Brussels, 17 January 2002
The Spanish government, which currently holds the European Union Presidency, has put innovation at the centre of its national policies with a series of incentives to foster more cooperative and sustainable innovation.
One of the measures coming into effect in 2002 is a 'technical accreditation of innovation', which will be awarded to sufficiently innovative companies. Once a company has secured the accreditation from the Spanish Ministry of science and technology, it will automatically qualify for tax benefits.
The Ministry has also said that it would like 2002 to be a year in which there is more concentration on the human resources available for innovation, with the introduction of a scheme to incorporate more post graduate qualified university staff into innovative companies and technology centres.
Legislative changes will also permit more flexibility, as the new Science Law will allow for more focus on innovation, greater mobility of researchers and new types of research contracts.
Positive results are already available. The latest figures from the national institute for statistics show that almost 20 per cent of Spanish companies are engaged in innovative activities. The total number of research based projects increased by 12 per cent in 2001, with a 16 per cent increase in those funded by the Ministry of science and technology.
The number of innovation projects funded directly from public funds increased by 67 per cent (in the PROFIT programme, designed to foster innovation) and the amount of funding increased by 17 per cent overall.
On the European scale, Spain has called for an informal meeting of the Industry Ministers in Girona on 1 and 2 February to integrate research, development and innovation policies with those of industry, as part of its plan of action during the EU Presidency.