Spain: Industry sides with science

  • Business organizations, and associations connected to R+D+i express their support towards research, backing the petition of the Severo Ochoa and María de Maeztu alliance (SOMMa).
  • SOMMa advocates in favour of the political class acting to clear the administrative problems currently affecting science in Spain.
  • SOMMa and the organizations supporting this initiative represent close to 6,800 businesses, societies, centres and research units, which employ more than 500,000 people in Spain, and have an economic activity equivalent to 10,53 % of the GDP.

In a recent event in Madrid, the alliance of the Severo Ochoa and María de Maeztu research centres and units (SOMMa) expressed its concern about the reduction of financing for R+D+I, and the administrative problems that constrain Spanish science. As well, the alliance presented the “SOMMa Position Paper: Actions required to safeguard science competitiveness” to all Spanish parliamentary groups in order for them to address these problems as soon as possible.

Now, for the first time, business organizations and associations linked to R+D+I in Spain express their support towards Spanish research, and towards the initiative promoted by SOMMa. In particular, they stress the need for adequate, specific regulations within the framework of the European regulations, safeguarding the competitiveness of the research sector, as happens in other countries. As well, they insist on the need to make science a priority, and to promote innovation, allowing knowledge to translate into tangible benefits for society.

SOMMa has received the support of the most relevant industrial associations and organizations linked to R+D+i in Spain, which represent companies from a variety of knowledge areas such as biotechnology, digital technologies, aerospace, amongst others. They include the Spanish Bioindustry Association (ASEBIO), the Association of Electronics, Information Technology, Telecommunicacions and Digital Contents Businesses (AMETIC), and the Spanish Association of Defence, Aeronautic and Space Technological Companies (TEDAE). SOMMa also has the support of the COTEC Foundation for Innovation (COTEC), which promotes innovation as a driver for economic and social progress, and the Confederation of Scientific Societies of Spain (COSCE), which calls for coherent, efficient and transparent science policies. SOMMa has, in addition, the support of the Network of Research Entities in Management of Clinical, Health and Hospital research (REGIC) as stated in this release.

Support of business and the industry will strengthen the position of SOMMa in defence of science and research
Support of business and the industry will strengthen the position of SOMMa in defence of science and research

All these entities, together with the members of SOMMa, represent close to 6,800 companies, centres and research units that employ more than 500,000 people, and which have an economic activity equivalent to 10.53 % of Spanish gross domestic product.

“It is not only a matter of defending science from the point of view of research institutions. Science is crucial to boost economy and the business sector is convinced about it. So they support us in this call for all political parties to decisively support research,” expresses Luis Serrano, director of the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), and president of SOMMa. “It is urgent that steps are taken to safeguard the competitiveness of science, and by extension, of the Spanish economy. For that, we need to unlock the resolution of the administrative problems currently affecting R+D entities, and to increase the investment in R+D+i”, he finishes.

“Without science it is impossible for our country to be competitive, and for our companies to innovate. ASEBIO wants to support all initiatives focusing on bringing science to public and political debate, and from that stems our commitment and support to SOMMa. We consider that the moment has come to lay the foundations of a new model of public financing for R+D+i and for a stable regulatory framework reflecting a decided strategic support for R+D, with a mid- and long-term vision, and a wide political consensus,” explains Ion Arocena, general director of ASEBIO.

From the ICT sector, Pedro Mier, president of AMETIC, said “the IT sector, in our country but also internationally, is one of the most relevant actors regarding R+D+i, which is key for the productivity and competitiveness of industry. Any country aiming at promoting high added-value employment and at bolstering salary growth must invest into knowledge generation”. He continued stating that, “technology-based innovation, so relevant in this new industrial revolution, requires of a strong scientific system which is well-connected to business. Such a system is not improvised, and is the result of a sustained effort which reflects a long-term political commitment, and a shared, common project for our country, something which we do support.”

The associations Feique and Farmaindustria also shared the concerns expressed by SOMMa regarding the problems that R+D+i faces in Spain. In a joint statement made public some weeks ago, they explicited their commitment towards R+D -hence with the centres devoted to research, and with the public-private collaborations in that field-. In that statement, they joined the appeal to facilitate a discussion by politicians and officials. This, to allow for the taking of structural measures to promote research in Spain, with a strategic and long-term vision, and particularly, in the biomedical, pharmaceutical, chemical and biotechnological fields.