The Alicante Science Park (Parque Científico de Alicante, PCA, in Spanish) approved its annual accounts for 2020, presenting ‘very encouraging data that improve in all indicators compared to the previous year’ as they indicate. The innovative business ecosystem promoted by the University of Alicante (UA) ‘is growing at a good pace.’ It does so, according to its manager, Olga Francés, ‘in a very complicated year affected by the pandemic and the strong economic crisis it has caused in the economy of our environment.’ Indeed, according to the manager of the PCA, “the fact that scientific and technological companies are continuing their growth should make us reflect on the much-needed investment in a productive model based on innovation’.
At the end of the year, the figures for the 10th anniversary of the Science Park ‘are very positive.’ The volume of business generated by the UA Science Park ecosystem has grown by 39%, from four million in 2019 to almost five and a half million in 2020. The number of companies in the ecosystem increased, now approaching 30, and the business generated by all of them throughout the year, they add.
Two crucial factors are also associated with this business volume increase. On the one hand, the increase in the number of workers, who are already 195, compared to 125 in 2019, i.e., an increase of 56%. Of these, 40% are women. On the other hand, it is also worth highlighting the maintenance of investment in R&D between 2019 and 2020, even though the pandemic has made it difficult for companies to find the necessary investment. The volume of investment in R&D of the companies of the innovative ecosystem of Alicante remains at around four million euros, as they point out.
As they emphasize, other data of interest that demonstrate the positive progress of the UA Science Park are the attraction by the companies in its ecosystem of more than one million euros in private funding and more than half a million euros in public funding. There is also a considerable number of employees dedicated exclusively to research, which is already close to 100 people, almost half of whom are PhDs trained at the UA.
During 2020, the UA Science Park maintained an intense activity to stimulate the innovative ecosystem of Alicante, organizing various events of special relevance, such as the second Scienceathon, a marathon of science and technology, with the participation of five PCA companies and more than 100 students from the UA, the second edition of the regional Innotransfer program, in collaboration with the network of Valencian science parks, the participation in the organization of the Impulso Awards to promote entrepreneurship within the UA or the Gennera program to solve challenges proposed by companies to be solved by UA students.
Moreover, nearly forty activities have been organized, such as webinars and conferences on topics of interest to the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Alicante, workshops and breakfasts aimed at our related companies, meetings with different economic agents in the province of Alicante to try to bring innovation that our companies represent to all companies in the province or participation in various activities of the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
The UA Science Park signed collaboration agreements to promote innovation among companies in the province with actors such as Pons IP, TorreJuana, Devesa & Calvo, Fellow Funders, and AIJU, among others.
From the beginning of the crisis caused by the pandemic, the PCA made available to the authorities the different capabilities and solutions that companies could provide at any time. Thus, a complete catalog of solutions was prepared, which the ecosystem companies made available to the Generalitat Valenciana, and a specific forum on technological solutions to the pandemic was also held.