Innovation makes its mark in La Rioja

The strategic theme underlying the Globaltech Rioja project was development of a regional economy based on knowledge and technical innovation. The project has succeeded in establishing a network of 273 innovation-oriented businesses in La Rioja who are working together to take the region into the future as leaders in their fields. Technological benchmarking, cooperation agreements and cluster developments, such as the new footwear cluster and GENIO, are just some of the successes of the project.

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“We created a series of buses specially adapted for people with mobility problems… Globaltech helped turn the idea into reality.”
José Román Vázquez, Carrocerías Riocar

The Globaltech Rioja project involves a cross-section of experts, all at the cutting-edge of innovation, research and technological development. Their combined efforts, under the guidance of eight Innovation Managers, are fostering the development of knowledge ‘poles’, improving links between research centres, industry and public sector bodies, and producing diagnoses of where technology is, and where it is heading. The focus is not however limited to La Rioja, with international technology missions taking participants to places as far afield as Argentina and China.

Web of talent in La Rioja

The Network of Innovation Managers and the 273 businesses involved in the project play a pivotal role in ensuring a joint way forward for SME innovation and technological development in the region. Their work has included writing and publishing a catalogue of some 82 exportable technologies and applications, promoting the participation of local businesses in the EU’s 7th Framework Programme, with nine R&D projects already developed, and developing future industries (Life Saving and Personal Safety) that interact with traditional sectors.

Taking the pulse among businesses

A key feature of this project has been the hands-on approach in terms of visiting businesses, understanding their specialist fields and drawing conclusions. For example, technological diagnoses were conducted among 20 businesses, resulting in eight bilateral and international R&D&I projects being defined. Elsewhere, work undertaken in China involved nine benchmarking studies and the establishment of 17 contacts – the result was four collaboration agreements between technological centres in China and La Rioja.

Good practices for excellent results

To provide concrete guidance to businesses as they seek optimal development and solid results, six Good Practice Guides have been developed and published. The areas covered are: the Innovation Managers Network; support for regional clusters; technological missions for international expansion of R&D&I; the technology platform in China; support for generating European and international R&D&I projects; and the strategy for the region’s technological expansion on the international stage.

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