On other occasions, we have discussed the role of foundations in the area of innovation. The facts, and the figures that support them, highlight the role of this kind of organization in research and development activities. With almost 8 billion euros contributed to Spain’s GDP and over 200,000 employees, this is a key sector in fields such as health, education and research.
In response to changes over the last twenty years, foundations have become platforms for collaboration between companies and government departments. In the area of research, they are now strongly consolidated instruments, with solid structures and a crucial role in the relationship between the production sector and the organizations in which most research and development activities take place, particularly universities, technology centres and public research organizations.
Foundations have been incorporated into these processes because they meet the needs of stakeholders in the system, including researchers and technologists, and businessmen and managers of companies that are committed to innovation. One of these needs – perhaps the main one – is to work as a hub that facilitates the relation between entities that differ in their nature, organization and objectives, but all work in the area of research.
The change in funding instruments, which are increasingly focused on occasional or regular collaboration between the government and the production sector, has also strengthened the foundations’ role as an intermediary. Foundations also have an important function in projects funded through competitive calls, most of which are international. In this case, the foundations’ experience and their contacts with entities in other countries is a key factor.
On the occasion of the European Day of Foundations, it is worth analysing not only the activity that foundations now undertake, but also their scope and the role they are called to play in a context in which innovation is increasingly open and collaborative. This is still a challenge and an opportunity. Knowledge transfer, recognition of the value of knowledge, promotion of applied research and response to technological needs have been the aims of the UPC Technology Center (CIT UPC) foundation since its creation five years ago.
That is why we are joining this celebration. Our strength can be seen in the activity of over 500 researchers in the 20 centres that are members of the CIT UPC, around a thousand agreements with companies in many different sectors, 119 registered patents, and 25 spin-offs founded as a result of the research that we have developed.
Happy European Day of Foundations and Donors.