Press release

Barcelona Science Park celebrates 20 years as a scientific and business innovation centre
The rector of the University of Barcelona, Joan Elias, and the general director of the Barcelona Science Park, Maria Terrades

Yesterday, Barcelona Science Park (Parc Científic de Barcelona, PCB) held the first of a number of events scheduled to commemorate its 20 years as a meeting place for universities, companies and society. Established by the University of Barcelona (UB) in 1997, was the first science park in Spain.
The need to provide an environment that facilitates the flow of knowledge between the academic setting, the science and technology community and the production system to improve the population’s quality of life drove the University of Barcelona to establish the Barcelona Science Park in 1997, the first science park in Spain.

Over the last two decades, the park has expanded to cover an area of 100,000 m2, supported the enterprising projects of more than 300 companies and also designed the first bioincubator in Spain, initially with the support of the Centre for Innovation and Business Development of the Generalitat (Government of Catalonia) and then with the support of Banco Santander.

Twenty years after the first brick was laid, the Barcelona Science Park is now one of Europe's leading science, technology and business innovation parks for life sciences and a magnet for talent, where more than 100 public and private entities interact in a prime environment, generating synergies that consolidate collaboration and knowledge exchange for the creation of a new entrepreneurial fabric based on new technologies.

Yesterday, Barcelona Science Park kicked off its 20th birthday celebrations with an enormous birthday party for the more than 2,700 professionals that make up the park’s community, opened by the rector of the University of Barcelona, Joan Elias, and the general director of PCB, Maria Terrades.

“Twenty years after its foundation, the Barcelona Science Park is a source of pride for our institution. Some of the best researchers in the country work in its facilities. Therefore, it isn’t just key to the future of the University of Barcelona, but it is also vital to the Catalan and Spanish research sector”, states Joan Elias.

According to Maria Terrades, “The park has become a scientific leader for public and private research on a European level and assuming the position of director has been an honour and a daily challenge. Reaching this 20-year milestone has required the constant development of the project, and we would like to celebrate our achievements with all the people and institutions that have made them possible with the festivities on Thursday and an institutional event that we are preparing for the coming weeks”.

The event took place thanks to the sponsorship of Enantia, Esteve, the Ordesa Group, the Molecular Biology Institute of Barcelona (IBMB-CSIC) and Qiagen; the support of Bellavista, the Scientific and Technological Centers of the University of Barcelona (CCiTUB), the Biotechnology Business Institute (IEB), Ferrer, Iproteos and ProteoDesign, and the collaboration of Estrella Damm, Ferrovial Servicios and Suez.

100,000 m2 of excellence in research, entrepreneurship and innovation

Located on the Diagonal Sur Campus and covering a total area of 100,000 m2, the Barcelona Science Park is a dynamic ecosystem that is home to an innovative community made up of more than 100 public and private entities and 2,700 professionals (54% of which are women), who work mainly in the emerging fields of life sciences.

Four large public research centres have their headquarters in the park: theInstitute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC) and the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) –accredited Severo Ochoa centres of excellence – the Molecular Biology Institute of Barcelona (IBMB-CSIC) – boasting a María de Maeztu Unit of Excellence: the Structural Biology Unit – and the National Centre for Genomic Analysis (CNAG-CRG), which forms part of the Map of Unique Scientific and Technical Infrastructures (ICTS) in Spain.

Seventy-five established and associated businesses (from R&D&I departments of large companies, to spin-offs and start-ups); 11 not-for-profit entities, and 12 groups and centres of the UB, including the Bosch i Gimpera Foundation and the UB knowledge transfer, technology and innovation office, are based at the park.

Another distinguishing feature of Barcelona Science Park is the wide range of Scientific and Technological Services available to facilitate R&D&I –both for the established businesses and for external, national and international companies and research groups– which includes Technological Platforms, the Scientific and Technological Centers of the University of Barcelona (CCiTUB) and the ICCUB-Tech Unit of the Institute of Cosmos Sciences of the UB (ICCUB).

These services are complemented by a PCB community revitalisation programme, which seeks to increase interaction among its members and with the innovation ecosystem.

Among its strategic lines, the Barcelona Science Park also offers the organisation of scientific publication activities to make research more accessible to citizens, promote dialogue between the general public and the researchers, and to encourage young people to pursue a career in science. Currently, as part of its Research in Society programme, it organises more than 100 annual face-to-face activities in which around 5,000 people take part.

The first science park in Spain

The origin of the science and technology parks is closely linked to the concept of the enterprising university. Conceived in the 50s in Silicon Valley – when Stanford Research Park of Stanford University opened in 1951 – the model came to Europe at the end of the seventies, specifically the United Kingdom and France.

The University of Barcelona became a pioneer in Spain in 1994 when its Board of Governors approved the reservation of spaces for the future creation of the first science park in Spain, with the aim of providing a tool that would facilitate the transfer of its scientific and technical skills to businesses and society in general.

The project was implemented following the creation of the Barcelona Science Park Foundation on 26 September 1997, initially consisting of the University of Barcelona with the support of the Bosch i Gimpera Foundation and Caixa Cataluña, and which later incorporated the Generalitat (Government of Catalonia), Barcelona City Council, the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), BBVA and Banco Santander.

The construction of the architectural project – which began in 1998 and was carried out in several phases until 2012 – was supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness and Plan E.

The PCB model as a key structure in the innovation system – where university, institutional and business research centres come together in a single space equipped with a strong technological offering – served as a reference for most of the scientific parks subsequently created in Spain.
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