A combination of factors not easy to find in many places in the world.
Catalonia combines a series of highly attractive factors that make it a great location for R+D activities and that are hard to find in other areas of the world.
First and foremost is the availability of top-notch talent, with a great pool of young and bright university-educated professionals with a wide range of profiles and specialities that adapt to any company’s needs. In fact, Catalonia, with more that 220,000 students, has one of the highest student populations in Europe. Furthermore, it’s capital Barcelona, is a magnet for young professionals and researchers from all over Europe and beyond, due to its quality of life.
Scientific levels achieved by research in Catalonia are demonstrated by the fact that the majority of the financial aid given by the ERC (European Research Council) to Spain is concentrated in Catalonia.
Efforts have been made to strengthen the facilities and middle organizations like Research and Technology Centres. Scientific publication has increased dramatically in recent years, and patents and technology transfer collaborations are growing at a healthy pace. To this effect it is important to note that a large number of Catalan companies, mostly SME’s, are participating in this effort.
Besides the human factor and the excellence of the research system, both universities and public administration are clearly committed to raising the productivity of the economic base through fostering R+D activities. One of the main efforts in this aspect is the adoption of a highly advantageous interesting tax regime for R+D activities.
The region’s industrial tradition, based on medium technological manufacturing industries that have to undergo a process of strategic specialisation, has an active and significant number of companies collaborating with the knowledge pool, thus creating a positive open innovation climate. This network of SME’s allows not only clients and suppliers to enter processes of open innovation, but also collaborating companies. In fact, Catalonia has always been one of Europe’s pioneering regions in working with clusters of innovation and competitiveness.
The urban geography facilitates the process, dominated as it is by the Barcelona metropolitan area, but it is also complemented by a network of mid-size cities, many of them with university schools and research centres with significant economic and social activity.
Significant clinical research activity
Catalonia is renowned for its clinical research in human health with a network of 215 hospitals, six of which are among the most efficient in Spain in terms of scientific production. The amount of research and clinical trials, and the presence of a strong ICT and mobility initiatives, like the Mobile World Capital, also means that Catalonia is at the forefront of the ICT applications in the health sector, with a specially created agency, TicSalut, to promote implementation and support of specific projects.
Reinforcing this cluster, the four largest Spanish pharmaceutical companies were founded and have their head offices in Catalonia. Seven of the world's leading multinational pharmaceutical companies are also located here. Pharmaceutical companies in Catalonia top the field in R+D and account for almost 50% of this sector in Spain. Catalonia is also home to 66% of fine chemicals companies