Pedro Sánchez has just presented the ” Plan to strengthen the Science, Technology and Innovation System in Spain ” that the executive is preparing .
Surrounded by several government ministers, scientific and business authorities and a representation of some young and established researchers, Sánchez has detailed the pillars of the package of measures that he wants to take advantage of the current moment to “reinvent” the country and put “science at the center productive model “.
Between 2020 and 2021, the Government will inject 1,056 million euros into the system (396 million this year) in an exceptional way to promote the measures that are presented today. Of course, as Sánchez himself has recognized,
it is “a plan that focuses on the urgent” and, in this case, everything seems to indicate that he is right. Although it connects with the Spanish Strategy for Science and Technology and Innovation and addresses some important problems, the truth is that it will not be able to address the ‘important’, the main problems of Spanish science.
The three great axes, explained
The plan will articulate its 17 fundamental measures around three priority axes: the first is research and innovation in health . The executive wants to redirect resources and strengthen the Carlos III Health Institute (under the Ministry of Science) to make it the benchmark medical research center in the country.
In addition, it has committed to launching a Spanish Strategy for Personalized Medicine and reforming the Biomedical Research Law of 2007.
In this way, they intend to strengthen the areas of epidemiological research and preventive medicine (“reinforce high biological safety infrastructures for preclinical tests” and create new platforms and laboratories) with the idea of ” improving Spain’s capacities in the face of health crises such as of SARS-CoV-2 “.
The second axis has to do with “transforming the Spanish system of science” and technology. In recent weeks, there has been much talk about the reforms being worked on at the Castells Ministry of Universities ( and which, finally, it was forced to stop );
Now the Ministry of Science, headed by Pedro Duque, wants to reform the Science Law of 2011 to stabilize the scientific career, increase the number of staff and unleash calls for research projects. In this way, they want to be competitive in the “talent market” , retaining and attracting as much talent as possible.
Finally, the third axis is related to business innovation and its connection with the science and technology system. As they have explained, the Government wants to boost the innovative capacity of companies (doubling in the next three years aid to business R & D & I), favor public-private collaboration (especially in the automobile sector and the aeronautical engineering) and promote the transfer of knowledge and technology from research centers to industry and small and medium enterprises.
What can we expect from this Plan? Although many expected a more ambitious plan, it is still a move in the right direction at a very delicate political juncture . Let us not forget that, as we said before , other government initiatives in this area have had to be kept in a drawer due to criticism from the groups involved.
In his defense, we must recognize that some of the most pressing issues of the moment are being addressed. In its demerit, the details of the plan are far from showing that “importance of science” that the Executive is always talking about.
Ultimately, it may not be the plan that most scientists and researchers want or expected; but, in many ways (even if it is to alleviate the most pressing difficulties), it is the plan they needed .