This article was translated by John R. Bopp
A delegation from Austrian Cooperative Research (ACR) has recently visited the Basque Country to learn about our system of applied research and innovation here in the Basque Autonomous Community. The ACR is a grouping of 20 Austrian research centers and was founded in the 1950s.
It seems that what they have seen and gotten to know in their visit has quite impressed them–enough for the Austria Press Agency, the main news agency in Austria, to publish a long article, full of detailed information, about what this delegation learned in their visit here in the Basque Country, and the conclusions they reached.
It’s obvious they really liked what they saw, and that they felt a certain admiration for the applied research and innovation system that we have today in the Basque Autonomous Community–enough for the article to start with an indisputably meaningful sentence:
Österreich könnte von der Basken einiges in Sachen angewandte Forschung und Innovation lernen
(Austria could learn a lot from the Basques about applied research and innovation.)
From that first line to the last, which praised the capacity of Basque research centers to participate in EU programs, the whole article has the same tone. Nor does the article skimp on numbers, such as the percentage that industry contributes to the GDP of the Basque country (24%), or the productivity being 30% higher than the European average, or the capacity Basque society had to overcome the economic doldrums of the ‘70s and ‘80s.
Other aspects they point out is the investment in R&D, collaboration, and the commitment, both private and public, in that investment, alongside an overview of some of the most relevant industrial sectors.
It definitely seems that they went back to Austria with a good impression from what they found in their visit.
It seems curious, but this is not the first time this has happened. There are times that topics that all point in the same direction all pop up around the same time. We say this because this week has been one of those times: just yesterday, we spoke about a BBC article that presented the Basque educational system as a role model for Europe. As we commented, this kind of article will probably have left a few “critics of everything done here” speechless. We did end up hearing from a few of those people, those who “want everything to go wrong,” unable to accept what the article said, claiming that “that information must have been paid for by the Basque government.”
Nonetheless, these are two weighty articles from two reputable sources, the BBC and the APA in just one day, causing us to reflect. We have no doubt the educational and R&D models we follow in the Basque Autonomous Community could be improved. They are far from perfect, but as a reader commented on our Facebook page, “things can get a lot better, but we’re on the right path.”
And that, given our surroundings, is quite an accomplishment.
Austria Press Agency – 15/6/2016 – Austria
Baskenland: Innovation als Krisenfeuerwehr mit Zug zum Markt
Österreich könnte von den Basken einiges in Sachen angewandte Forschung und Innovation lernen, meint man im mittelständischen Forschungsnetzwerk Austrian Cooperative Resarch (ACR) nach einer Studienreise Anfang dieser Woche ins Baskenland. Die spanische Region habe “sehr eindrucksvoll gezeigt, wie wirtschaftsnahe Forschung in kurzer Zeit viel bewegen kann”, sagte ACR-Präsident Martin Leitl.