sourceThe Spanish Association of the Science Industry, Ineustar , and the Basque headquarters of the European Spallation Neutron Source (ESS-Bilbao) have signed a collaboration agreement to facilitate interaction between the Spanish industry that works (or wants to work) in the construction of scientific infrastructures and those responsible for ESS-Bilbao. This is good news that shows the growing commercial interest of many Basque and Spanish companies in everything related to the construction and maintenance of these large scientific facilities.

The loss of the Basque candidacy to host the European Spallation Source (for the benefit of Sweden) was redirected towards the construction of a sub-headquarters in Bilbao to carry out a series of research activities. This second project (with a planned investment of 180 million euros) has been involved, however, in a certain amount of media controversy in recent times because both the Ministry and the Basque Government have been questioned by their political opponents (fundamentally, the PNV) to know the true determination of both executives in this initiative. The Ministry of Science and Innovation has recently ratified its commitment with the project through financing via a loan under very preferential conditions.

It is not entirely clear to this day who would subscribe such financial credit. The Basque institutions (like the rest of the administrations) have a very demanding debt limit in which this type of approach is difficult to comply with and, in any case, it does not seem clear that the Gasteiz executive really wants to assume the total amount of the investment (via budget or via financing). We will see how this issue unfolds in the coming months. What is clear, on the other hand, is that the science industries (with or without ESS-Bilbao) are an opportunity for diversification in highly valued activities for those companies that wish to move up the knowledge ladder in their sector.