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EU|BIC FUNDECYT-PCTEX - Defying the Odds and Reinforcing Extremadura Ecosystem

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When 1+1 equals 1²

The Foundation for the Development of Science and Technology (FUNDECYT) and the Science and Technology Park of Extremadura Foundation (PCTEx) merged on 1 January 2013 leading to the birth of a new Foundation named FUNDECYT-PCTEx.

FUNDECYT can boast on solid European and international experience gathered since 1995, while PCTEx has developed since 2009 an extensive knowledge in the field of business, science, technology and innovation. The combination has reinforced the whole of Extremadura’s ecosystem in the fields of science, technology, research and innovation 

“By setting common objectives and goals and bringing together our human capital, activities, and knowledge, we have become the key interface in the region” argues Francisco Pizarro, Director at CEEI Extremadura 

The park is managed by a team of highly qualified professionals and offers a large number of facilities all aimed at the development of R&D&I initiatives and science and technology-based entrepreneurship. Their extensive agenda of national and international contacts and a curriculum of important achievements allows us to address an offer structured around seven areas of activity: 

  1. Science, technology and knowledge exchanges.
  2. Business and social innovation, and for the public sector.
  3. Management of R&D and innovation spaces
  4. Direct management, and support in the management, of national and European projects.
  5. Attraction, management and development of knowledge and talent.
  6. Support for innovative entrepreneurship based on science, technology and knowledge.
  7. National and international collaboration with all types of institutions and organisations for the development of activities in the aforementioned areas. 

1² = Cooperation for Competitiveness and Sustainable Development

FUNDECYT-PCTEx is a private, non-profit Public Sector Foundation; a space that provides the necessary services to facilitate the exchange of knowledge, science, and technology for the competitiveness of the Extremadura region.

“Our vision is the consolidation of a range of services to support innovation and its transfer, entrepreneurship and cooperation that will have a direct impact on the intelligent, sustainable, and inclusive development of the Region” says Francisco Pizarro

To achieve this, it relies on 50 highly qualified employees, and 25 years of experience in managing European Projects (INTERREG, European Framework Programmes, CIP ICT-PSP, Lifelong Learning Programme, etc.) as well as on extensive international connections through membership of several networks (EBN, EEN, ERRIN, CORAL, EURADA, EURAXESS, IASP, etc.). FUNDECYT-PCTEX houses over 120 technology-based companies and innovative entities in its facilities in Cáceres and Badajoz, and 1,300 qualified workers, providing the infrastructures and technological equipment necessary to ensure solid development of its activity.

1² + EU|BIC = A European standard and an open door to international strategic partnerships 

FUNDECYT (through CEEI Extremadura) had been an EU|BIC associate since 2013. 

“We believed that our public nature was not compatible with the EU|BIC criteria until we attended the Rome Congress in 2019 and we realised it would add another layer of quality to our service offer. Being part of an entrepreneurial ecosystem at the European level is completely in line with the internationalisation strategies of FUNDECYT-PCTEx, based on the search for collaborations, participation in international projects and consortia. The interactions with other professionals and entities allow us to offer new forms of collaboration, exchange good practices that can later be implemented and feel integrated into a network with partners sharing the same professionalism.'

'All these elements motivated us to be part of this European innovative ecosystem.'

FUNDECYT-PCTEx is aligned with different European networks, 'but the EU|BIC label is the only one recognized by the European Commission for business support organisations; it stands for high quality. For us, joining the EU|BIC community means a leap in quality in services to companies in the region, but also being able to extend our offer to these companies with new support services, training, exchange of experiences, networking, etc. Being part of the community also opens the doors to a network of potential strategic partners with whom we can work on the development of European public policies that can significantly and positively impact the region”.

'Fundamentally, as a certified EU|BIC our access to the EU|BIC community and the EBN Secretariat team brings us three main elements that are important for our organisation: A quality standard that allows us to attest to our environment and networks that we offer meets the European standards. Access to new sources of inspiration and innovation in services to companies and entrepreneurs.Access to European partners and funding opportunities.'

What FUNDECYT-PCTEx = to its region?

FUNDECYT-PCTEx pro-actively supports the science, technology and Innovation ecosystem of Extremadura with a focus on new trends and strategies that are being developed in Europe with particular attention to SMEs, and entrepreneurs.

Based on its extensive experience, the regional Government of Extremadura has officially appointed them as:

  • Technical Office for the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the Research and Innovation Strategy for the Smart Specialisation of Extremadura (RIS3).
  • Responsible for the Digital Agenda for Extremadura, and its elaboration at a technical level. 

They are also active in the promotion of knowledge transfer to third countries by collaborating through tenders and international cooperation projects in science and technology development strategies in Latin America.

In 2019, Fundecyt-PCTEx was awarded Best European Agency for its open innovation programme. “We have brought innovation to rural areas, creating opportunities for companies, in line with the Extremadura Smart Specialisation Strategy”.

The Office for Innovation (O4i), promoted by the General Secretariat for Science, Technology, Innovation and University of the Regional Government of Extremadura and managed by FUNDECYT-PCTEx, has been developing the identification of challenges of the industrial fabric and technological exchange in the search for solutions, which can subsequently materialise in the development of R&D&I projects. 

Following global trends, an interactive open innovation programme was launched, called 'Extremadura Open Innovation', as a rapid process for expressing challenges and searching for solutions that would give rise to a scenario in which tractor companies and technology companies or research groups would meet to deepen the possibilities of collaboration from R&D&I.

Also worth mentioning the Extremadura Innova Forum (link), a benchmark event in the region in terms of R&D&I, has been the most successful of all those held, with more than 400 people registered and the capacity of the bilateral meetings for business-research-innovation connections reached full capacity with the participation of 50 companies and research groups in these spaces.

Currently, the PCTEx houses more than 100 technology-based companies in its facilities in Cáceres and Badajoz, with more than 1,600 workers in total.  In 2020, a collaboration between companies and research organisations, as well as with technology-based companies and the number of accompanied R&D projects have increased.

The results

The results and figures of FUNDECYT-PCTEx over the past year are impressive a speak for themselves. They are a testament to their intense activity and high investment throughout the territory which led to a high success rate. 

= 12 technology exchange roundtables held in strategic sectors such as agribusiness, forestry, energy, agro-ecology, construction and cultural industries.
= 70 entrepreneurship activities ranging from specific Science, Technology and Innovation transfer activities or technological exchange, to activities for the dissemination of scientific culture, regional R&D&I forums, and support for scientific and technological entrepreneurship.
= 1500 people reached and benefited from their activities and services.
= 109 connections between companies and technology providers.
= 134 R&D projects supported.
= 73 companies cooperate with research centres thanks to connections established, 
= 43 research groups supported in R&D and transfer processes.213 companies supported in R&D processes.
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