Growth in business, employment, productivity and competitivity all depend on innovation. In this new context, the ability of institutions and companies to invest in research and development is essential in fostering a competitive future for Europe. Developing business and entrepreneurial capacities in relation to science, technology and innovation should be the focus of attention for European leaders. They should work to promote politics geared towards developing science, technology and innovation at the company level, with the goal of creating more innovative companies with greater technological aptitudes, and ultimately, increasing productivity across all sectors of the economy.
The looming economic crisis is highlighting the importance of innovation not only for creating more sustainable businesses, but for ensuring a more sustainable society. We must reconsider how we can make businesses grow, particularly in traditional sectors, creating innovation ecosystems that enable the development and adoption of new technologies. Along these lines, according to Manuel Fuertes, Global CEO of KIATT, there is excellent research taking place in Spain, but the failure occurs in converting this research into products and businesses. ¨Science can´t stay hidden away in a drawer, it´s not a disinterested investment. Science must contribute to improving people´s lives, and at the same time, generate an economic impact for the whole community, including the public administration that allowed the research to take place. ¨
For 20 years, KIATT has been launching companies with the objective of transforming science and technology into profitable solutions and businesses, getting ahead of trends in increasingly relevant sectors. ¨Taking into account that the model of productivity has to evolve, we have opted for companies that base their business on diverse branches of science and technology research, and that have great versatility in responding to global challenges,¨ states Fuertes. ¨For example, right now we have 3 active projects that are all very different from one another, but that all present solutions for the COVID19 crisis: in biomedicine, we have Necenti Labs. This company was created a few years ago, but thanks to its Necenti-Cov™ platform, it recently demonstrated the ability to get ahead of COVID19, identifying the risk of contagion and severity of symptoms that the virus would inflict on each individual person BEFORE the contagion actually occurs. We also have Benvira, a spin-off from Imperial College, London, which is specialized in predictive algorithm artificial intelligence and in big data analysis, whose technology analyses and offers predictions based on the data it collects on both organic and inorganic surfaces, or in other words, from both machines and living organisms. Lastly, in nanotechnology, our Singaporean company, Nanoveu, has developed nanoprinted protective shields that can kill any type of coronavirus (including COVID19, SARS and MERS) that come into contact with its surface¨, says Manuel Fuertes.
Science can´t stay hidden away in a drawer, it´s not a disinterested investment. Science must contribute to improving people´s lives, and at the same time, generate an economic impact for the whole community
Singapur: a model ecosystem for innovation
In particular, Singapore, where Nanoveu is from, is an example of truly opting for innovation. This small South-Asian nation, measuring only 700km² (barely bigger than Madrid´s capital) and boasting a population of almost 7 million inhabitants, is the fourth most important financial centre in the world. In the last 20 years, Singapore has gone from being a country based on fishing and manufacturing, both activities of little added value, to being a world leader in areas like biotechnology, nanotechnology and smart cities. The explanation for this metamorphosis? The implantation of governmental plans that strategically invest in education, innovation and scientific and technological entrepreneurship.
A good example of this commitment are the five-year I+D investment plans, which reached a historic record of 19,000 million Singaporean dollars (11,970 million euros, approximately) in 2016, which signified allocating 2.2% of the annual GDP towards these activities. These resources have provided greater added value in advanced production systems, engineering, health, science and biomedicine, digital economy, and sustainable urban solutions. They have served to found two of the most ambitious and well-respected science parks at the international level: Biopolis and Fusionopolis, true cities of science, engineering and innovation, where not only can you find the latest-generation laboratories for a variety of fields, but the headquarters for some of the most important pharmaceutical and engineering companies in the world, like Novartis and GlaxoSmithKline.