robot_hand_narrowweb__300x451,2Last Thursday the 8th of July an important agreement was signed in Eibar between the alliance of technology centers IK4 and the Basque Government, through its Minister of Industry. According to the aforementioned agreement, the Basque public administrations (and in particular the Government) would assume control of 25% in the governing bodies of the technological alliance IK4 Research Alliance (formed by CEIT, Cidetec, Gaiker, Ideko, Ikerlan, Tekniker and Vicomtech -this year Lortek will be incorporated).

The Basque Government (with the support and complementary drive of the Provincial Councils) has been building over the last 25 years a dense network of scientific and technological development centers in direct collaboration with the business sector in one of the best examples of public-private cooperation that exist in Europe. The chosen model (consolidation of private foundations whose boards of trustees are made up of numerous companies with names and surnames) has made it possible for the Basque Country to be a reference in R&D, at least at the State level. However, the chosen legal architecture had a pending issue that was never fully resolved: the role played by the Government in decision-making and in the ownership of these bodies.

With this agreement signed with IK4, a step is taken in the positioning of the Government in the bodies of power of these institutions, partly resolving the paradox of the institutional model that was chosen, which allowed decisive and continuous support from the Basque public sector but which it did not guarantee the preeminence of the government’s position in decision-making, even though it was, by far, the main investor in these institutions.

At present, the entire Basque scientific-technological framework is immersed in a process of integration and concentration in order to more effectively face the challenges that it has posed (basically, accompanying the Basque business sector in its process of competitiveness in a global knowledge society where technology is the cornerstone of the model). The maximum exponent of this process is, however, the merger of the centers associated with Tecnalia and which in the coming weeks will give birth to the largest technology corporation in southern Europe by effectively integrating the rest of the main technology centers in the country (Labein , Fatronik, CIDEMCO, Inasmet, ESI, Robotiker and probably also LEIA and EUVE).

In the coming weeks we will see how this delicate matter has been resolved at Tecnalia and how the institutional architecture of this corporation is finally articulated and the role reserved for the Government to ensure the contributions that all citizens make to these knowledge institutions that have a private legal formulation.

In any case, the process of concentration and corporate integration that is taking place among the Basque technology centers is great news and there is a clear determination of the current Government to consolidate it in the coming years and to incorporate the rest of the agents of the Basque System into the process. of Innovation and in particular the Cooperative Research Centers (which arose with the idea of ​​deepening, in coordination with the Technological Centers and with the Universities, the generation of knowledge of excellence in emerging fields) that also need an adaptation to the new model which projects, for an increasingly present future, two large scientific-technological corporations in Euskadi that neither of them can do without such a valuable treasure.