8759589098_2557c7b277_n_1Photographs of Tecnalia workers fighting for their jobs of work are a tremendous blow to the eyes of the industrial and technological Basque Country. And I am not referring to the layoffs themselves, to those affected we transfer our support and closeness from here. These adjustments have not been the first nor will they be the last in Euskadi and, even worse, it is easy to find files and dismantling processes that are much more traumatic than the one I am talking about (that each one put their own, so as not to fall into comparative grievances) . What these demonstrations against the dismissals show is the weakness of the Basque science, technology and innovation system itself and of its founding principles, based on the long-term commitment term of the Government, networking of agents and public-private collaboration.

First of all, let me tell you that I am one of those who think that Tecnalia is not an “ordinary” institution, it is one of the basic pillars of our science and technology system and of the bet that we have made as a Country to build an innovative and competitive productive fabric. Together with Ik4 it is, without a doubt, the most differential factor and with the greatest potential that we have in this difficult mission. It gives the impression, however, that Tecnalia is overcoming its economic problems as any company in any sector does, -with all the respect that this deserves-: adjusting expenses to income and “laying off people” which, seen in terms accounting, are the highest “expense” of a research center. In addition, he probably does it like this because he has no other choice (or at least it is what I can think externally, without more information than what is public to everyone). But let me tell you, there are other ways to do things if we think in the long term and in a different way.

A “Plan for the Restructuring of our Science and Technology System” is urgently needed, which does not have to be done by Tecnalia, but by the whole of Society. What technological system do we want? What role should each agent play and, in particular, Tecnalia? What I think about this I have written in various articles on the blog and it can be summarized very briefly: we have to strengthen the two technology corporations (Tecnalia and IK4) to build a top-level European technology sector in the Basque Country . Logically, there is a long way to go on this path, but the first message that society must hear is that the technological system must be strengthened and that it has all the support to do so. I fear, however, that the message we are receiving is a very different one. Do cuts in science and technology budgets ring a bell? To serve as an example and point of reference for what I am saying, does anyone have the slightest doubt that our financial system is undergoing a major restructuring process? No! Does anyone doubt that the public sector supports the consolidation and strengthening of the financial system? Of course not, and he has ample evidence that this is so. Well, it’s a shame that this is happening with the financial sector and we have serious doubts that this is happening with our science and technology system.

In addition, it is necessary to really value the “public-private collaboration” of which we pride ourselves so much in the Basque Country, because it is in these moments of difficulty when it really takes on special relevance. It is a complex management model, which has worked well in our system, making the most of the public willingness and financing capacity, together with the guidance, professionalism and management capacity provided by the private initiative and the results are there. In moments of difficulty, we have to ensure that it also works properly and that the true contribution of the model is valued, assuming all the parties, the responsibility that corresponds to them.

It is very likely that the government is taking important action on the matter. It does not transcend public opinion, surely due to the discretion that accompanies the Lehendakari’s attitude, but it cannot be otherwise. The government is aware that it is the main historical architect of the Basque science and technology system and Tecnalia is the jewel in the crown. Minister Tapia has repeatedly shown her sensitivity to technology as a guarantor of the industrial competitiveness of the Basque Country and we also convey our encouragement to her from here so that she can go to the front of the demonstration and explain everything that is being done to not only prop up but also promote the Basque technology sector to the highest levels of international competitiveness. Tecnalia is a bit of everyone and betting on its future is, to a large extent, the responsibility of those who are now in charge of managing the Basque public house.

You can see the photo that accompanies the article in more detail here