Nowadays, the existence of scientific and technological parks it is a notable factor of economic and social competitiveness improvement of a region. The recent Law of the Spanish Science defines them as strategic places for research results transfer to the productive sectors and as the capacity of companies innovation of the territory. Besides, they are assuming a strategic role as relationship facilitators between the scientific community and the companies.
We spoke with Joaquín Marhuenda, new responsible of the Scientific Park of Alicante (PCA) since last June. He explained us the new challenge at the head of this project.
P: How do you define the Scientific Park of Alicante?
R: The PCA is a project of great magnitude, promoted by the University of Alicante, and whose main mission is to stimulate the entrepreneurship culture and innovation in Alicante province, through knowledge transfer promotion. Additionally, we have a strategic location that facilitates our activity, we are closed to the university campus and with excellent connections by road, railway, airport and maritime port.
We understand the scientific park as a place for open meeting to business innovation. It was created and is managed at present to facilitate the access to scientific and technological knowledge to companies, essentially those interested in research of new innovation sources and technological opportunities. Gradually, it has turned into a space where innovative companies, research groups and R&D mixed Laboratories live together, as a result of the collaboration University – Company, that share scientific and technical services of big added value and count with skilled professionals and experts advice.
In addition, the PCA supports the creation of technological base companies promoting its growth as innovative businesses, providing mechanisms of incubation, skilled services and facilitating the access to great quality infrastructures and installations.
P: As the current manager of the project, which is your main commitment to promote the Park?
R: I assume the big challenge to consolidate this mechanism promoted by the University of Alicante to favour communication channels between the productive sector and the University. To generate high qualification employment and contribute to the sustainable economic development of Alicante. It is important to stand out that the project has its own aims and pretends to agglutinate all the scientific and productive system of our province.
P: Which type of companies and organisations could form part of the PCA?
R: The Park was conceived with its diversity and is opened to all type of innovative entities, those raised from the University as well as to all those that conform the productive surroundings of the Alicante province. The question is that they should have in common the interest for taking advantage of the scientific and technological knowledge opportunities to improve their innovation and business competitiveness capacity.
It is important to stand out that not all the companies linked to the Park have to be of new creation. For an optimum development, it is necessary also to have consolidated companies to act as Thriving Companies, that generate a multiplier effect and attract other companies interested in innovation and knowledge generation.
On the other hand, companies interested in belonging to the Park can proceed in distinct forms, from its physical installation or different collaboration modalities, nevertheless it will allow access to specific services or collaboration in projects and R&D activities.
P: At present, which type of skilled services can the companies find at PCA?
Among these services are:
- Research Technical services with scientific and technological infrastructure of big magnitude, as well as highly qualified personal able to handle the equipment.
- Services of technological advice, business development consolidation. For example, we support companies in the search for technological, commercial or financial partners to promote innovative projects.
- Access to scientific advanced knowledge of international recognised prestige fundamentally generated at the University of Alicante. We work for example, with the technological offer of the University, a research lines portfolio that cover all the knowledge disciplines and where many of them are strategically oriented to give answer to specific competitive problems.
P: In this direction, is it possible to know some successfully experiences that have been developed from the Park?
R: Yes, we know, for instance, that the Park services have a big acceptance by technology companies. For example, there are numerous companies that already access to the Technical Research Services and to the Incubation services.
In the core of the Park we have created different Technology Based Companies (Spin-off), which at present are working on their business consolidation processes. Some of the key aspects detected are the national and international commercialisation processes and the strategic alliances establishment.
Up to date we have the following spin-offs:
- Glen Biotech. Biotechnology Company devoted to the development of innovative products based in the control of biological agents, in particular agricultural and ornamental plants fungus, betting by sustainable solutions to big environmental problems. Currently is registering its first product specifically developed for biological control of red palm weevil.
- Olax22. Company of technological base raised from the Chemical Engineering department of the University of Alicante. Its main activity is focussed in solving environmental problems derived from the graphic impression industry through the waste valuation and costs reduction.
- GastoMaterials Technologies. This spin-off of the University of Alicante has been created with the aim to design and develop mainly automatic systems of chemical adsorption and physical adsorption analysis, the characterisation of adsorbent materials and catalysts, with static and dynamic methods. These systems are used in energetic and environmental applications such as capture, transport and storage of CO2.
- BioFlyTech. Biotechnology Company focussed in the massive and controlled insects creation for its commercialisation. The product is used for preparation of compound feed for aquaculture and cattle, feeding pets and other specific uses.
- Medalchemy. Technology based company centred in fine chemistry sector and, more specifically, pharmaceutical products. The research developed is applied by synthesis in small scale to new active principles of high added value, in the majority products associated with health sector.
Regarding to collaboration between University and companies, we can stand out two interesting experiences:
Research Mixed laboratory with Group Antolín Engineering company, centred in carbon nano-fibres developed for distinct applications.
Renewable Energies University projects, company of the energetic sector created from an agreement between Green Power Spain and Bank Sabadell-CAM, focussed in materials research and its application to renewable energies.
P: Which activities do you organise to promote the project?
R: I would like that the Scientific Park of Alicante was seen as a business opportunity of prime importance, so much for the initiatives arisen from the University of Alicante, as for the business organisations of the province.
For this, we have prepared a dissemination plan, for example, we have developed promotional material and recently have organised a series of info-days directed to the promotion of innovation and promotion of the technological base business initiatives, that are specific aims of the PCA.
There are activities that allow us to work with technological entrepreneurs and innovative companies in strategic areas for business competitiveness nowadays, such business opportunities that can arise from cooperation or the importance of a suitable patent rights and intellectual property management.
P: To conclude, which reflections on future challenges do you emphasize?
R: The access to knowledge and technology transfer are key appearances to guarantee the success of companies nowadays. The success of the Park and the companies installed will be greater in the measure that it is considered by its surroundings as a boost of business and a basic crowbar of the future development of the Alicante province. The scope of the Park will favour the culture of innovation, the creation of qualified work and the knowledge transfer between the University and the Companies, what definitely results key to surpass nowadays difficulties.