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Standardisation, included in the new Science, Technology and Innovation Act

13/09/2022

The new Act 17/2022 on Science, Technology and Innovation, recently published in the Official State Gazette, introduces several amendments. Two of these are focused on technical standardisation. This is the first time that Spanish legislation on these issues explicitly establishes the connection between the development of standards, research and innovation. This aligns Spain with the European Union's recent Knowledge Valorisation Policy (2021), and puts us at the forefront of European countries in this regard.

The new section 36.5 of the Act recognises that the development of technical standards is a channel for the transfer of knowledge, at the same level as the marketing of patents, participation in entities based on knowledge or the creation of spin-off companies, consultancy contracts or technical assistance, and other mechanisms for collaboration between agents or for the dissemination and communication of research results. Furthermore, it considers it as a concept that can be evaluated for the purposes of remuneration and promotion of research personnel, such that it is considered in the selection and promotion processes and in the allocation of resources together with research merits.

This provides an important impetus for new knowledge, technologies, products and services to be aware of the benefits of standardisation and to have the resources to participate in it.

The second reference is established in the amended paragraph 1 of Article 33, whereby the financing agents of the Spanish Science, Technology and Innovation System will promote the active participation of public research and innovation agents to stimulate the generation of knowledge and its transfer, including measures for the use of R&D&I results in technical standardisation (standardisation).

This, which already had important precedents in the European programmes Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe, is now also opening up at national level, making it easier for the results of research and innovation to be valorised at the industrial and commercial level through the generation of new standards that facilitate and promote their use.

The reform of the law includes the role of R&D&I as the main instrument in the face of the global challenges facing society, linking the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, the needs of the State Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan and the fulfilment of the United Nations 2030 Agenda. To this end, apart from administrative and employment improvements, it assigns a major role to the transfer and valorisation of research results, which is crucial for them to have an effective impact on society. And this is precisely where the role of technical standardisation lies, the driving force of which in Spain is UNE.