Catalonia is a highly innovative region that enjoys a privileged position in the European context. The expenditure in R&D grew by 5.5% in 2017 and reached €3,273.4 million, accounting for 23.3% of total R&D expenditure in Spain.

With leading scientific facilities, such as the ALBA Synchrotron, Mare Nostrum Supercomputer, Biomedical Research Park, Scientific Park of Barcelona or ICIQ, Catalonia has a well-established innovation scene that helps international companies achieve their innovation goals.

Foreign investment

Barcelona, considered the 4th tech city in the world, has also been ranked 5th in the list of most attractive European cities for foreign investment in the technology sector. Therefore, Catalonia has strengthened its position as an FDI destination. Some cases of cutting-edge multinationals performing R&D in Catalonia include HP, Amazon, Facebook, Nestlé, Bayer, Nissan, Roche or BASF.

Catalonia has the higher number of innovative companies in Spain, representing 22.2% of Spain’s total. The expenditure in technological innovation by Catalan companies has been growing for three years in a row, adding up to €3,367.2 million. Moreover, high-technology exports rose by 1.2% in 2018, a record for the third year in a row.

Available skilled workers

The availability of highly skilled talent, with a wide range of profiles, will adapt to any of your company’s innovation needs. Barcelona has strengthened its position as one of the world’s leading cities in international talent availability, with the number of professionals employed in R&D activities increasing around 4%. The number of researchers in Catalonia is also growing by 4%.

Catalonia, with more than 1,050 degrees and masters, and more that 236,000 university students, has one of the highest student populations in Europe. Scientific publication is outstanding, and patents and technology transfer collaborations are growing at a healthy pace. With 0.1% of the planet’s population, Catalonia accounts for 1% of worldwide and 3.7% of EU-28 scientific production. Also, Catalan requests for European patents showed a relevant increase of 15.7% in 2017.

An international startup hub

Catalonia is home to more than 1,300 startups that share a passion for innovation and thrive in sectors like Internet & Mobile Software and Services, eCommerce and Big Data. A global landmark, Barcelona is the 3rd city preferred by entrepreneurs to create a new startup, only behind London and Berlin. Check the Barcelona and Catalonia Startup Hub to browse through all the startups based here.

Also, Barcelona is the 5th European region in terms of startups, according to several renowned international rankings such as EU-Startups and Startup Heatmap Europe. The city has become a clear benchmark in Europe in the creation of new companies, especially those with a technological base. In fact, 26% of workers and 15% of founders of these startups are foreigners. Top incubators and accelerators help boost the startup ecosystem in Catalonia.

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Success stories

Ramon Pastor, HP

Any of this would have been possible if we would have not been able to attract the best talent thanks to a very powerful educational ecosystem of scientific and technological universities, as well as management training centres