IK4 Research Alliance. The Alliance for Technological Scientific Excellence Composition where the IK4 Alliance logo appears, showing a female technical carrying out laboratory tests

6 technology centers,
1 European reference in
development of technology
for companies

IK4 saw growth in 2016 with revenue rising to €114M and staff totalling 1,443

03/13/2017 |<img data-link="http://ik4.es/es/actualidad_noticias_detalle.asp?id_noticia=193" src='http://www.ik4.es/upload/noticias/img/1303Tekniker228-b.jpg' /> In 2016 it obtained 3 million euros more revenue than in the previous year and recruited 183 people. The R&D Alliance is set to recruit 40 people in 2017 to address the increase in the R&D&i activity of Basque companies. The IK4 centres are seeking graduates with scientific and technical degrees to work on projects to transfer technology to companies. The organisation expects to invest 20 million in 2017.

(Eibar, Basque Country. March, 2017).- In 2016 IK4’s revenue totalled 114 million euros, three million up on the previous year when its revenue was 111 million. This figure consolidates the growth that had already taken place in 2015 with respect to the previous year.

Last year, 59% of this revenue came from the direct sourcing of R&D&i services by companies. These figures keep IK4 among the leaders in Europe in terms of ratio of revenue from the private sector, thus consolidating its status as one of the main European references in the field of applied research.

“These results bear witness to the commitment of Basque companies to R&D&i as an accelerator of their competitiveness, and they also clearly indicate the trust they place in the IK4 R&D Alliance as the driving force of their capabilities,” said IK4’s CEO José Miguel Erdozain.

The campaign launched in 2016 resulted in the recruitment of a total of 183 people. So by the end of the year the number of employees in the Alliance rose to a total of 1,443, 14% up on 2015. 403 of them, 28%, are PhD holders, a figure that points to the high qualification of the personnel brought together by the Alliance.

This campaign is scheduled to continue in 2017, when the centres in the IK4 R&D Alliance will be bolstering their R&D&i capabilities with the recruitment of 40 new, highly qualified researchers. 20 of them will be working on their PhD theses in the areas of the in-house research of the centres. So IK4 is keen to address the increase in R&D&i activity of companies by redoubling its commitment to excellence and attracting talent, which it regards as key elements in strengthening its contribution to the competitive capacity of the Basque industrial base.

When assessing the Alliance’s activity in terms of the generation of knowledge, it is worth highlighting the 15 patents granted in 2016 as they reflect the transfer of its research work into technological solutions useful for companies.  Furthermore, 37 PhD theses were read over the past year and 429 scientific articles relating to R&D&i were published.

During this year the Alliance is anticipating a level of activity similar to that of last year, so it is aiming to consolidate the level of revenue achieved in 2016. IK4 is also intending to enrich its technological offer and spearhead the position of its centres as cutting-edge research players. That is why it will be investing 20 million euros during 2017 to reinforce the centres’ capabilities, improve their equipment and extend their labs.

The Alliance believes that this investment is needed to adapt its capabilities to market demand and address the requirement to develop more advanced technologies to accompany the companies in its area so they can compete successfully in the technological race.  In line with this commitment it has progressed from investing 3.66 million euros in 2015 to 13 million in 2016, while this investment of 20 million will be made this year.

“The economic downturn forced us to act extremely cautiously, but the improvement in the general situation and the good management of the Alliance will allow us to undertake significant investments that will enable us to improve our equipment and labs so that the technological challenges ahead of us can be successfully tackled,” explained Erdozain.

The IK4 R&D centres are mainly seeking people with Master’s degrees in scientific and technical subjects, basically in Industrial, Automation, Mechanical, Electronic Engineering, Computer Science, Telecommunications, Materials, and Chemistry and also people with Master’s degrees in Physical Sciences or Mathematics.

Their work will involve participating as leaders of or collaborators in projects to transfer technology to companies, and in research projects in the European ambit. This research work will focus on the four areas that IK4 has specified as strategic ones. They are energy, transport, mobility, healthcare and advanced manufacturing, where it believes that the main opportunities for Basque companies are to be found.

“If we want to be at the cutting edge of technology, we need to reinforce our capabilities with the talent coming out of the universities, and commit ourselves to excellence, because that is how we will be more useful in driving forward the competitiveness of Basque companies,” said Erdozain.

One of IK4’s functions is to provide its research personnel with very high level training in disciplines of interest for the Basque industrial base. Some of these professionals then go on to swell the ranks of private companies, where there is a strong demand for employees of this calibre.

That way, the Alliance acts as a pool of talent for Basque companies which thus have the chance to reinforce themselves with professionals with cutting-edge training. Last year, 58 IK4 employees made the leap to the private sector.

Last year was the last in the 2013-2016 strategic plan, which has guided the management of the Alliance over the last four years. The organisation's assessment of this plan is very positive, since the aims set have been met in terms of the growth of the capabilities of the centres, the number of people employed and transfer of knowledge to companies.

This growth has been reflected in a greater influence on the European committees where the continent’s roadmaps for technological development are drawn up. IK4 has positioned itself at the highest level in most of these groups of experts, in which institutions, companies and R&D&i centres establish which opportunities will be opening up on the markets in the medium and long term, and will thus be committing itself to these opportunities through investment programmes.

IK4 has launched its new strategic plan for the 2017-2020 period which aims to consolidate the achievements made over the last few years. One of the priority aims is to keep up its considerable effort in bringing its services to SMEs, in order to collaborate with them in improving their competitiveness. The idea is to reinforce the capabilities of these enterprises with the future in mind and thus drive forward the generating of wealth in enterprises of this type.

The Alliance believes that its organisational model is an advantage when it comes to tackling this challenge. “Owing to its flexibility, IK4’s federal model allows our centres to work with large companies and, at the same time, be highly accessible for smaller companies, which is essential if R&D&i is to be extended to the SMEs,” concluded Erdozain.

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