The European Investment Bank (EIB) has provided its biggest research, development and innovation (RDI) loan to date to support science in Spain. The EUR 1.2bn in funds will finance the activities of public research centres and institutions in the country until 2020. The loan will help to support investments in several areas of science and technology, especially those more closely linked with Spanish industry, with the aim of promoting the development of patents and new areas of research.
The EIB is providing these funds under InnovFin Science, a joint initiative of the EIB Group and the European Commission designed specifically to support RDI in Europe and backed by the EU’s research and innovation programme Horizon 2020.
The projects financed by the EU under this EIB loan will mobilise total investment of EUR 2.486bn and will have a positive effect on attracting and retaining research talent in Spain.
EIB Vice-President Emma Navarro said: “With this agreement, the EIB is highlighting the importance of science and research to the future of Spain and Europe. By supporting Spanish public research organisations and centres, the EU bank is investing in innovation, promoting the development of knowledge and new areas of research that will be beneficial to all. We are delighted to take part in a project making a major contribution to current and future science in Spain.”
European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas said: “This operation is yet another example of the European Commission's support for investment in research and development in Member States. This EUR 1.2bn of financing will help to create wealth and jobs in Spain and to build Europe's future on the solid foundation of science. This is the objective of the Horizon 2020 programme and its financial instruments like InnovFin Science.”
Spanish Minister for Science, Innovation and Universities Pedro Duque was happy with an agreement showing the “importance of research and innovation for Europe.” In the same vain, he added that RDI “must be a priority for Europe and I am sure that this will be reflected in the EU's next research and innovation framework programme, Horizon Europe. It is important for us to put knowledge generation and its transfer to the productive sector at the heart of political debate, as this is the only way to ensure a modern and competitive Europe.”
The EIB funds will be managed, among others, by the Agencia Estatal de Investigación (State Research Agency) created in 2015 for the management and financing of public funding for RDI. These resources will make it possible to support the research projects of Public Research Organisations (OPIS) and Unique Scientific and Technical Infrastructures (ICTS) in several of Spain's autonomous communities. Centres such as the National Research Council (CSIC), the Carlos III Health Institute, the Geological and Mining Institute, the Spanish Oceanography Institute and the Energy and Environment Research Centre will be able to benefit from the favourable terms of the EIB's financing. The EU bank fund will be split between several knowledge areas: biology, chemistry and earth sciences; engineering and technology; agriculture; physics, mathematics and astronomy; social sciences and humanities; and health sciences.
This is the EIB's third operation with the Spanish Government to fund scientific projects in Spain. The first, signed in 2013, made it possible to provide EUR 625 million for RDI, while the second agreement granted EUR 515 million in 2014.
About the InnovFin programme and the EIB Group
InnovFin financial products: Under Horizon 2020, the EU research and innovation programme for 2014-2020, the European Commission and the EIB Group (EIB and EIF) launched a new generation of financial instruments and advisory services in 2014 to help innovative firms access finance more easily. The “InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators” initiative offers a range of tailored products to provide financing to support research and innovation (R&I) by small, medium-sized and large companies and the promoters of research infrastructure.
InnovFin Science supports R&I investments by research institutes, universities and research organisations (public or private), including the financing of buildings and other infrastructure directly related to R&I activity. The product is deployed directly by the EIB in the form of debt or equity-type financing from EUR 25 million.
All of this initiative's instruments are driven by existing demand, with no prior allocations between sectors, countries or regions. Firms and other entities located in EU Member States and Horizon 2020 Associated Countries are eligible to become final beneficiaries.