Through the Ministry for Business and Labours' ACCIÓ Technology Innovation Hubs, the Government of Catalonia has allocated 4.2 million euros to support technology and innovation development projects. This initial funding has helped to generate and additional one from Catalan companies, totalling an overall investment of 10.1 million euros, which will help develop these types of projects over the next two years.
These projects, using RIS3CAT’s intelligent specialization strategy, will focus on industry research and experimental development to create new or technologically improved products and processes. This year's investment was allocated to 41 RIS3CAT-strategy projects will be developed either individually, by business consortiums or through technology and research centres over the next two years.
According to ACCIÓ Managing Director Núria Betriu, “this funding is an incentive for research and experimental developments activities to take place in Catalonia yet there is a strong international element present here”. “This year's contest prioritized near-market projects that will make a clear impact in generating industry activity and the transfer of knowledge” stated Betriu, highlighting that “the grants will give way to new prototypes and demonstration models for products, technologies and services”.
Overall, the 41 projects will be developed by 48 companies, research hubs and technology centres -the majority from Catalonia, but several of them international. The Technology Innovation Hubs programme, for instance, includes the ERANet Manunet competition
, which focuses on international cooperation for advanced manufacturing projects, and the Israel-Catalonia bilateral program
, which accrues companies from both countries.
Of the 7 intelligent specialization areas defined by the Generalitat’s Industrial Strategy, the most prominent projects were found to be in the areas of health, chemistry, energy & resources, industrial systems, and nutrition.
The Generalitat launched its Technology Innovation Hubs programme in 2007, and its competitions have already been allocated 76 million euros for the development of 217 innovation projects, gathering more than 183 million euros in investments.
Superbam, Cutrob+, and Cat.t2 are some examples of successful projects from previous competitions.
Superbam, a project led by the Catalan company Pedelta, uses advanced technology to create easy-to-build structures with innovative and resistant materials which are easily transported and can be commercialized nationally and abroad. Pedelta has designed and built more than 1,500 highway, railway, and pedestrian bridges throughout the world, in partnership with Compass Systems and Engineering, Sis Next and Comsa Emte.
Cutrob+ is a ground-breaking project that has helped to make industrial robots more precise, allowing them to replace costly and less-flexible machinery. TECNOCIM, Noguera SA, Deltatec and the BDigital technology centre have worked together to develop state-of-the-art artificial intelligence software that can significantly improve complex tasks, such as sheet-metal parting. This software, which will be ready to be marketed next year, can also be used for new or existing robots in any sector.
Cat.t2, from last year’s competition, is a projected led by dualStream (La Salle DTI) though a consortium with Retevision, Mier Communications, and Promax. The consortium has already developed prototypes and is currently producing and commercializing professional equipment to broadcast digital TV using second-generation terrestrial digital TV standards. Their research has helped them design and develop an entire system which can be used worldwide to improve image quality and cell-phone reception.