Council of Ministers

Government approves Spanish Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for 2021 to 2027

Moncloa Palace, Madrid, Tuesday 8 September 2020

The Council of Ministers approved the Spanish Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy 2021-2027, the objectives of which include doubling the amount of public and private investment in R&D+i to 2.12% of GDP by 2027 (investment in this field stood at 1.24% of GDP in 2018, the most recent available figure).

The Spanish Minister for Science and Innovation, Pedro Duque, explained that this strategy responds to a "broad consensus" on the need to increase investment in order to "guarantee a sustainable recovery and ensure a future for coming generations".

Pool Moncloa/Borja Puig de la BellacasaPedro Duque stressed that the document stems from work carried out since 2019 by all ministerial departments, regional government authorities, economic and social stakeholders, universities, research organisations and scientific bodies, and that it has been updated in recent months in response to the needs highlighted by the coronavirus pandemic, such as those in the field of health.

Health will therefore be one of the six priority sectors for the strategy, alongside Culture, creativity and inclusive society; Security for society; the Digital world, industry, space and defence; Climate, energy and mobility; and Food, the bio-based economy, natural resources and the environment.

Pedro Duque said that science and innovation will be brought into line with the other policies aimed at supporting the country's reconstruction. The plans, programmes and rounds of funding stemming from the strategy will therefore be implemented more quickly "so they can take effect on the economy and employment", will be revised more often and will be in line with European funding programmes so they may be eligible such financing. For the same reason, "high priority" will be given to fostering innovation in business, especially at SMEs, and public-private partnerships. A focus will also be placed on knowledge transfer.

The Spanish minister then summarised other aspects focused on by the strategy, such as the need to define a scientific career capable of ending the precarious and temporary nature of jobs in this profession, approving new ways to hire researchers and a statute for teaching research staff at universities, while reforming the Biomedicine Research Act in order to improve conditions for healthcare and hospital researchers.

Pedro Duque stressed that the commitment from the Government of Spain to science, innovation and research is "resolute and reliable", as was demonstrated by the approval in July of an Action Plan with one billion euros of direct investment in 2020 and 2021.

Annual Legislative Plan

Pool Moncloa/Borja Puig de la BellacasaThe Council of Ministers approved the Annual Legislative Plan for the Central Government of Spain 2020.

The First Vice-President of the Government, Minister for the Presidency, Parliamentary Relations and Democratic Memory, Carmen Calvo, explained that the second half of this year will see an amendment to Article 49 of the Spanish Constitution, and three draft constitutional laws, 53 standard bills and 114 Royal Decrees will be submitted to the Lower House of Parliament. 12 bills (three constitutional), 27 Royal Decree-laws and 100 Royal Decrees have already been processed in the first half of this year.

Carmen Calvo stressed that, despite the emergency legislation that needed to be processed at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Spain has continued working on its commitments for this term. "I want to highlight that because it is a very significant effort for a government that has to deal with the extraordinary and the ordinary", she said.

The first draft law that the Government of Spain will approve is the one on democratic memory. "Spanish democracy is now mature enough to look back at its past with justice and dignity", said Carmen Calvo, who also announced a constitutional law on the comprehensive guarantee of sexual liberty.

The plan revolves around several overarching priorities. The first is the digital transition and the fair transition, climate change and green policy. The second is the tax system. The third is social and territorial cohesion and the strengthening of the Welfare State. Employment generation and the creation of decent jobs represent the fourth priority, followed by the strengthening of the science, technology and innovation system, education and professional training, and a reform of the civil service.

The plan will be released at the end of this week on the Transparency Portal. Carmen Calvo said it is important that all members of the public and all the sectors involved can read details about the plan put in place by the Government of Spain to thereby encourage involvement.

Other agreements

  • Royal Decree for amending the regulatory bases for awarding grants to entities run by women in the rural environment nationwide and those targeted at multi-regional professional training programmes in the rural environment.
  • Issue of a State Guarantee to 99 public works projects for the 'Mondrian y De Stijl' temporary exhibition that will take place at the Reina Sofía National Museum and Art Centre from 10 November 2020 to 1 March 2021.

Possible vaccine in December

Pool Moncloa/Borja Puig de la BellacasaThe Minister for the Treasury and Spokesperson for the Government of Spain, María Jesús Montero, reported that the Inter-regional National Health System Council will meet on Wednesday to start studying and defining the criteria and protocols for application of the vaccine against COVID-19 when it becomes available, something that "if everything goes according to plan" could happen at the end of this year. Spain could have three million vaccines at that time, said María Jesús Montero, which would allow the most sensitive or most exposed people, such as healthcare professionals, to start being protected in December.

María Jesús Montero again invited the regional governments that have not yet done so to sign the agreement on the Radar COVID app, which facilitates the identification of possible contacts and helps shorten the virus transmission chain. The app is already operating in 12 regions. She also encouraged the public to download it and use it.

María Jesús Montero advocated cooperation and collaboration between authorities, and highlighted the case between the Government of Spain and the regional governments to ensure the start of a school year "that has so far not experienced any incidents of note in those places where it has already started". She congratulated teachers on their work to ensure a return to the classrooms "under a climate of confidence and safety".

Current affairs

María Jesús Montero called on all political formations to support the upcoming General State Budget, "which is essential for allowing the country to rebuild itself as soon as possible".

She expressed the Government of Spain's will to broaden its bases with partnerships beyond the parties that made its investiture possible and stressed that these exceptional times "require unity among political forces".

Finally, the minister announced that the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, will attend the 7th South EU Summit in Corsica on Thursday, which will also be attended by France, Italy, Portugal, Greece, Malta and Cyprus.

Non official translation