companies and researchers call for a joint effort in R&D

Barcelona's CosmoCaixa has hosted the fifth edition of the Next Spain Forum, a meeting point to reflect and share experiences on the state of research and development (R&D) in the fields of science, health and business. Under the slogan 'The country we want', the successive forums Next Spain They seek to focus on initiatives and areas in which things are being done well in Spain, a way to encourage talent and projects that serve to advance towards the country we want.

In the case of call for Barcelonaorganized by Vocento and ABC, the meeting highlighted the work of researchers and projects that stand out in their respective fields, from oncology research to supercomputing through the concrete implementation of innovative practices in the field of private business.

The conference, presented by the popularizer and collaborator of ABC José Manuel Nieves, counted, for example, with the participation of Josep Tabernero, director of the Vall d'Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO) and head of the Medical Oncology Service of the Vall d'Hebron Hospital. 'Hebron of Barcelona, ​​who pointed out that cancer research is going through an «exceptional moment», as a result of the better knowledge about the disease that has been generated in recent decades. The head of VHIO, one of the heavyweights in world oncology, highlighted the need to invest in research and continue advancing in public-private partnerships to win the definitive fight against this disease that causes 9.5 million deaths each year in the world. From VHIO, a private foundation within a public environment (the Vall d'Hebron Hospital in Barcelona), Dr. Tabernero and his team have taken giant steps in the research and development of targeted drugs that have made it possible to significantly improve the treatment of different types of tumors. Advances such as liquid biopsy, capable of determining with a simple blood test the type of cancer a patient is suffering from and how it will evolve, are some of the fields in which work is being done.

Another of the prominent speakers was Mateo Valero, director of the Barcelona Supercomputing Center, one of the leading institutions in our country, who warned of the difficulties in carrying out "relevant" scientific research if more investment is not made. In this regard, he pointed to the European recovery funds as the "last great opportunity" for Spain to get on the R&D bandwagon, a bandwagon that in the case of the BSC has recently resulted in a superproject together with Intel to install in Barcelona a microchip design laboratory with a global investment of 400 million and some 300 researchers involved.

Focusing precisely on public-private collaboration, the special delegate of the Government in the Consorci de la Zona Franca de Barcelona (CZFB), Pere Navarro, detailed one of the most stimulating projects that they carry out, the 3D Factory, an incubator of companies specialized in 3D printing where prostheses, musical instruments or even splitters are being built to serve several patients with a single respirator. "In this world, the limit is the imagination," said Navarro.

The Next Spain meeting also focused on private companies, where leading Spanish companies in their field contributed their experience. Mario Carabaño, partner of the Public Sector and Digital Transformation of the consulting firm Grant Thornton, pointed out, for example, that the Covid has been a catalyst for innovation, «going from being a luxury to which large companies allocated money to being something necessary for all businesses ». Álvaro Castillo, Manager of Innovation at CaixaBank, referred, for example, to the changes that innovation can bring to services such as digital banking thanks to the use of 'blockchain' or 'big data', and made a statement in favor of bets that , «more than worrying us, they generate a range of opportunities».

David Ropero, head of Sales for Large Companies at Telefónica in Catalonia, also took part, who highlighted "the triangle of success" that makes up the collaboration between the scientific community, private companies and institutions, and asked to put all the energy so that, with tools Similarly, SMEs can be digitized: «There are two speeds, that of large companies, accustomed to innovation, and that of SMEs. There is much to be done here."

On the institutional side, and on behalf of the Barcelona City Council, Michael Donaldson, Commissioner for Digital Innovation, took part, recognizing, after citing several of the projects that the council is developing in the field of innovation, that innovation must be "a lever » to improve people's quality of life.

The Next Spain project has CaixaBank, Grant-Thornton and Telefónica as 'global partners', while yesterday's event in Barcelona, ​​organized by Vocento and ABC, was sponsored by Abertis, Cepsa and the Consorci de la Zona Franca, as well as such as the collaboration of the La Caixa Foundation.

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