THE WATER AND ENERGY STRATEGIC AREA, a reference in the ICE conversion Plan thanks to its singularity and potential, has not only consolidated itself and exceeded the expected results, but is also proof that the designed specialisation model is ideal for the creation of an internationally competitive Region of Knowledge. The area maintains scientific leadership and the potential for transfer of the Institute of Environmental Hydraulics of Cantabria (IH Cantabria), a joint centre comprised of 140 people from 15 countries capable of financing over 90% of its personnel with its own resources. The centre contributed over €20M in funds obtained through research and knowledge transfer projects and has become one of the main driving forces for socioeconomic development in the region.
For this, the planned actions in each one of the improvement areas of the CIC Strategic Plan have been completed:
IH Cantabria has consolidated itself among the elite of the national and international centres in the area of knowledge related to the water cycle, moving from 30th place to 6th in the world in recent years. It generates 16% of Spanish production and in 2013 it was the 1st centre in the country in terms of impact, citations and production (CSIC‐IEDCYT, Microsoft Academics).
On an international level, 3 of the first 5 Spanish researchers in the H Index Ranking of Civil Engineering and Marine Engineering are IH Cantabria researchers. The centre also excels in the Ranking of authors with significant impact, with one author in 8th place and another in 53rd, among more than 2,000 authors. It is 1st in climate, because it contributed the only Spanish coordinator of the 5th Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of the United Nations (IPCC).
Between 2009 and 2014, IH Cantabria increased its scientific production by 65%. Its team has received 18 national and 4 international awards for its scientific work.
The global increase in funds obtained through contract and competitive research projects between 2009 and 2013 exceeds 28%, for an average of almost €3.7M annually and a total of almost 350 projects (increase of over 200% in the number of projects/year). In 2012, the aggregation's milestone was the Renewable Marine Energies Research Plan, with the integration of all the public and private agents in the sector and over 500 researchers and technicians, creating a database of scientific infrastructures and resources for shared use.
KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER AND INTERNATIONALISATION
Between 2009 and 2014, over 180 transfer projects have been developed in over 25 countries, with total obtained financing of over €16M (85% of R&D&I resources are international). There has been a considerable improvement in quality and impact, allowing the implementation of large integrated projects (since 2013, a project is being implemented in Oman valued at almost €1M).
In March 2011, the Renewable Marine Energies Cluster was established, "Sea of Innovation Cantabria Cluster": aggregation of 45 companies, 13 research groups and 4 institutions, most important group specialised in this field. In terms of valorisation of research results, a total of 7 patents were obtained.
TALENT RECRUITMENT AND RETENTION
Since 2009, IH Cantabria has increased its personnel by 85%, and also completed its AGL team and recruited a total of 5 researchers in calls for excellence projects, as well as 2 researchers financed with the centre's own funds. In total, IH obtained €500,000 through calls for research personnel. The internationalisation strategy has translated into an average of 2 annual stays in the best centres around the world (Princeton, Cornell, Imperial College London, among others).
INFRASTRUCTURES AND EQUIPMENT
The Environmental Hydraulics Complex facilities in the Cantabria Scientific and Technological Park (PCTCAN) were inaugurated in March 2011, including the headquarters of the Environmental Hydraulics Institute, the Renewable Energies Tower and, especially, the Cantabria Coastal and Ocean Basin (CCOB), definitively registered as Singular Scientific Technical Infrastructure (ICTS) in May 2014. Currently, a strategic agreement with two innovative technological centres is being negotiated in the Renewable Marine Energies sector in Spain to create a joint ICTS that is more competitive on an international level. Finally, the CCOB has been selected by the European Commission to evaluate the "Draft Charter for Access to Research Infrastructures" in Europe.
Cantabria Coastal and Ocean Basin Cantabria (CCOB) facilities required a total investment of almost €22M, co-financed by the Ministry of Science and Innovation (MICINN, in 2011), the Government of Cantabria and the European Fund for Regional Development (EFRD). In the last phase, the centre obtained €2.8M from UC as part of the INNOCAMPUS programme in 2010.
This area has coordinated internationalised postgraduate and doctorate teaching activities aimed at developing professional skills that are tied to the market. Four editions of UC's own "Iberoamerican Course on Port Technology and Environmental Management" have been developed within the framework of CITAP, the International Centre for Port Technologies and Administration. This center, created in collaboration with UIMP, the Spanish Port System, Port of Santander and the Government of Cantabria, has organised the above mentioned course in which approximately 70 professionals from over 11 countries in the Latin American port sector have taken part.
In addition, over 50 training and capacity building courses, workshops, seminars and sessions (34 international) have been organised to reach approximately 500 professionals from public and private companies, including Iberdrola, EDP, the World Bank Institute and UNDP in over 10 countries. It is worth mentioning the viability study carried out for the development of a vocational training certification linked to the Renewable Energies Sector, particularly interesting in both Cantabria and the European Atlantic Arc in terms of regional specialisation.
The Water and Energy area is one of the region's main exporters of science and knowledge. Its clients include large companies and international institutions like the Environmental Institute of Brazil, the Inter-American Development Bank, the Government of Oman, REPSOL, EDP and ENEL, among others. The Strategic Area collaborates intensely with innovative universities from around the world, such as Cornell University.
The knowledge transfer projects in the Water and Energy Area are evenly distributed in geographical terms and cover all the research fields included in the CIC Strategic Plan.