• The boost in the area of technology transfer to companies, which had a turnover of 1.5 million more than the previous year, consolidated the centre's leadership in this field.
  • One of the milestones of the year was the creation of a Market Unit, with the aim of reinforcing technology transfer to companies.
  • The Arrasate-Mondragón centre has defined an ambitious research plan in which it will raise 50 M€ up to 2025.

2021 was a complex year for the economy and one that the IKERLAN technology centre managed to overcome in an "outstanding" way, with a total income of 25 million euros and a significant increase in its income in the area of technology transfer, which has grown by 12.5 % compared to 2020, reaching 12.4 million euros in income from transfer activities. These results were announced during IKERLAN's annual assembly, held today in person. As well as approving last year's accounts, the centre presented its new Technological Specialisation Plan, an ambitious research plan in which it aims to raise 50 M€ by 2025 for the development of new technological capabilities and infrastructures.

In the words of Ion Etxeberria, managing director of the entity, "2021 has been a very positive year, since, despite the pandemic has continued to affect us, we have achieved an outstanding result with record turnover, a growth based on the impulse of the transfer to companies, although the research area has also performed well, thanks to the strong support of the Administrations and the success in competitive calls for proposals". Etxeberria also highlighted the consolidation of the team, with "the incorporation of 17 new members", and the effort made "to meet the objectives of both incorporation and transfer of talent to companies".

Transfer in cutting-edge sectors

Overall, in 2021 IKERLAN had a turnover of 25 million euros, 4 % more than in 2020, when it reached 23.8 million, even exceeding the figures achieved in the years prior to the pandemic. One of the highlights of the past year was the figure of 12.4 million euros earned from transfer activities – 1.5 million euros more than in 2020 - with companies in cutting-edge fields such as cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, robotics and industrial automation or electrical energy storage. This figure represents 50 % of its global turnover and means an increase of 12.5 %  in this area compared to 2020.

The main sectors of activity of the centre have been transport and mobility (32 %), advanced manufacturing (26 %) and energy (17 %), with a portfolio of customers as relevant as ORONA, CAF, ULMA or LAULAGUN in the nearest environment, as well as multinationals such as General Electric, Airbus or Nestlé. Throughout the year the centre has collaborated with more than 140 companies (50 % of them SMEs) in more than 400 projects.

Additionally, IKERLAN obtained revenues of 12.3 million euros from the Administrations to continue strengthening activities to attract and develop technology, with a view to its subsequent transfer to companies. 26.2 % of this income came from programmes promoted by the Basque Government, 19.2 % corresponded to initiatives promoted by different European institutions and the rest of the funding, 6 %, came from projects financed by the General State Administration, the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa and the MONDRAGON Corporation.

Market Unit creation

Another of the most important milestones of the year in IKERLAN has been the creation of the Market Unit, which aims to strengthen the transfer of technology to companies, collaboration with start-ups and service to its customers. The transfer of technology to companies is IKERLAN's main hallmark and the mission for which it was created in the mid 1970s by the MONDRAGON Corporation. The creation of this Unit is a further step along this path. "We want to strengthen our proximity to our customers, offer them the best service and continue to be their technological reference point to accompany them in their main technological challenges", said Ion Etxeberria.

In the case of start-ups, IKERLAN aims to participate in the launch of new initiatives aligned with its technological commitments and to collaborate with existing companies; this is the case of the technology centre's alliance with MULTIVERSE COMPUTING, a company that is acquiring special relevance in the field of quantum computing and with which IKERLAN is already collaborating to bring this technology to the industrial field.

An ambitious Research Plan

On the other hand, in 2021 IKERLAN has defined its new Technological Specialisation Plan (PET2025). An ambitious research plan, in which it aims to achieve 50 million euros by 2025 for the development of new technological capacities and infrastructures. The main objective of the Plan is to consolidate the centre's position at the forefront of science and technology in its areas of specialisation. To this end, it will focus on the areas of specialisation in which it already has an important recognition and positioning, such as digitalisation, automation and energy management.

"In this context, in autumn, we will inaugurate the  Advanced Laboratory of Digital Technologies, framed within the AZPITEK project, which will have approximately 2000 m2. In this laboratory we will develop research and transfer projects in cybersecurity, 5G communications, artificial intelligence and automation and robotics, all technologies that will greatly improve the competitive position of the centre and the companies that collaborate with us," said Ion Etxeberria.

About IKERLAN

IKERLAN is a leading centre in technology transfer and in the contribution of competitive value to industry. It offers integral solutions combining different technological domains in two main areas: Electronics, Information and Communication Technologies (EICT), and Energy and Mechatronics. The technology centre's team is currently made up of 380 people. As a co-operative member of the MONDRAGON Corporation and the Basque Research and Technology Alliance (BRTA), IKERLAN maintains a sustainable, competitive business model in permanent transformation. IKERLAN currently has the following accreditations: ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management System, UNE 16600:2014 R&D&I Management System and ISO 27001:2013 Information Security Management System. This is recognition of the excellence of the centre in the field of R&D&I.

In 2021, IKERLAN's income from research and transfer activities increased by 4 % and the centre reached its historical maximum of 25 million euros.