad for never having been considered a power in this regard. In addition, we have a high degree of scientific excellence, that is, that our research is among the 10% most cited in the world in prestigious scientific journals. Even in the worst years of crisis, Spanish research did not stop increasing in quantity and influence.

It is at the time that the new findings move from paper to physical reality when our problems begin:

  • – The interest of the universities happens mainly to publish, since it is what gives them the prestige, and not so much to enter the market, so that they invest many resources in research but not so much in patents.
  • -It is common for universities to investigate freely, without taking into account the needs of the market, that is, they do not usually start from what companies need to develop, so they later find a lower output.
  • -The business financing of R&D has not stopped reducing since 2010. According to the latest GFI Report, in 2013 only 6.6% of Spanish research was financed by private companies.

Result: Of the 84,007 investigations that Spanish universities conducted between 2009 and 2013, only 2,951 (3.51%) ended in patent applications . That is, a large part of the internal expenditure allocated to R&D, equivalent to 1.2% of GDP according to the Main Science and Technology Indicators, is an investment that Spain will not recover .

‘Tech transfer’ as a solution

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The solution to this obvious disconnection between university and company goes through a mediator who makes the technological transfer or tech transfer (TT), that is, get that the technological advances do not remain in the university, but are exploitable and accessible by the major Number of users. To achieve this, these mediators transfer knowledge, skills, technology, manufacturing methods, etc. discovered at the university (inventor) to the company (recipient). In other words, the TT takes all that intellectual capital and with it creates value for the technology market.

Continue alying the taxation policy

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Although tech transfer has been applied for years , its current situation in Spain is far from being ideal , as evidenced by the fact that neither the media nor the Government mentioned it. In fact, the last time international experts met to discuss the issue was during the last GFI Conference held in Barcelona.

Among their conclusions , these experts highlighted the need to give prestige to the figure of the intermediary, create international networks that ensure a fluid interaction between agents and, above all, manage to banish the misconception that technology transfer is an investment in science , when It is an investment per se that would help us not only to stop throwing money invested in research , but to boost the development of multiple factors in society.

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