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Artur Mas: "Catalonia can aspire to be to Europe what Massachusetts is to the USA"
Coinciding with the noteworthy presence of Catalan companies and organizations at the top global biotechnology convention, held in Boston (United States) from 19 to 21 June, President of the Government of Catalonia Artur Mas and Governor of Massachusetts Deval Patrick signed a collaboration agreement to establish a formal framework for relations between Catalonia and this US state.
The agreement prioritizes bilateral research in technological and industrial innovation and in the economic development of key productive sectors (life sciences, renewable energies, information and communication technology, advanced manufacturing and infrastructure), as well as academic cooperation. Biocat and ACC1Ó are on the peer committee to monitor the actions carried out over the coming years.
Institutional relations between Catalonia and Massachusetts began in the nineties, with a memorandum of understanding.
Massachusetts is one of the most dynamic territories in the world in the fields of science, academia and innovation. During his time in Boston, Mas presented Catalonia as “the driving force behind the Spanish economy and one of the driving forces for Europe.” To demonstrate this fact, the President remarked, “more than half of the Spanish companies at the BIO Boston 2012 convention are Catalan”, a figure that “would have been unthinkable ten years ago.”
Catalonia accounts for 16% of the Spanish population (7,364,078 inhabitants according to the 2008 census), 20% of the country’s GDP and 30% of its exports. Regarding one of the most significant emerging sectors, biotechnology, Catalonia is home to 1 in 4 Spanish companies and employs 30,000 people.
Governor Patrick highlighted the “strong compatibility” between Catalonia and Massachusetts and ensured that “these collaborations generate real power. We would like to be as dynamic as Catalonia, as optimistic as the Catalan people.” He also noted that both territories, along with Israel, with whom they have a pre-agreement that was signed late last year, prioritize “innovation, education and infrastructure”, among other arenas, “contributions the Government can make with help from the private sector, which end up generating jobs.”
Visit to BIO Boston 2012
After signing the agreement, the President of the Government of Catalonia went to the BIO Boston fair, where he visited the booths of Catalan companies and organizations. This was the sixth consecutive year that Catalonia has been present at BIO, with a total of 72 companies and organizations and more than 100 delegates, all coordinated by Biocat.
For the first time, Spain has the most important international pavilion at the fair, of which Catalonia made up more than 60%, ahead of countries like Brazil, China, India and Russia.
The 2012 edition of BIO closed with more than 16,500 delegates from 65 countries, 2,000 exhibitors and 2,900 companies and 25,291 partnering meetings, a record for the convention.
The President of the Government of Catalonia also attended the presentation of the Catalonia Life Sciences Report 2011 by Ernst&Young and the Catalan reception organized by Biocat (and sponsored by Amgen), and visited the Werfen Group Instrumentation Laboratory and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where Catalan scientists work.