The participants in SACF’s session emphasised how easy it is to deal with Australian institutions
Francisco Marín, the Director General of the Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI), stated that “Australia is an attractive market [for Spain]; it is within our area of interest.”
Marín emphasised CDTI’s role in helping Spanish companies identify potential partners and fund joint projects. “We endeavour to facilitate bilateral agreements,” he said, using Australia as an example of the centre’s work. “In the case of Australia, I am very optimistic that a bilateral MOU will eventually be signed.”
Ambassador Timothy Kane, Chargé d’Affaires for Spain, highlighted that his Government is doing all it can to improve the situation and added that “reaching a strategic agreement is crucial.”
The discussions between the participants in the various round tables and the rest of the attendees offered an overview of the main strengths and challenges faced by companies, universities and research centres in the two countries when it comes to undertaking joint projects.
According to Carlos García-Alonso from Universidad Loyola Andalucía, one of the positive factors is how easy it is to contact local, regional and national governments in Australia. “There is a very close relationship between government officials and researchers, which is wonderful. Things tend to be more complicated in Spain,” he said.
The fact that it is so easy to work with Australian researchers and universities and to overcome specific difficulties was the main aspect emphasised by the participants.
In terms of the factors to be improved, the participants expressed their concerns about the difficulties involved in coordinating Australian participation in European initiatives, such as the initiatives involved in the the Horizon 2020 programme.
Alonso Dezcallar, Secretary General of the Spain Australia Council Foundation, closed the session by thanking both the Australian and Spanish attendees for their participation. He emphasised the interest, capacity and experience of the two countries in the field of research, in which SACF will continue to develop bilateral relations.