• It will be devoting these resources towards reinforcing its staff and improving its infrastructure and equipment
  • It will be focussing its activity on three major areas of expertise: Electronics, Energy, and Advanced Manufacturing
  • Over 60% of the centre’s activity comes from contracts with companies

The IK4-IKERLAN R&D centre will be investing 10 million euros to consolidate itself as one of Europe’s R&D benchmarks. It will be devoting these resources towards reinforcing its staff and improving its infrastructure and equipment over the coming four years. This is one of the main figures that has emerged from the Ikerlan 2020 strategic plan, which has just been passed by the centre to cover the next four years during which it is aiming to exert a decisive impact on the modernising of its business environment.

“We are now one of the leading players in the area of innovation in the Basque Autonomous Community, but with the Ikerlan 2020 strategic plan we want to go a step further and be a key component in the modernisation of the Basque economy,” explained the centre’s CEO Marcelino Caballero.

Right now, over 60% of IK4-IKERLAN’s research activity comes from direct contracts with companies. “Every day we strive to help our customers be more competitive, and that is why we are aiming to drive forward our R&D capability, professionalism and quality of service even further over the coming years because these factors set us apart and help us to be the best R&D ally of our customers,” added Caballero.


One of the keys anticipated in the Ikerlan 2020 plan to tackle the challenges that the centre will have to face in the future is the reinforcing of its capacities through the specialisation of its staff and talent capture. “Over the coming years we will be making a special effort to collaborate with universities to capture and train people in order to consolidate a staff of over 300 employees. This means a 20% increase in the staff up until 2020,” highlighted the CEO.

“Our customers expect a response of significant value from IK4-IKERLAN and this is something that is built using the talent and training of the people that make up the centre,” argued Caballero.

Areas of Expertise

The first step that has been carried out in line with the Ikerlan 2020 strategic plan has been to reorganise the centre in line with the guidelines set out in the Basque Autonomous Community Science, Technology and Innovation Plan (PCTI 2020). This plan is being promoted by the Government of the Basque Autonomous Community and pays particular attention to the strategic priorities of smart specialisation (RIS3). To achieve this, a decision has been made to focus efforts on three lines of expertise: Embedded Electronics and Software, Energy and Power Electronics, and Advanced Manufacturing.

These are technological domains regarded as critical for the development of the Basque business base because of the impact they will be having on economic growth and on the competitiveness of industry.

With this expertise strategy the centre will be endeavouring to respond to a situation in which there are many opportunities but where competition is increasingly greater. This is forcing the various players in the sphere of innovation to be constantly at the cutting edge of the technologies they work with.

“We will be focussing on our R&D commitments with a view to increasing the critical mass in the lines of work in which we are already benchmarks in the Basque Autonomous Community and, in this way, we will be able to compete in the Champions League of European R&D&i,” said Caballero.

Specific plans are also expected to be implemented to reinforce IK4-IKERLAN's presence in Europe; the aim is to improve the securing of funding for R&D&i, expand the collaboration network with other organisations devoted to research, and achieve top-level technology surveillance in the specified areas of expertise.

The centre has already set off down this path because in the last three years it is has increased its income from the Framework and Horizon 2020 programmes fourfold. This income amounted to 2.4 million euros in 2015, and the intention is that it should top 4 million by 2020. What is more, the centre has signed collaboration agreements with prestigious European universities; this will intensify the exchange of knowledge with cutting-edge organisations and will further the training of the centre’s members.


IK4-IKERLAN is a leading centre in technology transfer, in the expertise of its researchers and in providing companies with competitive value. It offers comprehensive solutions by combining various technological domains. This is possible owing to its high degree of expertise in three major areas: Embedded Electronics and Software, Energy and Power Electronics, and Advanced Manufacturing. Right now, it has a staff of approximately 250 people.

The centre has approved its new strategic plan Ikerlan 2020 that will be guiding its activity over the next four years
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