The six winners of the Rey Jaime I Awards 2018 have defended science and research in Spain this Monday in Valencia. The winners have requested, two days before the ceremony of delivery of the awards to be chaired by Felipe VI, more economic effort of the Government to recover and attract the talent of researchers and a better connection between the investigation and the company so that patents "do not fall on deaf ears".
The professor of Financial Economics at the Pompeu Fabra University and the Rey Jaime I Award for Economics, Xavier Freixas, has defended the creation of incentives that attract and retain talent. "What can not be is coffee for everyone because the funds are diluted to attract exceptional researchers," he said. According to Freixas, the Icrea program, on which the Catalan research model is based, would be a good model to follow.
Researchers highlight the increasing number of patents of Spanish science but recognize that there are still walls to be knocked down to make the relationship between research and business fluid. "There is no innovation if there is no implantation," he acknowledged. Enrique Silla, awarded with the King Jaime I prize for the Entrepreneur. "Implementing something means converting it into a product, selling it and, through its arrival on the market, impacting society".
According to Silla, the researcher believes that everything ends when he obtains a patent and that is when the process begins so that this advance will not be lost, or fall on deaf ears. The entrepreneur, who will allocate the prize money to create a chair of transversal sustainability with the Universitat Politécnica de València, stressed that today "there is no more investment in this chapter because we are not aware and we are not willing to pay even one euro more in a product that is manufactured in a way that does not pollute the environment. "
In the same direction, María Vellet, award for Basic Research, sees it as essential that what is done in the laboratory "reaches the patient's bed" and has indicated that it is "more practical" for the scientist to speak with the doctor before to work on an investigation that can solve a problem. "That brings the transfer closer, but many times it does not happen," he acknowledged.
Íñigo Losada, awarded with the prize of Protection to the Environment, has indicated that many patents "end up dying because they have no funding to follow", while Dolores Corella, awarded the prize of Medical Research, stressed that in the case of Health Sciences the important thing is to generate knowledge and assess whether It is patentable or must be put at the service of all citizens. "We need companies that contact researchers and tell us what specific problems they have and what they need to provide concrete solutions," said Corella.
Ramón Martínez has considered that it is a cultural aspect, since there are tools and aids to make innovation in Spain, but the culture of value that a researcher can have in a company is lacking. This researcher has been in favor of companies integrating this figure into their organization chart.
The Rey Jaime I Prize for the Protection of the Environment 2018, Iñigo Losada, has warned that the Valencian coast will be more sensitive to the effects of climate change than other territories because of the lack of sediment transport and high occupation of its coastal zone. This professor of Coastal Engineering and doctor from the University of Delaware has anticipated that the storms that have hit the Valencian coast in 2017 will be "much more frequent" and that the entire Mediterranean area is "especially sensitive to climate change".