Spanish science and technology parks contribute to the country’s recovery by generating more jobs and investment in R&D&I during 2021

  • Employment in the companies and entities of APTE member science and technology parks increased by 2.5%, while investment in R&D activities increased by 3.4%

More than fifty managers of Spanish science and technology parks, members of the Asociacion de Parques Cientificos y Tecnologicos de España (APTE) (in English, Association of Science and Technology Parks of Spain) met in person at the Parque Balear de Innovacion Tecnologica (ParcBit) (Balearic Technological Innovation Park) in Palma, as part of the 20th International Conference of the Association, to discuss how to contribute to a more flexible and sustainable economic model, and where the main activity data of the entities located in the Spanish science and technology parks for the year 2021 were announced. 

Statistical data

Employment in the parks has grown by 2.5% compared to 2020, which translates into 189,039 employees, of which 38,223 are people specialized in research and development (R&D) tasks.  

The return to the new normality after the pandemic has been noted with a 2.2% growth in the number of companies installed in APTE’s partner parks and an increase in their turnover. APTE member parks closed last year with a total of 8,145 companies and entities installed in their facilities and a turnover of 28,004 million euros, 2.8% more than in 2020.

The ranking of productive sectors where the parks have the highest number of companies is still led by the ICT sector with 27% of the companies, followed by the Engineering, Consultancy and Advice sector with 23% and the Medicine and Health sector with 8%.

With regard to R&D activities, these continue to play an important role in the overall activity of science and technology parks. During 2021, the parks accumulated an investment in activities of 1,284.70 million euros, 3.4% more than in 2020.

A total of 634 new companies have been registered, including companies set up within the parks and companies installed. In addition, 748 companies run by women have been registered. These data were provided by 41 parks, i.e. 17% of the companies in these parks. On the other hand, 849 companies have stated that they have equality plans in the 36 parks that have provided data in this respect, which represents 21% of them.

The Directorio de APTE 2022 (APTE 2022 Directory) has also been presented, which includes the most relevant information of its member parks, with the main details of their ecosystems, infrastructures and services.

20th International Conference

The 20th APTE International Conference, held today at ParcBit to coincide with its 20th anniversary, has warned of the need to act from science and technology parks and their territories to promote new opportunities towards a more sustainable economic model oriented towards knowledge, diversification and resilience.

The event began with a welcome from the Councillor for European Funds, Miquel Company, who emphasized that ParcBit is one of the key players in the development of the new economic model that the Government of the Balearic Islands wants to promote. For his part, the president of APTE, Felipe Romera, reflected on the importance that, given this new scenario in which we find ourselves, the parks are able to determine what role they are going to play in key elements such as digitisation, sustainability and teleworking, in order to continue growing and attracting talent.

The inaugural conference was given by Carles Manera, historian and economist, who emphasized the value of human capital and intangible investments in the new vision of the economy, as well as the role of technology parks and districts as tools for diversifying the economy, taking as an example the case of ParcBit in the Balearic Islands.

Toni Ballester, CEO of Grupo Estel Ingenieria y Obras; Jose Mañas, CEO of Wireless DNA; Santi Camps, CEO and founder of Mabrian and Joan Perello, CEO of Sanifit, shared their experience and agreed on the importance of social, cultural and administrative change to strengthen the knowledge economy and offer greater support to business projects that are committed to a true diversification of the economy.

Likewise, Sonia Verde, head of the Technology Park of Asturias; Carmen Crespo, territorial delegate of CentreBit Menorca; Maria Terrades, director of the Barcelona Science Park (in Catalan, Parc Científic); Elisabet Jorda, director of the UPC and XPCAT Park, gave relevant presentations on the role that science and technology parks must assume in the face of the numerous challenges that arise, as well as the need to get closer to the companies in their ecosystems in order to offer them valuable services.

The event was also enriched by the international vision of Justyna Adamska, Deputy Director of the Poznan Science and Technology Park (Poland) and Faruk Inaltekin, CEO of Bilkent Cyberpark (Turkey), who presented the work they are doing to attract talent and companies to their ecosystems.

The conference ended with the award for the best practice in science and technology parks in 2022, which went to La Salle Technova Barcelona for its ‘Scale-up champions’ initiative, to Malaga TechPark for ‘Por talento digital’ (‘For digital talent’) programme (runner-up) and to Espaitec, Parc Científic i Tecnologic de la Universitat Jaume I de Castelló (runner-up) for the ‘Innovation Camp’ practice. On the other hand, the award for the most active parks in the Technical Network during 2021 went to Parc Científic i Tecnologic de la Universitat Jaume I de Castello.

Furthermore, diplomas were awarded to the science and technology parks celebrating their 20th anniversary: the Parque Balear de Innovacion Tecnologica (ParcBit) (Balearic Technological Innovation Park), the Parque Cientifico – Tecnologico de Almeria (PITA) (Science and Technology Park of Almeria), the Parque Tecnologico Walqa, Ciudad Politecnica de la Innovacion (Walqa Technology Park, the Polytechnic City of Innovation) and Aeropolis, Parque Tecnologico Aeroespacial (the Aerospace Technology Park) of Andalusia.

After the awards ceremony, Antoni Roig, Manager of the Fundacio BIT, accompanied by the president of APTE, Felipe Romera, presented the flag to the organiser of the next International Conference, the Science and Technology Park of Tenerife. The flag was collected by Enrique Arriaga, vice-president of the Cabildo de Tenerife and president of the Science and Technology Park of Tenerife.

APTE – Asociación de Parques Científicos y Tecnológicos de España

The Asociación de Parques Científicos y Tecnologicos de España (in English, Association of Science and Technology Parks of Spain ) ( was created in 1989 as a non-profit association whose main objective is to collaborate, through the promotion and dissemination of science and technology parks, in the renewal and diversification of productive activity, technological progress and economic development. It currently has 62 member parks spread throughout Spain. 52 of them are Member parks, i.e. fully operational, 1 is an Affiliate park that is in the process of development, 1 Honorary Member and finally 8 Collaborating members. In 2019, these parks hosted 8,130 entities with a turnover of 29,907 million euros. These companies provide employment to more than 178,535 people, 37,217 of whom are engaged in R&D work.