The Basque Government has spent months working on the preparation of a new regulation of the complex network of scientific-technological agents that the Basque Country possesses. It seems that soon it will see the light!. The idea pursued is to order the complex conglomerate a bit. A goal more than healthy. The risk may lie, however, in that excessive regulation may impede a certain flexibility and adaptability of the various agents to changing circumstances. This new regulation should not serve to denature the true power of some member agents, sometimes not sufficiently understood (read, Cooperative Research Centers) or to deflate by decree some cooperation platforms between agents that are always so desirable to gain critical mass and position the Basque technology worldwide (read in this case Ik4).

Over the years, the Basque Science, Technology and Innovation Network has incorporated almost 200 entities that make up the backbone of the Basque innovation and knowledge ecosystem. The Internet represents the best example of a government’s ability to do things to transform the competitive profile of the industry. It began to take shape almost 30 years ago with the promotion of the Technological Centers. Today a good number of them are united around the technology corporation Tecnalia. The rest, some very much at the forefront, are still debating whether or not to deepen the alliance they maintain within the framework of IK4 . If they are conceived as a sector of activity that competes globally, it seems clear that that is where the shots should go, although nothing in this sense is noted in the draft of the Decree.

After the technology centers, other types of interest were promoted. The majority with an eye always on the competitiveness of the Basque industry. Some (the Business R&D Units) aimed at formalizing and making visible the commitment of the main Basque business groups to R&D. Today there are more than 70 R&D Units. Other types (as is the case of the CIC, Cooperative Research Centers ) aimed at building new industries based on Science. The CICs were conceived as spaces to promote industrial leadership based on excellent research. Despite their youth, some CICs have obtained extraordinary results in their scientific field, but they are still very young centers and need some understanding and a lot of perspective so as not to fall into the temptation of assimilating them to other more short-term typologies or less transformative ambitions. The opportunity of the CIC model is still there and we encourage political leaders to explore its true conception and empower them as leaders of the country’s industrial transformation in the most emerging areas.

In another order of things, the managers of the Network immediately knew how to see that without the entry of the Universities in the dynamics of science and technology, the country was going to be uncompetitive. In addition, they opted to promote some niches of scientific excellence and they did so around the BERCs, configuring these today as the spearhead of Basque research not linked to industry. They are small kingdoms of excellence that, acting together, could perhaps magnify the impact of Basque science. As with the CICs, each one on their own, the impact is more anecdotal from the point of view of a country.

Finally, there are around fifty intermediary agents who carry out intermediation functions. Some are 100% public and others are public-private foundations with different origins and circumstances. It is in this typology where the multiplicity of agents is most evident. The regulatory decree prefers not to enter to assess their opportunity and is limited to having them identified.

We trust the historical intelligence of the Basque Government when it comes to using this decree as a tool to reverse the trend towards disinvestment in science and technology and to reinforce the strategic elements of the Basque competitiveness system compared to others more accessories.