Tag Archives: R&D

Internationalization of innovation

Internationalization and innovation form the two pillars on which the growth of many successful companies is based. Economic globalization is driving all agents in the production system to expand their activity into new areas. Globalization is behind the creation of transnational partnerships, and provides opportunities to exploit competitive advantages in new markets.

Agreements and alliances are indispensable in these processes, and require resources in order to identify partners, negotiate, draw up and implement agreements successfully.

The concept of open innovation, which we mentioned in a previous post, points in the same direction as globalization. This was highlighted by Henry W. Chesbrough in his book of the same title: “Today, in many industries, the logic that supports an internally oriented, centralized approach to R&D has become obsolete. Useful knowledge has become widespread and ideas must be used with alacrity. If not, they will be lost.”

For a multinational or large company operating in global markets, internationalized innovation is part of the work philosophy. But what happens in small and medium-sized companies?

There are ways to help SMEs to access this global reality. One way is through initiatives promoted by agencies such as ACCIÓand by organizations including the ICEX, the CDTI and chambers of commerce like the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce. Opportunities may also arise in more everyday processes such as participation in and attendance of trade fairs in the sector, involvement in trade missions, specialized information in the press, and contacts made through suppliers, distributors and clients.

A few days ago, CIT UPC had the opportunity to take part in an event organized by FEDIT and ICEX on: Spain-Peru Technology Day, “Cooperation for Innovation in energy, sustainability, and recovery and marketing of industrial waste”,which was held in Lima on 2 December. There, we had the opportunity to present some of our technological capabilities to Peruvian companies in the energy, environment, sustainability and climate change sectors. Some of the technological developments and projects we presented were water management and treatment systems, systems for reducing the energy costs of industrial processes and technologies related to acoustics and vibration.

The experience was very positive, as there are real opportunities to collaborate and apply our technological potential in markets that are expanding rapidly. In these markets, local companies need to acquire innovative technologies to meet new demands and challenges associated with growth, as well as to comply with new regulations, address more complex, more expensive demands, and face competition with other companies that have competitive advantages.

For a technology centre like the CIT UPC, the prospect of contributing through innovation to the development of emerging countries such as Peru is a challenge. It involves working with Peruvian companies, universities and technology and research centres. We must join forces and establish permanent links between companies and universities from which everyone benefits.

This is both a challenge and an opportunity. As in the business world, internationalization offers new spaces in which to grow and improve, in which the value of knowledge and knowledge transfer increases dramatically and contributes to spreading the values on which our activity is based: efficiency and sustainability.

Horizon 2020, ready to go!

The most important programme for funding Research and Innovation in Europe is ready to go. The initial doubts about the kick-off of Horizon 2020 are now solved, as everything indicates that January 2014 will see the launch of its first calls. The H2020 programme will run from 2014-2020 and counts with a provisional budget of €70 billion for a seven-year period.


But how will H2020 differ from its predecessor, the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7)? Firstly, H2020 brings together three initiatives that were separate in the past, i.e. the FP7 itself, the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme (CIP) and EU’s contribution to the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT). In addition, the H2020 will put greater emphasis on innovation and supporting close-to-market activities, which reflects in the creation of a wide range of actions addressing these objectives.

Finally, there will be simplified rules for participation, with the promise of reduced bureaucracy and shortened times to grant. Similar attempts were made in the transition from FP6 to FP7 -with limited impact, to be honest-, so we will have to wait in order to assess the real effectiveness of this new set of measures.

With respect to its structure, the H2020 is built around three main pillars: i) Excellent science, which covers the existing ERC, FET, Research Infrastructures, and Marie Curie programs; ii) Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies, supporting the development of technologies that underpin innovation across a range of sectors; and iii) Tackling societal challenges, which specifically addresses major concerns shared by European citizens through dedicated instruments. Pillars one and three will each account for some 37% of the overall budget, while the second one is expected to receive some 22%.

With major financial and administrative issues settled, several work programme drafts already circulating and a good number of infodays planned in the coming months, the European research community will restart engines after the summer. Autumn will see the beginning of a frenetic activity, with European organizations working on the materialization of their H2020 strategy and the birth of the first project proposals and consortia.

The UPC BarcelonaTech Technology Center (CIT UPC) is fully engaged into this process. May you be interested in mutual cooperation, do not hesitate to contact us. See you in H2020!