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Provincial Council and universities reinforce their collaboration to face the future challenges of Gipuzkoa

The General Deputy, Markel Olano, meets with the heads of the four universities to take stock of the trajectory of Etorkizuna Eraikiz.

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Provincial Council and universities reinforce their collaboration to face the future challenges of Gipuzkoa PHOTO: Communication Service
22/06/20 16:02 Communication Service

The general deputy of Gipuzkoa, Markel Olano, has held a meeting meeting with the heads of the main universities of the territory, including the following ones TecnunThe aim of the meeting was to take stock of the trajectory of Etorkizuna Eraikiz and to share the analysis of the lines of collaboration set up between the academic institutions and the Provincial Council. During the meeting, they have agreed to strengthen their cooperation to address the main social, economic and environmental challenges of Gipuzkoa, exacerbated in recent months as a result of the pandemic of COVID-19.

In addition to the deputy general, the deputy for the Environment, José Ignacio Asensio, and the head of Strategy, Xabier Barandiaran, participated in the meeting on behalf of the regional institution. On behalf of the Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea/University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), the rector Nekane Balluerka and the Vice President of the Campus of Gipuzkoa, Agustin Erkizia, attended; the University of Deusto was represented by its President, Jose María Guibert; from Mondragon Unibertsitatea, the President Vicente Atxa and the Vice President academic Jon Altuna participated in the meeting ; and finally, the School of Engineering of the University of Navarra -Tecnun- was represented by its director, Raúl Antón. The agreement will be in force for two years and the Regional Government will allocate more than one million euros for its implementation.

"Issues such as socio-labor inclusion, artificial intelligence, sustainable tourism, healthy aging, Big Data, intra-entrepreneurship or the future of the Basque language, among others, are unpostponable challenges that Gipuzkoa is addressing from collaboration, in the framework of the collaborative governance tool Etorkizuna Eraikiz", has placed the general deputy. In his opinion, in order to generate "local responses" to the "global challenges" that the pandemic has "accelerated and worsened", it is "essential" that both institutions and agents partner-economic "join forces" from "collective work and experimentation".

"Very important" contribution against COVID-19

"In this whole process, the contribution of the knowledge centers of our territory is essential", said Olano, who has valued "very positively" the contribution that the four universities, UPV/EHU, University of Deusto, Mondragon Unibertsitatea and Tecnun have been making when facing the challenges of the future of Gipuzkoa. "Without this advanced knowledge , as well as the innovative capacity and the talent they possess, it would be unfeasible to carry out the programs we have underway or to build a space for cooperative innovation such as Etorkizuna Eraikiz", summarized the deputy general, who took the opportunity to recognize the "extremely important" contribution that, from the university sphere, has been made to the fight against COVID-19 in Gipuzkoa and in the Basque Country as a whole.

The general deputy explained the relevance for Gipuzkoa of the renewal of the partnership agreement that the regional institution has with the four universities based in our territory. Etorkizuna Eraikiz is the main axis of a agreement thanks to which the academic centers will continue to develop research, analysis and knowledge dissemination linked to project. Likewise, the four universities have committed to participate, through experts core topic from their respective universities, in Etorkizuna Eraikiz Think Tank, the "community space for reflection and experimentation" that has been presented this week and that will bring together qualified representatives of the social and economic fabric.

For the deputy of Environment, José Ignacio Asensio, it is "more necessary than ever" the collaboration and participation of universities, to "articulate a way out" of the health and economic crisis that we are facing. "The term that will define the way out of the crisis is acceleration. In the last four to five years, we are endorsed by the track record of collaboration we have with universities, with which we have agreements, among others in the field of the climate crisis, ODS and Economics circular. What is required is that these processes are accelerated and, from the institutions, we have to put the appropriate rules and budgets to materialize them," he said.

Tecnun will work on the area of artificial intelligence and Big Data, which will be applied to the field of healthy aging. More specifically, work will be carried out on a project that aims to make different predictions related to the population over 65 years of age and dependents in the territory of Gipuzkoa, with the aim of using these predictions to ensure adequate care for this group of people. Likewise, the School will promote training and innovation actions linked to intra-entrepreneurship.

The director of Tecnun, Raúl Antón, has pointed out that for Gipuzkoa it is "a wealth" to have four universities at the service of society. "Etorkizuna Eraikiz is a great initiative of the Provincial Council in which we can align our research with the real needs of people. The Bioinformatics group of Tecnun will work with ITZE using artificial intelligence tools at the service of dependent elderly people with the goal to improve their quality of life. The School has been working for almost twenty years with BIC Gipuzkoa and Innovation Factory of the University of Navarra; through this renewal of Etorkizuna Eraikiz, we will continue to support intrapreneurship as tool to develop new business ideas in the companies of Gipuzkoa", he stressed.



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