The new framework established in Europe with the announcement of Horizon 2020, the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation in the European Union planned for 2014-2020, and the Research and Innovation Strategy for Smart Specialisation (RIS3) for countries and regions, governing investments in the cohesion policy of the EU for this period, emphasised the bet that Andalusia has been carrying out in recent years. The goal is to consolidate its main sectors and productive centres in order to further advance its development and specialization based on knowledge, innovation and efficiency.

One of the Andalusian priorities for smart specialization strategy is the focus on advanced industries related to transportation, particularly in the aerospace industry. The Government of Andalusia has launched major steps in the last decade to strengthen the industrial centennial history of Andalusia and place it as the third aeronautical cluster in Europe. From the location of the FAL of A400M aircraft, the creation of Aerópolis, the only Science and Technology Park in Europe dedicated to the aerospace industry, to the launch of a Aerospace Engineering degree at the university, passing through the establishment of the first Andalusian Tier One or the significant financial support for the business sector and the development of new technology initiatives.

As I had the opportunity to say a few weeks ago in Brussels, at the celebration of the Open Days organized by the Committee of the Regions and the Directorate General of Urban and Regional Policy of the European Commission, Aerópolis has been a good example of the implementation of Smart Specialisation Strategy at local and regional level in Andalusia for over ten years. The data prove what I said: over 75 companies that currently work and share synergies in the same technological enclave, which billed more than 850 million Euros and employ 4,440 people. We are also witnessing productivity even above average Andalusian sector and increasingly investments in R&D and in areas called to lead aerospace innovations of the future.

But this success should not satisfy us, but to keep working this way and placing Andalusia as a world leader in aerospace and smart and sustainable specialization processes in Europe. We should turn Andalusia into a role model for other economic sectors and boost the opportunities for technology transfer and knowledge. This is our commitment and we will continue putting all our efforts in it.

Joaquín Rodríguez Grau

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