The Future Of Innovation - Centaurs Of The Mediteranian

Mr Joaquín M. Azagra-Caro

The rector knew that there was little left to do. The knowledge exchange office was well-endowed. Professors were allowed to use it or go on their own. All departments showed a good balance between scientific excellence and technological support. The internal policy to recruit personnel with stays abroad had resulted in closer linkages with companies in the region. This is why she smiled when she listened to the telephone conversation between her old PhD supervisor and the firm manager.

-Not too far reaching, is it? –said the firm manager.

-Your productivity will rise by fifteen per cent –replied the professor.

-Absolutely. But we do not need university people to change the form of our machinery’s pieces.

Esperanza Roca, the firm manager, was aware that her company needed more than that to stand out in the toy industry. Her PhD in Physics had given her enough power of abstraction to solve problems on a long term perspective.

-It is good to be realistic –said the professor–. We are not talking about biotech here. You have a good niche around and your exports work fine. That is what is worth keeping.

Fulgor Sedano, the professor, had had many scientific awards, held enough directive positions at university and cooperated with a number of technologically advanced firms outside the region to know what he was talking about.

-If we do not risk something –continued Esperanza Roca–, we will do nothing but keep on following.

-Okay, I can then offer you lasers for your toys –joked Fulgor Sedano.

-That sounds fine.


Concepción Escribano, the rector, saw her old mentor a bit disturbed. He had called her to make her realise the current sense of superiority of some firm managers. Fulgor Sedano supported the idea that the trendy movement towards scientification of firms in traditional sectors was too rootless in the local culture and hence just a snobbish policy orientation.

-Can you apply harmless lasers in our superhero figures?

-Nobody knows.

-Let us find out.

-Are you going to pay for it?

-If you convince me how to start from…

Concepción Escribano wrote something on a piece of paper. She passed it to Fulgor Sedano. The professor could read the word ‘placement’ on the sheet. He resumed the telephone conversation.

-It is not only our facilities –he said to Esperanza Roca–. We would have to design from the very beginning how to incorporate possible results into your production process.

-I cannot see a contract that envisages the training your team would need.

-What about sending you a good PhD student?

-Do you have one already?

Concepción Escribano wrote on another paper a suggested time for lunch. Fulgor Sedano nodded and she left the room. ‘Well’, she thought, ‘there are things to do after all. People share the objectives. Now we have to understand the objectives.’

Article © 2009 Mr Joaquín M. Azagra-Caro. All rights reserved.

about the author...

Mr Joaquín M. Azagra-Caro

Mr Joaquín M. Azagra-Caro

affiliation:   JRC IPTS (European Commission)

position:  Researcher

country:  Spain

area of interest:  University-industry interaction

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