20th February 2015

Orkestra-Basque Institute of Competitiveness, the Institute of Competitiveness of the Catholic University of Uruguay  (UCU) and the Uruguayan Ministry of Industry, Energy and Mining will work together on the design of an Innovation and Smart Specialisation Strategy, which will guide industrial and key innovation policies to be driven in the next few years in order to generate new economic activities, future employment and wellbeing in Uruguay.

Orkestra, which has an active role in the European Commission's projects on smart specialisation and works on the construction of an smart specialisation strategy for the CAPV, will support the Uruguayan Institute of Competitiveness in carrying out this project.

The work is framed within the agreement signed by these three institutions with the aim of collaborating in common interest fields such as science, technology and production, both locally as well as regionally, nationally and internationally, including the exchange of experiences and knowledge in territorial competitiveness.

Susana Franco, researcher at Orkestra, will be the project coordinator. Working alongside will be Mari Jose Aranguren, Orkestra's general director and associate profressor at the University of Deusto; Miren Larrea, researcher at Orkestra; and Mikel Navarro, researcher at Orkestra and Professor in Economics at the University of Deusto, who is also currently a member of the Mirror Group of the Smart Specialisation Platform of the European Commission. For their part, Roberto Horta, general manager, and Luis Silveira, researcher, of the Institute of Competitiveness of the Catholic University of Uruguay will work with Orkestra’s team from the other side of the Atlantic. Both have given their doctoral thesis under Orkestra's guidance and know the philosophy and work carried out within the institute.

In the words of Susana Franco “the importance of creating processes of this type comes out of the recognition that each territory must build development strategies that are based on its strengths, keeping in mind the demands of the global market. It is not about replicating what others are doing, but about investing smartly, in such a way that each territory can specialise in those areas in which synergies with the existing productive capacities are present. In Europe this debate has been structured around smart specialisation strategies, but the principles on which this concept is based are also relevant for Latin America”.

The agreement signed with the Uruguayan institutions is in line with the internationalisation strategy that Orkestra began in 2012 and which pursues the sharing of knowledge and skills with different international bodies that work on the promotion of competitiveness and the development of their regions. Mari Jose Aranguren, Orkestra's general director, highlights that the signing of this agreement opens up the possibilityof applying the knowledge, methodology, processes and analysis in matters of competitiveness that Orkestra creates in the Basque Country in other contexts such as that of Uruguay and of contrasting each and every case with the aim of making progress in the competitiveness of the territories”. She also adds, “it allows for the creation of new home-grown abilities with the same players who operate in Uruguay, who can have a long-term impact, not only in the case of this particular project, but also in future collaborations that may arise”.

In addition to the aforementioned agreement, along these lines Orkestra has just signed a collaborative agreement with the Alberto Hurtado University in Chile, and during 2015 hopes to sign an agreement with the Maule Centre of Competitiveness (Chile) in order to work on a project similar to the Uruguayan one.