“Opportunities should be given to regions that have never had public state institutions. Decentralization strengthens our territories and improves the conditions of equality and structuring.” This is an explanation that comes from the Secretary of State for Digitization and Artificial Intelligence (SEDIA), but is general government policy. The executive has decided to facilitate the opening of elections for headquarters of national organizations outside Madrid. It started with high technology: it is his will that the Spanish Artificial Intelligence Supervisory Agency (AESIA) and the Spanish Space Agency (AEE) be the first in a new wave of institutional decentralization. The goal is to have both operational in the first half of 2023.
“Spain is a huge territory and of course there are many cities that will present their candidacy. If there is one message that should be clear, it is that Spain is not empty: Spain is full of talent and municipalities with great potential for development and growth.” , sources from SEDIA, which manages the AESIA location, reveal to the media. Granada is very interested in hosting him. Cities such as Teruel have submitted their official candidacies as space headquarters.
Isabel Dias Ayuso did not like this initiative and considers it an attack on the community she leads. “It is not known where it will go, what yes that it will hurt Madrid. There is an ecosystem of companies, university and FP around this industry. It is like the destruction of clockwork: the decapitalization of Madrid is outrageous,” he said, referring to AEE.
This media consulted several experts in the space sector and the artificial intelligence industry, and the general feeling is that “Madrid or Barcelona are not affected by these agencies going to other areas, they have already established industrial fabrics”. “Undressing a saint is not dressing someone else,” says Tomas Martínez Buero, president of the AI Network, an association of professionals specializing in this technology.
“Of course, it’s much easier and more convenient to be in Madrid for everything. But technology can be an engine of growth and I think it’s positive that other areas will also benefit from it,” he continues, speaking to elDiario.es.
An agency that will supervise products based on artificial intelligence, similar to the control of other organisms on food or medicine, is a project in which Spain will be a pioneer. On the other hand, the Spanish Space Agency is an institution that the sector has argued for years and it did not gain real momentum until the astronaut Pedro Duque supported it as Minister of Science.
In this case, the sector agrees that the most important thing is the creation of the agency, not where it is located. “At PLD Space, we are convinced that the work of the future Spanish space agency will be optimal, regardless of the city it ends up settling in,” Raul Verdu, co-founder of this startup that wants to be the first launch company. Satellites established in Spain. “Our activities take place simultaneously in different parts of the country (Elche, Teruel and Huelva). We are used to working decentralized,” he adds.
“I like networked and networked countries,” Jordi Hereu, president of Spanish space giant Hispasat, said in June. “Your role in promotion and coordination can be done from many points in Spain. Wherever you are, it will be fantastic,” he added at the Economic Journalists’ Association conference covering the Valencia Plaza.
The two agencies with which the government has begun the process of withdrawing national organizations from Madrid and Barcelona are from the technology sector. This plays a crucial role in its two main challenges: attracting skilled professionals and promoting the creation of an industrial fabric around it that will benefit from the presence of the organization and these professionals.
There is precedent for both agencies that leaves some lessons. The National Cyber Security Institute (Incibe) was founded in León in 2006 under the presidency of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, a native of the city.
This media contacted two well-known voices in the Spanish cyber security sector, who say that their presence in León does not negatively affect the work of the institution, but also that their presence alone is not enough to turn the city into a specialized technological hub.
“The fact that it’s far from Madrid doesn’t have a big impact on the age of video conferencing,” explains one expert, who asked not to be identified so as not to damage their relationship with the body. “Some employment is created. In the case of Incibe, instead of creating permanent positions, some employees are subcontracted. There is a lot of mobility, it is more like a career, where many people who are fresh from university and end up elsewhere are trained,” he continues. The same expert .
Undoubtedly, the main thing that Inbib has failed to live up to is the creation of an ecosystem around it. According to a search engine for his own cybersecurity company, Leon does not have a representative. “Beyond Incibe… there is nothing else,” regrets consulting both specialists.
In addition, they warn that new agencies may face other challenges stemming from their technological nature. “We are talking about a field where you can work remotely without any problems. In fact, many professionals are going to request to work remotely, so as not to reduce the preference or favor towards less favorable communities or cities,” the same sources recalled. .
“A broader strategy is needed. It’s not just an institution, it’s accompanied by an innovation center and a pretty strong university. I’m thinking, for example, of Malaga,” asked one of the cyber security specialists consulted. that the two new agencies have greater influence in their fields than Incibe. The hub, which functions as an incubator for talent and startups, together with a training center specialized in this field, is a combination that has worked very well both in the capital of the Costa del Sol and in other cities such as Valencia.
The government has published a series of requirements in both processes to ensure the viability of the facilities and their territorial impact. In the case of the space agency, among the criteria the advisory panel will consider is that the site has an extensive network of public transport access, particularly high-speed rail, and is less than an hour away. international airport. These factors have led to Teruel’s claims being worse than other applicants such as Sevilla. Up to 20 candidates are expected, among which León, Huelva, Puertollano (Ciudad Real) or the Canary Islands have applied.
For the AI Oversight Agency, the executive requires that “the city has an AI-supportive ecosystem,” such as having a reference training center up front. “Given its role as a European policy focus, the quality of its relationship with other leading AI countries will also be assessed. They must have the appropriate infrastructure and equipment to carry out the activities related to the agency and, of course, be ready to produce and receive multidisciplinary talent,” SEDIA sources said.
Source: El Diario