INNPULSO Network of Science and Innovation CitiesPublished yesterday in Official State Gazette a initiative we talked about a while ago, the City of Science Award and the Innovation. Some time ago, when the State Fund for Employment and Local Sustainability 2010, we wrote about the role that the Ministry of Science and Innovation in said fund, trying to support, as far as possible, the presentation to said fund of projects that promote innovation at a local level.

Time has shown that this second call was once again a lost opportunity and again, most of the projects have served only to barely maintain certain construction activity in the town halls. At the time, the Ministry wanted to increase its ability to influence the destination of these municipal funds by opening the INNPULSO Network program, which included two lines of action:

1. Support Office: the State Society for the Development of Design and Innovation, DDI, will be in charge of offering a consultation and advisory service for municipalities. In this sense, the Office will advise the town councils on the possibilities they have to formulate projects in the field of R+D+i, within their competences and the existing capacities in their municipality.

2. Science and Innovation Cities Award:With With this distinction, the Ministry will recognize the Town Halls that are firmly committed to R+D+i. The objective of this distinction is to recognize and give prestige to those municipalities that, regardless of their size, are making an effort to promote science, innovation and change the pattern of economic growth.

The order published in the BOE now regulates said badge, specifying its details and opening the first call:

The Ministry of Science and Innovation is convinced of the important role that local entities play in achieving an innovative society due to their proximity to citizens, companies and institutions, for which reason it proposes to find spaces for shared management and mobilize town halls as integral agents of the State Innovation Strategy.

With this objective, the Ministry of Science and Innovation creates the distinction “City of Science and Innovation”, whose purpose is to recognize the leading cities in the creation of competitive advantages thanks to the combination of intellectual capital and knowledge of its human resources and advanced innovative scientific, technological and social infrastructures. All those who achieve this recognition will form part of a Network that promotes collaboration and the realization of shared projects.

The State Fund for Employment and Local Sustainability, managed by the Ministry of Territorial Policy, is an opportunity to bring knowledge closer to the territory and for municipalities to become agents of development of an innovative and sustainable economy. With the objective that the municipalities participate and play their role in this change of economic model through innovation, the Ministry of Science and Innovation will grant the distinction “City of Science and Innovation”, in its first call of 2010, to those who have shown a greater commitment to innovative projects charged, fundamentally, to the aforementioned Fund.

The distinction will have three categories depending on the size of the population of the municipalities and in each category ten municipalities will be awarded, with a vocation in addition to being awarded annually by the , after the prior processing of the candidacies by the General Directorate of Technology Transfer and Business Development< /a> and the final decision of a jury.

The most important thing, however, is the assignment of a series of benefits to obtaining the prize:

a) Authorization for the use of the distinction in the communication and promotion of the city, both nationally and internationally.

b) Promotion and promotion of collaborative projects between the municipalities that are integrated into the Network of Science and Innovation Cities.

c) Integration of the Network as a reference entity within the MICINN-MITYC Working Group on scientific tourism.

d) International promotion of Science and Innovation Cities in international events related to R+D+i and knowledge-based development.

e) Preferential consideration of these cities for the location of scientific and technological facilities owned or owned by the state, as well as to locate nodes of the MICINN network of Information Points on R+D+i, (PIDI network).

f) Prioritization of these cities as preferential places to organize the meetings of the department with the Autonomous Communities and other agents of the R&D system, as well as for holding congresses and seminars of their Public Research Organizations.

In order to obtain the distinction, city councils must demonstrate their commitment to promote innovation projects, understood as:

a) Those aimed at promoting economic activity, entrepreneurship and innovation, such as business parks, science and technology parks, knowledge centers and business incubators, as well as their provision of infrastructures for deployment and access to new generation telecommunications networks.

b) Those for the creation, equipment and development of innovation and technological development infrastructures.

c) Those aimed at improving access to networks and infrastructures of information technology and fixed and mobile telecommunications, and their use.

d) Those aimed at improving the green economy, understood as a pattern of growth that respects environmental sustainability, rational use of natural resources, energy efficiency and increased use of renewable energy both in municipal assets, especially buildings , as in the public services provided by the city council, with special attention to innovative collective transport and new forms of mobility.

e) Those aimed at promoting innovation in the health and care economy (day centers, care centers and the elderly), as an improvement in the quality of life of the citizens of the municipality.

f) Those aimed at modernizing the municipal administration by establishing document management processes, digitization and access to high-speed, fixed and mobile communication networks.

g) Centers for culture and scientific-technological dissemination (science or technology museums, energy museums, scientific-technical dissemination/interpretation centers…).

h) Residences for researchers and training centers.

Regarding the benefits, they seem meager. They navigate between the increase in visibility as exemplary town halls in the commitment to innovation and the priority when it comes to hosting some activities of the innovation system. The most promising seems to be the provision of preferential consideration when locating scientific or technological facilities, but it is a problematic issue. The criteria for locating infrastructures or facilities of any kind depend much more on criteria of political opportunity, balance of interests or, simply, who is capable of proposing additional resources.

As for the projects, the regulations seem to be weighed down by the fact that they were born linked to the State Fund for Employment and Local Sustainability. In fact, for the 2010 edition, it will be the projects financed by this fund that will count, which is why the list of types of projects includes the types that were tried to support with the fund. This explains why the list is somewhat confusing, with projects of different signs.

Like any award, it is expected to have an incentive effect: give relevance to the municipalities that are most committed to the transformation of the productive fabric and science and technology. The incentive still seems scarce, but surely it can serve to have at least a clearer image of which projects from the state fund have been more worthwhile in terms of technological investment and which municipalities have had the capacity to mobilize them. Beyond that is a deeper debate on the territorial development model and how it is linked to economic transformation.