Universities and Barcelona Activa join forces to develop high-impact solutions to the challenges of the future
Barcelona Activa, along with five prestigious universities —the University of Barcelona, the Autonomous University of Barcelona, the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, the Pompeu Fabra University, and the Open University of Catalonia— stressed the need to commit to innovation and to companies in the technological sector in order to address the social and business challenges the country is currently facing, as well as to strengthen the technological leadership of the city of Barcelona. They did so during the session “Deeptech, how universities respond to the challenges of society and industry,” which took place within the framework of the BizBarcelona event and in which they reflected on knowledge transfer and the dynamic role of universities within the business ecosystem. The University of Barcelona was represented by Dr. Anicet Blanch, CTO of Bluephage, a spin-off of the UB; Maria Eugènia Martín Hidalgo, CEO of ColorSensing, a spin-off of the UB; and Dr. Inés Fernández, the UB’s Rector’s Delegate for knowledge transfer. Eighty-eight people attended the event and 386 followed it via streaming.
The aim of both Barcelona Activa and Catalan universities is to redefine the model of collaboration between institutions and companies and to promote the creation of talent linked to technology-based start-ups. During the meeting, the director of Barcelona Activa, Félix Ortega, highlighted that “the roles of universities are to train talent and promote R & D & I, while the objective of the administrations is to build up relationships and generate synergies between the ecosystem of start-ups, companies, and universities.”
Currently, the University of Barcelona has nineteen technology-based companies, which in 2019 generated a turnover of EUR 5.3 million, provided jobs for over 100 people, and obtained EUR 2.9 million in public and private funding. The FBG is the unit of technology transfer and innovation of the University of Barcelona, and is responsible for promoting the creation of innovative companies, encouraging their growth and consolidation, and introducing innovation to companies and institutions to improve their competitiveness. Its goal is fostering an ecosystem of business creation within the educational institution itself, as has been done for years in other countries, such as the United States and China.