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Current situation of Scientific Improvement and Knowledge Transfer
The Strategic Areas which make up CCI have undergone a major boost in the last two years, from a position of corroborated scientific quality which now reaches a degree of excellence, which has been accompanied by a wealth of material and financial resources which have been necessary to boost “competitive research on an international scale with great transfer capacity”.
Area of Water and Energy: During this period it has reached its consolidation phase. After its inauguration in May 2011, the Institute of Environmental Hydraulics and Cantabria Coastal and Ocean Basin, have been in full operation since the end of 2011. This ensures that the return on investment in the new ICTS is guaranteed, already demonstrated by contracted projects which guarantee its use during the next two years. Currently, there are 22 active national and international projects which are of competitive tendering, 4 of which belong to FP7. Collaboration with the public sector is very active in areas such as environmental hydraulics, management of basins, coasts and risks, maritime engineering or renewable marine energies, in the development of offshore wind-power energy as well as in wave energy, with various transfer projects between companies, funded through CDTI or the CENIT programme, or through international projects such as United Nations or the World Bank, having developed projects in Africa, Latin-America and Central Europe, and recently having won a contract for the development of an organizational study of the Qatar Coastline.
Area of Biomedicine and Biotechnology: In this phase it has advanced in a convincing way, as demonstrated by the imminent transfer to IBBTEC (UC-CSIC), one of the best biomedical research centres in Spain due to its number of publications, and to its new Head Office in the Scientific and Technological Park of Cantabria (expected for the beginning of 2013). The effective incorporation of Hrvoje Pektovic in the UC within the AGL Programme has allowed an ambitious collaboration project with the company Acies-Bio (Slovenia) to be set up. This is aimed at new developments in medicine and drugs in the nervous system, oncology and infectious pathology, using methods of bacterial biotechnology.
Area of Technology: The great potential which has arisen in the region regarding “Smart Cities” has made it possible to build a centre which is specialized in the ICT area, fitting original objectives into the new economic framework, for research and development of projects in the area, Internet of Objects (IoT), optimization and improvement in the sustainability of urban services, the application of ICT to management of the environment and civic interaction denominated Research Centre for Smart Cities in Santander (CICIS). The Centre will have an initial budget of 600,000 Euros, contributed by Ferrovial, and will have the collaboration of the Technological Institute of Massachusetts (MIT). Evolution in this area has allowed Santander to occupy second place in the ranking of Spanish 'Smart Cities, thanks to the SmartSantander project which, along with the OUTSMART project, is allowing the deployment of a massive infrastructure of devices that enables the scientific community to access a platform of unique experimentation on which to design and validate technologies and services.
Area of Banking, Finance and Entrepreneurial Activity: together with the signing of the agreement with Santander Bank to create Santander Financial Institute (SanFi), the area will mark a landmark in the near future in the generation, dissemination and knowledge transfer in the financial sector. The AGL Programme in this area has allowed the researcher Francisco Peñaranda to be incorporated; he will be integrated within the centre and will collaborate in defining its work-lines. In parallel, the creation of Santander International Entrepreneur Centre (CISE) is predicted, an international university institute of reference for research, transfer and learning in entrepreneurship. Both centres will be run through the UC Foundation for Study and Research in the Financial Sector (UCEIF), a joint UC-Santander Bank foundation.
Area of Physics and Mathematics: The RES Altamira Node, installed in the IFCA and financed with the Innocampus Programme as part of CCI objectives, was inaugurated in October 2012. Altamira is the second most powerful piece of equipment in Spain and is among the fastest 500 worldwide (358th position in the Top500 ranking), and is in 36th position in the Green500 rankings, which make classifications in terms of energy efficiency. Of note is the signing of an agreement between the UC and the private company, CIC Consulting Informático, to offer the services of Altamira to Spanish SMEs and improve their products and services through innovation. The infrastructure of Altamira is the node of the Spanish Supercomputing Network, to which it devotes 20% of its capacity and which represents 80% of the service available for the UC
Area of Heritage and Language: This has made progress in the development and consolidation process of the International Centre for Higher Studies in Spanish, CIESE-Comillas (a member of the UC), strengthening and promoting its teaching offer of Undergraduate and Graduate courses. Thus, after approval by ANECA, the Ist Edition of a Degree in Hispanic Studies took place and the development of the Master’s Degree in the Teaching of Spanish as a Foreign Language has successfully continued, achieving a solid reputation in the field of teaching Spanish. On the other hand, incorporation of the researcher Kim Griffin occurred at this stage, within the framework of the AGL Programme to Attract Talent, and together with her momentum and research seed of the Comillas Chair, is expected to make progress in the project for the creation of a Joint Research Institute in Spanish Language and Hispanic Culture.