The Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation is Urgently Launching Extraordinary Measures to Combat the COVID-19

The Spanish Council of Ministers has approved granting roughly €30M for scientific research against the COVID-19. This money will be allocated to the development of projects and programmes of the  Instituto de Salud Carlos III, ISCIII(Health Institute) and the  Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, CSIC(Spanish National Research Council). What is more, to maintain the value-added activities and create capacities to reactive the economy in the business innovation field, the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation is urgently launching extraordinary measures through the Centro para el Desarrollo Tecnológico Industrial, CDTI (Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology).

These measures will be employed immediately when applied to CDTI instruments in operation. They will take the form of exemption from guarantees applying for aid for R&D&I projects, the acceleration of the management and project approval processes, the extension of the LIC-A instrument (Direct Expansion Line) to the entire national territory and the ease the justification periods for partially reimbursable aid. 

The almost €30M allocated for research are part of the Spanish Royal Decree on Extraordinary Measures to Address the Economic and Social Impact of Covid-19 approved by the Council of Ministers. This measure aims at promoting the development of the work being carried out by public research and critical infrastructure bodies and to support the opening of new lines of research to ease the Coronavirus crisis. 

From the total resources provided by the Government, €25.2M will be allocated to the Instituto de Salud Carlos III, ISCIII, from that amount, €24M will be for direct grants for projects and research programmes on the coronavirus. Therefore, the ISCIII will develop an urgent program of aid for projects and programs whose purpose is to explain the infection. That is to say, to analyse and know the biology of the virus; to develop new therapeutic and prophylactic options including vaccines; to develop an epidemiological system of surveillance and to analyse its impact from the point of view of the health services. 

The rest of the money (€1.2M) allocated to the ISCIII will be used to cover exceptional needs caused by the Covid-19. For instance, such as the purchase of equipment or the payment for increased duty shift services. 

On the other hand, theCentro Nacional de Biotecnología (CNB) (National Centre for Biotechnology) from the CSIC, will receive €4.45M for Covid-19 research expenses. This will boost the development of current research and advance strategies to protect against the coronavirus. The project developed by the CNB has six objectives: 

  • Generate basic tools and experimental models essential to develop protection strategies. 
  • Identification and testing of antiviral compounds to treat the Covid-19. 
  • Develop specific monoclonal antibodies for protection against infection. 
  • Develop the next generation of vaccine candidates. 
  • Molecular, structural and functional characterization. 
  • Digital model to understand the spread of the coronavirus. 

The ISCII and the CNB, as well as other research centres, have been declared critical health infrastructures and therefore, remain fully operational for COVID-19 research. 

Regarding the urgent measures amid the Coronavirus, we have firstly the exemption of guarantees, a measure that means SMEs and mid-cap companies will be exempted when providing guarantees, when they comply with the minimum economic solvency required by the CDTI and within the following scope: 

  • Exemption from guarantees up to €500K for small businesses. 
  • Exemption from guarantees up to €1M for medium-sized companies. 
  • Exemption from guarantees up to €3M for mid-cap companies. 

When the R&D&I activity is related to products considered by the Government as emergency products (emergency products are those defined by the Spanish Ministry of Health: face masks, Covid-19 diagnostic kits or invasive mechanical ventilation devices), the reduction of guarantees will be extended to the following limits: 

  • Exemption from guarantees up to €1M for small businesses. 
  • Exemption from guarantees up to 2M for medium-sized companies. 
  • Exemption from guarantees up to €3M for mid-cap companies. 

Secondly, there is the measure to accelerate the management and project approval processes, during the time the state of alarm caused by Covid-19 and its effects on the economy is into force, the CDTI will implement this measure aims at helping companies to maintain strategic investments and try to soften as much as possible the negative effect on employment that has been quantified 

The R+D+I projects supported with the partially reimbursable aid will be continuously evaluated by the CDTI. In addition, in order to make the approval process and the granting of aid process faster, amid this economic slowdown, a proposal will be made to increase the frequency of online meetings of its Board of Directors will be held. 

These extraordinary measures approved by the Government are complemented with the extension of the Direct Expansion Line (LIC-A) in the whole Spain, in accordance with the regional aid map, from April and with a relaxation of the period for justifying partially reimbursable aid and subsidies. 

Fuentes:  PerspectivaCDTI, CienciaGob,  El Referente 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top