Chapter 5

Spain, Plug and Play



The classes in the programme are proving very interesting and, above all, participatory. It’s as if we were all learning from one another, and I like that. I think it’s vital that we get to know the models and systems of other countries, and strengthen ties to foster mutual support in research. My colleagues and I have been fantasising, imagining that in future we’ll be working together on an international project.

Ineborg, our teacher, surprised us yesterday with a game in which we discovered our countries’ most important R&D&I companies. Almost as if we were taking part in a TV competition, we formed teams and Ineborg, like a television presenter, bombarded us with questions that had several valid answers, arranged according to importance. We established a ranking of the most cutting-edge companies in each country, according to sectors and to their importance on a worldwide scale.

Ineborg, our teacher, surprised us with a game in which we established a ranking of the most cutting-edge companies in each country according to sectors.

I was proud to see so many leading Spanish companies, such as Abeinsa, Acciona, FCC, Isolux Corsán, OHL, Scyr-Vallehermoso and Técnicas Reunidas. And they are all among the fifty most important companies in the world.

Spain is a leading designer and developer of high-speed trains — we have the world’s second largest network. Even the first underground connection between continents which involves the construction of an undersea railway and vehicle tunnel —the Marmaray project in Turkey — is being built by a consortium leaded by OHL and participated by Dimetronic.

01_POSTS_#05_02In areas such as infrastructure, industrial engineering and construction engineering, many Spanish companies are involved in significant projects developed in over eighty-five countries, and manage approximately 40% of the licences issued for large transport operations around the globe. That’s saying a lot! In this sector, my team took the lead thanks to the knowledge I had newly acquired during the preparation for this programme. First I displayed my knowledge when I spoke of ADIF, Indra, OHL, Renfe and Talgo companies involved in the project of building the Meca and Medina high-speed trains; Sacyr-Vallehermoso, involved in the Panama Channel project; and Abertis and Ferrovial, that manage a dozen airports in different countries. I even came up with some curious information, such as the fact that the construction project of the underground for the Turkish capital Ankara is Spanish!

I was proud to see so many leading Spanish companies among the fifty most important companies in the world in areas such as infrastructure and engineering construction.

In the field of technologies, I had the chance to speak of Spanish involvement in certain air-traffic control systems, such as those developed by Indra; and of related areas such as booking centres, where the Spanish program Amadeus features prominently.

Spanish companies lead the construction and management of wind farms and in wind turbines manufacturing. The international reputation of firms like Iberdrola is reflected in many projects as the offshore wind complex East Anglia in the North Sea.

01_POSTS_#05_03Repsol, along with Técnicas Reunidas, was high up in the ranking of oil industries; in sectors related to pharmaceutical research, with companies such as Grifols, and in the field of energy, particularly renewable energy and wind power, with Acciona, Gamesa and Iberdrola, Spain is actually a leading power.

Last but not least, Telefónica featured as one of the leading telecommunication companies, operating in twenty-five countries.

The ICEX Spain Trade and Investment helps Spanish companies on their international expansion.

At the end of the ‘contest,’ to conclude each student had to defend why his or her country would be a good place for foreign investments. In my coda I provided certain information, such as the fact that there are 12,800 foreign companies in Spain that employ over 1,2 million people — 6.6% of the total population, and that, as previously mentioned, the country boasts a number of leading companies in important sectors.

At the end of the play, to conclude each student had to defend why his or her country would be a good place for foreign investments.

My account proved interesting to several colleagues, who asked me about the possibilities of moving to Spain to work. As for me, I’m still not sure in which area I’d like to specialise, but I am discovering numerous opportunities in the Spanish companies described. Mm … it really is difficult for me to make up my mind.

Oh, and I’ll let you guess the winning team …

Yes, you do! You guess right! Spain was at the winning team. And yes, you’re right, once again the secret trick behind such a success was my notebook. Find all the answers in the official information about ‘Which are the Spanish leading companies on R&D&I?’ I’ve drawn up.