• The historic increase in the budget of the Ministry of Science and Innovation has made it possible to launch new calls for proposals and strengthen others.
  • From Geprom we want to highlight the opportunity that the Ministry of Science and Innovation grants and subsidies mean for the industrial environment.
  • We want to offer 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 comprehensive 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 of 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 the driving force behind R&D&I in Spain. This role has been reinforced by the EU’s Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan, which has led to a sharp increase in the Ministry’s budget for this year. Specifically, in the 2021 PGE, direct investment has increased by 1,204 million euros, 59.4% more, to 3,232 million.

In 2021, a total of 2,406 million euros will be committed to the agencies’ competitive R&D&I calls: the AEI, the CDTI and the ISCIII together practically 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.

State Research Agency

The State Research Agency, the country’s main public body responsible for 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. It has also reinforced, with a significant increase in resources, the calls for scientific-technical equipment, public-private collaboration and post-doctoral contracts.

These are the main new features:

  • New call for proof of concept: with 40 million euros, it is intended to finance the start of the transfer of scientific-technical knowledge obtained by applicants. It has received 954 applications and is currently in the evaluation phase.
  • 43 million in grants, plus a further 43 million in loans, 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 objective of accelerating the dual green and digital transition. It is compatible with other calls for projects. Regular beneficiaries of the call for R&D&I projects can apply.
  • Call for scientific-technical equipment: it has a record budget of 180 million euros in grants (in 2019 it was 27 million in direct aid, plus 160 million 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 collaboration: until now known as «collaboration challenges», it has a budget of 150 million in direct aid and 250 million in loans to companies (in 2019, it was 70 million in aid and 190 million in loans). It will be able to finance the incorporation of doctors in companies.
  • Calls for postdoctoral contracts: 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 incorporation calls will have 90.8 million euros in grants (compared to 42 million in 2020). The number of contracts will increase from 556 in the last call to 900, which will also have more resources for their research projects and mobility.

CDTI

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 Grants: the call for proposals has been increased, with a total of 20 million euros, and a further 15 million euros will be awarded from the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan.
  • New aeronautical technology programme: it has 40 million euros in aid in 2012. It is currently in the evaluation process.
  • NEOTEC grants: with a budget of 36.5 million euros (11.5 million euros more than in 2020). As a novelty, it will give priority to projects-companies 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, in addition to the ongoing conversion action, it is intended to support venture capital vehicles specialised in Technology Transfer. In total, 177 million euros are available.

In addition to these calls, which are already underway, this year the following calls will be launched:

  • 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.

ISCIII

The Carlos III Institute of Health is the body that manages 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 companies related to the sector.

The increase in resources for the ISCIII has allowed the funding of the AES to increase from 131 million euros in 2020, initially foreseen in the 2020 PEGE, to the 238 million euros foreseen for 2021.

This increase has made it possible to increase the financial allocation 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 Biomedical Research Network (CIBER), redesign of cooperative research networks oriented towards health outcomes, and improved funding for international joint programmes in Precision Medicine.

In addition, two new calls for proposals will be launched:

  • Research Projects in Personalised Precision Medicine, 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-technical equipment and infrastructures, with 15 million euros. This is an opportunity for the installation of unique infrastructures in research centres within 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: IoT4DigitalTwin 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 Horizon2020 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 continue advancing in the field of Industry 4.0 with more flexible, personalised and efficient processes.