The Minister for Business and Labour, Felip Puig, announced that the Catalan Government would continue to support industrial innovation programmes in order for the country to regain its “leading position in innovation strategies”. Minister Puig also gave a brief explanation regarding the instruments being currently implemented by the Government of Catalonia to stimulate research, including the Ministry’s intelligence specialization strategy (RIS3CAT), which aims to make the industrial sector grow in a balanced and sustained way by encouraging R&D investigation among Catalan companies.
In line with this push to enhance innovation in Catalonia, the Ministry has also created a “national technology hub”, called Eurecat. By combining the six advanced technology centres in the TECNIO network (CETEMMSA, Barcelona Digital, Barcelona Media, ASCAMM, CTM Centre Tecnològic and Leitat), Eurecat aims to provide Catalonia with industrial technologies to facilitate small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) with access to high levels of innovative technology to increase competitiveness and growth. Additionally, the Government of Catalonia has allocated 45 million euros to this project until 2016.
On a similar note, Felip Puig announced that the Ministry for Business and Labour has given an additional boost to various instruments which were already in place, such as Innovation Technology Bonds to encourage small and medium sized enterprises to carry out their initial innovation projects with established tech providers.
Furthermore, Puig recognised that “after years of decline”, the 2012-2013 period witnessed a point of inflection with a 0.2% (€1.67bn) rise in R&D investment and with similar figures expected for the 2014-2015 period, the prospect for the coming years is, as Puig describes, “encouraging”.