Cantabria is an interesting European pilot region for the institutional transformations to include RRI in research and innovation strategies. The replicability of results is ensured in a region classified as a moderate innovator that combines well-developed services with industry (traditional and innovative in renewables and marine) and primary sectors.
The pilot in the Cantabria region is coordinated by its Regional Development Agency, SODERCAN. This entity is the public company of the government of Cantabria in-charge of regional development. SODERCAN collaborates with the General Directorate of Innovation, Technological Development, and Industrial Entrepreneurship of the Government of Cantabria.
With this pilot, SODERCAN will bring new actors and perspectives into the regional research and innovation policymaking, strengthening its inclusivity and aligning them to socio-ethical aspects of innovation policy. In particular, the pilot will favour the public understanding of the entrepreneurship and innovation possibilities that the sea and the coastal line can offer to the economic development of the region as well as facilitate the region’s transition to a low-carbon economy.
The region’s pilot plan is focused on the value chain around renewable marine energies and offshore wind. All actions that facilitate a transition to a low-carbon economy, following the priorities established in the European Union, are a priority for the region. SODERCAN will involve different regional clusters that will act as fundamental actors for the development of a regional system that incorporates the real needs of society in actions that promote innovation and research in Cantabria, within the concept of “Blue Economy”. For the last stages of the project, SODERCAN will incorporate the health sector, which is also a priority in the regional research and innovation plans.
During this first phase of the TetRRIS project, the development of the pilot in Cantabria involves in-depth interviews with different actors such as clusters, entrepreneurial representatives like CEOE-CEPYME, regional universities, technology centres (as the Technological Components Centre), and start-ups in order to understand the profile of the innovation ecosystem in the region. The purpose of these interviews is to analyse what the region thinks about future challenges and identify the social implications of their research and innovations for citizens. The conclusions will be put into practice through the regional innovation and economic development strategies.
The pilot in Cantabria has the support and guidance of Fundación TECNALIA Research & Innovation. TECNALIA will support and supervise the pilot action, providing experience in Responsible Research and Innovation and smart specialization. This way, Cantabria and its relevant actors will be able to meet and achieve the objectives towards responsible research and innovation thus be able to update Cantabria’s strategy for smart specialization.