- The historic increase in the budget of the Ministry of Science and Innovation has made it possible to launch new calls and reinforce others.
- Geprom would like to highlight the opportunity that the grants and subsidies from the Ministry of Science and Innovation represent for the industrial environment.
- We want to give you all the support, through our technical experts, so that you can take advantage of the opportunities offered by public funding and European funds. These actions, located in the integral treatment of R&D&I tax incentives and the management of calls for public grants and subsidies, allow companies of any size to promote their Industry 4.0 and digital transformation projects in all sectors, from the detection of the technological opportunity and project to its justification.
The Minister for Science and Innovation, Pedro Duque, together with the directors of the State Research Agency (AEI), Enrique Playán, the CDTI, Javier Ponce, and the Carlos III Health Institute (ISCIII), Raquel Yotti, presented this Wednesday the main novelties of this year’s calls for proposals, which, in total, reach direct investment commitments of 2,406 million euros. This is almost 100% more than in 2020, when grants for projects, human resources and scientific equipment were announced for 1,212 million euros.
At a press conference at the AEI headquarters, the Ministry of Science and Innovation highlighted the role of the agencies as promoters and drivers of R&D&I in Spain. This role has been reinforced by the EU’s Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan, which has allowed for a sharp increase in the Ministry’s budget this year. Specifically, in the 2021 PGE, direct investment has increased by 1,204 million euros, 59.4% more, to 3,232 million euros.
In 2021, a total of 2,406 million euros will be committed in the agencies’ competitive R&D&I calls: the AEI, the CDTI and the ISCIII together almost double the resources for direct aid. Specifically, the AEI’s calls for proposals will increase from 747 to 1,523 million euros; the CDTI, from 335 to 645 million euros, and the ISCIII, from 131 to 238 million euros, with directors detailing how the increase in resources in their calls for proposals will materialise this year.
State Investigation Agency
The State Research Agency, the country’s main public body in charge of promoting scientific and technical research in all areas of knowledge, has launched three new calls for proposals: proof of concept, strategic projects and green and digital transition. In addition, it has reinforced, with a significant increase in resources, the calls for scientific and technical equipment, public-private collaboration and post-doctoral contracts.
These are the main new features:
- New call for proof of concept: with EUR 40 million, it is intended to finance the start of the transfer of scientific and technical knowledge obtained by the applicants. A total of 954 applications have been received and are currently under evaluation.
- New call for strategic projects: with 43 million in grants, plus another ¤43 million in loans, it is intended to finance the initial phase of a public-private partnership. It has received 447 applications, with 1,557 participants, and is currently in the evaluation phase.
- New call for green and digital transition: with €296 million in grants, it will finance projects with the aim of accelerating the double green and digital transition. It is compatible with other project calls. Regular beneficiaries of the call for R&D&I projects may apply.
- Call for scientific-technical equipment: has a record budget of 180 million euros in grants (in 2019 it was 27 million euros in direct grants, plus 160 million euros in ERDF repayable advances and loans). As a novelty, it is also aimed at providing high-performance equipment to the common services of public research organisations, universities and other public R&D&I centres. It has received 701 applications and will soon be in the evaluation phase.
- Call for public-private partnerships: until now called “partnership challenges”, it has a budget of 150 million in direct grants and 250 million in loans to companies (in 2019, it was 70 million in grants and 190 million in loans). It will be able to finance the incorporation of doctors in companies.
- Postdoctoral contract calls: these cover the first two phases of the new scientific career and will be complemented this year with the Ramón y Cajal and from 2022 with the “tener track” call. In total, the training and recruitment calls will have €90.8 million in grants (compared to €42 million in 2020). The number of contracts increased from 556 in the last call to 900, which will also have more resources for research projects and mobility.
The CDTI, Spain’s main body for promoting innovation and technological development of Spanish companies, supporting their R&D&I projects inside and outside Spain, has increased its direct aid by 92% compared to 2020 (from €335 million to €646 million). It has reinforced some previous calls and launched new programmes.
- Cervera Technology Centres: the call for applications has been increased, and has resolved to award 20 million euros in aid and will award a further 15 million euros from the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan.
- New aeronautics technology programme: 40 million euros in aid in 2012. It is currently in the process of evaluation.
- NEOTEC Grants: has a budget of EUR 36.5 million (EUR 11.5 million more than in 2020). As a novelty, priority will be given to company-projects whose proposal includes the hiring of PhDs to improve their capacity to absorb and generate knowledge.
- Invierte Programme: This programme, which seeks to stimulate investment in Spanish technology and innovative companies, launched in 2019 a conversion initiative open to private investors that have previously been approved under this programme, such as venture capital firms, family offices and investment companies. As a novelty, in 2021, it is intended, in addition to the ongoing conversion action, to support venture capital vehicles specialised in Technology Transfer. In total, it has 177 million euros.
In addition to these calls, which are already underway, this year there will also be calls for proposals:
- Science and Innovation Missions: it will have 141 million euros, 45 million euros more than in its first call in 2020.
- Sustainable Automotive Technology Programme: 40 million euros to finance projects related to the transition to zero-emission vehicles.
- Aid to SMEs with the European Innovation Council’s seal of excellence: 20 million euros.
The Carlos III Institute of Health is the managing body of the activities of the Strategic Action in Health (AES), whose main objectives are to promote the health and well-being of citizens, as well as to develop the preventive, diagnostic, curative, rehabilitative and palliative aspects of the disease, strengthening and increasing the international competitiveness of the R&D&I of the National Health System and of the companies related to the sector.
The increase in resources for the ISCIII has allowed funding for the ESA to increase from the €131 million in 2020 initially foreseen in the 2020 PEGE to the €238 million foreseen for 2021.
This increase has made it possible to increase the financial endowment in the AES call, which will result in: an increase in human resources programme contracts and their remuneration, an increase in the average funding per research project, consolidation of the call for independent clinical research, creation of a new area focused on infectious diseases within the Centre for Networked Biomedical Research (CIBER), redesign of the cooperative research networks to focus on health outcomes, and improved funding for international joint programmes in Precision Medicine.
In addition, two new calls for proposals will be launched:
- Personalised Precision Medicine Research Projects, with almost 30 million euros. It aims to facilitate the progressive deployment of personalised precision medicine in the National Health System by funding new R&D&I projects that will be coordinated with the Infrastructure for Precision Medicine associated with Science and Technology (IMPACT), created in 2020 through the Shock Plan for Science and Innovation, and which includes three programmes: Predictive Medicine, Genomic Medicine and Data Science.
- Singular Scientific Infrastructures of the National Health System and acquisition of scientific and technical equipment and infrastructures, with 15 million euros. It is an opportunity for the installation of unique infrastructures in research centres within the scope of the National Health System, the acquisition of new equipment and technological renovation, incorporating elements that favour the cohesion and structuring of the system.
Recent R&D&I success story: IoT 4 Digital Twin H2020
Geprom has experience in national and international R&D&I projects in all industrial sectors. The most recent success story is the IoT4DigitalTwin project which is part of the European IoT4Industry initiative within the Horizon 2020 programme. Geprom and Gefasoft form a consortium with the aim of implementing a digital twin in Celsa (a private Spanish multinational, leader in the metallurgical sector) and to continue advancing in the field of Industry 4.0 with more flexible, personalised and efficient processes.