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Industrial Doctorates, 10 years of collaborative research in Catalonia

Industrial Doctorate (DI Plan) projects are consolidated as a key tool to transform knowledge into practical solutions for all citizens. The collaborative research model has demonstrated, with more than 800 projects promoted, its capacity to impact companies and institutions, the people who participate in the projects and society in general.

  • The Industrial Doctorates Plan (Plan DI) becomes a consolidated tool to promote private R+D+I with public investment, creating bridges of collaboration between the academic world and the socio-economic world.

  • During the decade 2012-2022 more than 530 companies have participated.

  • Throughout the 2022-2023 academic year, a commemorative book will be published, the first edition of the "DI Impact Awards 2012-2022" will be held and will culminate in a great act of international projection.

  • The commemoration events emphasize the contribution of collaborative research to change the world and society.

During the 2022-2023 academic year, the Industrial Doctorates Plan celebrates its first ten years of life. From autumn 2022, different actions will be launched to celebrate this anniversary. The fundamental axis that defines all the actions that will be carried out is to highlight the contribution of collaborative research, between companies and universities, to change and improve the world and society.

Firstly, at the end of 2022 a compilation book of the ten years of experiences of the DI Plan will be published, through different perspectives and contributions from collaborators. Secondly, during autumn 2022 the bases of the first edition of the Impact DI Awards 2012-2022 contest will be published. A competition open to both the participants of the Plan and the general public with the aim of identifying the current or future challenges of society, and showing the impact generated by an Industrial Doctorate project.

In addition to different actions on social networks, the video "Industrial Doctorates, ten years of collaborative research" will be produced, which will collect different testimonies from participants of the DI Plan and different collaborations, as well as the results and impacts of the Industrial Doctorate projects in this decade. In order to celebrate these ten years with the entire Pla community, a major event planned for the beginning of 2023 will be held, which will be distinguished by its international aspect. During the event, it is expected that the Impacte DI 2012-2022 awards will be presented, that the commemorative video will be projected, ten years of collaborative research, with the participation of a professional of international scientific relevance, in addition to the institutional parliaments.

The Industrial Doctorates Plan is an initiative of the Government of Catalonia, launched at the end of 2012 with a pilot plan, which was born to respond to one of the challenges that Catalonia had and has to develop socially and economically: the transfer of knowledge and technology and its application in the productive fabric of the country.

Aligned with the National Pact for the Knowledge Society (PN@SC), and its aim of converging with the most advanced Europe in the field of teaching, research and knowledge transfer, Industrial Doctorates become a fundamental tool for this valorization and transfer of technology and knowledge. It is a fact that the diversity of the Catalan research and innovation ecosystem favors scientific and technological creation, the challenge is to make universities and research centers become an engine of economic and social development that responds to the challenges of Catalonia in all areas. In order to respond to the needs of society and the new problems they generate, new solutions must be provided. The path to economic development and social progress requires investing in science, technology and innovation.

The work carried out over the last ten years has consolidated the DI Plan as a great example of the development of collaborative research with an impact on society. The research model developed by the Industrial Doctorates Plan is a collective project, where a company or institution develops a strategic research project in collaboration with a university or research center. The impact of this research is not achieved by the work of an individual, it is teamwork that is also applied and generates economic activity in the territory. Universities, research centres, companies and institutions, and the public administration make a great effort to transfer research results to society.

During these ten years of the Plan's life, more than 800 strategic projects have been carried out deployed by companies and institutions. These projects have allowed them to acquire scientific skills at the highest level, as well as access high-level equipment and infrastructures. They have been able to attract talent and contribute to training people with great potential to improve the competitiveness and internationalization of the company or institution, as well as boost their performance and advance technology. Own knowledge is generated in universities, research centres, hospitals, but also in companies and institutions. And it is in private R+D where we need to improve more, in relation to the most affluent and competitive Europe. This target is where the Industrial Doctorates Plan points out: to promote private R+D+I with public investment, creating bridges of collaboration between the academic world and the socio-economic world.

We understand innovation as the exploitation of new ideas and new knowledge that favour society, the environment, and the economy. This innovative spirit, which is part of the strategic dimension of the participating companies and institutions, has generated over these ten years good examples of innovative and disruptive projects in various fields of knowledge.

Since 2012, the Plan has had collaborative research projects on the electrification of vehicles, communications security or e-mobility; in 2013, innovative projects were launched on 5G technology, agri-food and sustainability, or disruptive projects such as 3D food printing. The fight against climate change thanks to CO₂ capture began in 2014 with an Industrial Doctorate project, and many other innovative areas such as new work methodologies, the circular economy, Machine and Deep Learning, artificial intelligence, plant proteins, quantum computing or projects to increase the capacities of people with disabilities.

The Industrial Doctorates Plan, already consolidated with a high and growing demand, is a real keystone to improve knowledge-based competitiveness. The ID Plan looks to the future and wants to be a creative part of this future society where the paradigms of the productive economy are already changing, and technological change is global and growing. What seems impossible today, for many future DI projects tomorrow will be the subject of their research: collaborative, applied and disruptive.

How far can this research go? How can the world we know be transformed? The answers will be discovered during the different actions within the framework of the celebration of these ten years of the Industrial Doctorates Plan, promoted by the Department of Research and Universities. The capacity of the DI Plan to transform the industrial fabric of Catalonia will be linked to its future growth: if the resources to co-finance collaborative research projects increase, we will also increase our capacity to generate knowledge that will ultimately be transformed into practical solutions for society.