• The agreement, signed today by the mayor, Juan Mari Aburto, and the managing director of IKERLAN, Ion Etxeberria, is the first step towards the growth and expansion of the technology centre in Bilbao.

The mayor of Bilbao, Juan Mari Aburto, and the managing director of the IKERLAN technology centre, Ion Etxeberria, have today signed a collaboration agreement for the opening of a new headquarters in the city at the municipal facilities located in the Auzo Factory in Matiko.

The event, which was held in the Arab Hall of the Town Hall, was also attended by Iñigo Ucín, President of the MONDRAGON Corporation, and Bixente Atxa, rector of Mondragon Unibertsitatea, among other representatives of the business group, together with Xabier Ochandiano, Councillor for Economic Development, Trade and Employment.

As the mayor said, the signing of this agreement means the installation and expansion in Bilbao of this important centre, a member of MONDRAGON and the BRTA (Basque Research and Technology Alliance), with a track record of almost 50 years and a team of research professionals of more than 400 people. The aim, he explained, "is to facilitate the arrival in our city of companies that contribute to enriching the city's economic fabric with innovation and talent, in such a way that we strengthen Bilbao's role as an attractive and competitive destination for investment, research and generating quality employment, above all among young people. Our aim is to help attract, retain and develop talent and we know that IKERLAN has all these incentives".

Technology projects in Bilbao

The new headquarters, which will house technological projects for both knowledge generation and transfer to companies in the specialised fields of digital technologies, energy and intelligent industry, is in addition to those that the centre currently has in Galarreta (Hernani) and in Arrasate-Mondragón (its central and historical headquarters).

For the general manager of the technology centre, Ion Etxeberria, the objective is twofold. “On the one hand - he said- we are seeking to strengthen collaboration and technology transfer to companies in Bilbao and the surrounding area, from a closer point of view". The centre currently collaborates with more than 60 companies in Bilbao and Bizkaia, mainly in the energy, mobility, manufacturing, electronics and ICT sectors (Ingeteam, Accenture, Iberdrola, Arteche, ArcelorMittal, Batz, Cikautxo, Maier, Osatu, ZIV Automation, Metro Bilbao, Bridgestone, Sener and Sidenor are examples of some of its clients) and has collaborated in the development of key infrastructures such as the Bilbao metro, Loiu airport and the Bilbao tram.

On the other hand, he explained that Bilbao intends to "promote the development and attraction of technological talent in collaboration with the main universities that carry out their activities in the city".

Every year, around 100 students from more than 10 universities are trained at IKERLAN, who constitute an important pool of talent for the centre itself and for the companies with which it collaborates. In 2022, IKERLAN incorporated 60 professionals to its staff, 30% of whom came from outside the Basque Country, acting as an important lever for attracting talent to the territory.

In this respect, he pointed out that, with the opening of its new headquarters in Bilbao, IKERLAN intends to take another step forward in its "mission to generate and transfer technology to companies, and to attract and develop talent, based on proximity and collaboration with institutions, business clusters, universities and research centres located in Bilbao".

Growth in Bilbao

The new headquarters will start its activities with around twenty professionals and it is expected that in the medium term IKERLAN will have a staff of around a hundred people in Bilbao, thus contributing to creating high added value employment and attracting technological talent to the city.

In addition, the centre will offer specialised training and organise events for the dissemination and diffusion of technology in areas such as cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, quantum computing and the technologies necessary for the energy transition, led by internationally renowned researchers. It will also contribute to strengthening the most advanced technological offer for technological companies and SMEs in Bilbao and the international technological projection of the city (IKERLAN is currently participating in 40 European projects together with international reference centres such as Fraunhofer or VTT, and is the leader in 10 of them).

In 2022, IKERLAN reached a total income of 28 million euros and has an ambitious Technological Specialisation Plan, which includes attracting 50 M€ for research projects in its three lines of specialisation until 2025.

IKERLAN's first headquarters in Bilbao will be located in the municipal facilities of the Auzo Factory in Matiko and aims to generate and transfer technology and attract and develop talent by collaborating with institutions, business clusters, universities and research centres located in the city.
Id Externo