CARTIF was born, like many other technology centres, in the heart of a university department. In our case, our General Director José R.Perán created it almost 30 years ago in the department of systems and automatic engineering of the School of Industrial Engineering of the Univesity of Valladolid.

The center is growing and evolving in terms of the knowledge acquired, the number of researches that form part of it, as well as the facilities it has at its disposal.

It was in 2008 when I joined CARTIF, and I found that the centre was inmersed in the process of implementing a Marketing Plan drawn up by experts in the field with the objective of selling the technologies and knowledge that the centre had at that time to companies identified in that plan. At that time, the centre had a market-oriented installed capacity of almost 50% of its resources. In other words, half of the staff was clearly focused on transfer. With this installed capacity, returns were approximately 40%, i.e. almost half of the centre´s income came from turnover from companies.

With the “big” marketing plan, CARTIF launches itself into the market, devoting even more resources to try to make transfer, but obtaining practically the same results… The centre´s growth was stagnating and the national public funding crisis was threatening back in 2011. The centre began to dedicate resources to the European Framework Programme, in view of the predicted shortage of nacional funds, becoming the main programme from 2017-2018, when the era of kick-offs, work packages and the anxiety that the officer would admit us to the deliverable began…CARTIF researches at that time only had in their heads infodays, deadlines and reports… The level of stress was increasing due to the demands of the justifications.

A few years later, on 13 March 2020 every person at CARTIF walked out the door witht our computers and screens. A state of alarm was to be proclaimed, we were in a worldwide coronavirus pandemic… Hospitals were collapsed, nursing homes were armoured, it was a global emergency. The market was crying out for help… The market was knocking at the door.

CARTIF uses all the knowledge and technologies at its disposal. It starts to manufacture the famous PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) for healthcare workers, to provide sterilisation equipment,… The researchers are proud, they want more, for the first time in a long time they don’t have to convince the market, they just have to offer what it asks for.

The centre clicks again after a period of confusion and the transfer culture that has always existed reappears, this time reinforced with the new deputy general manager, reminding us of what we are: the agent that responds to the calls, and not calls, of the market.

Because the technology centres are the agent that acts as a hinge between science and the market, we have to stop the erroneous tendency to generate and then transfer, which is typical of a research organisation. Technology centres must internalise our role as agents of innovation, making researches become technologists, think about the market and feel proud and happy to help the business fabric and also as a natural extension to society.

Because only this way… We will be happy!

Irene Hompanera
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