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Technology transference

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Promotion of communication technologies in Catalonia and the Basque Country are compared

Words like innovation, interaction and 2.0 have ample repercussion today. Ms Mentxu Ramilo has presented a thesis at the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), in which she investigated the strategies of both Catalonia and the Basque Country Autonomous Community in socialising these concepts.

28 april 2010

Ms María Carmen Ramilo Araujo
The information society and the knowledge society are concepts which are currently fashionable. They describe a society which has made a commitment to innovation and interaction using the Internet and other information and communication technologies. The concept of the information society (1.0) refers to the infrastructure of these technologies - the quantity; while the knowledge society (2.0) to the socialisation of this infrastructure - the quality. Ms Mentxu Ramilo believes it to be essential to create suitable strategies to foment both concepts and she has investigated those of both Catalonia (the Generalitat Government) and of the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country (Euskadi). Her thesis is entitled Public policy, government bodies and the various players involved in promoting the information society and/or the knowledge society: a comparative analysis of Catalonia and Euskadi.

To carry out this study, Ms Ramilo evaluated the networks of public policy that foment the information society and the knowledge society in Catalonia and Euskadi. With this in mind, she looked at the attitude of government bodies as well as the participation of other, non-governmental players and the interaction amongst all of these.

Down up and up down

Ms Ramilo concluded that there are differences in strategy between Catalonia and Euskadi, above all regarding the make-up of the network of players involved in the design and application of these strategies. In Catalonia, there are more non-governmental players taking part in the design of strategies that seek to boost the information society and the knowledge society. Moreover, this network is new, having been created within the remit of the Department of Universities, Research and the Society of Information of the Generalitat (Catalan Government). This is a down-up operation, i.e. there exist numerous players working from a rank-and-file level to design strategies. However, when they try to execute these strategies, government institutions limit their intervention.

On the other hand, in Euskadi, the network is much more hermetic and hierarchical, given that the strategies are designed by government bodies and others that have always been involved in science and technology. Nevertheless, when executing these strategies, they open up to other players and, thereby, non-government participation is greater than in Catalonia in this second phase.

These differences have an impact on developing strategies, as Ms Ramilo concluded. In short, the Catalan down-up model guarantees plurality and is more flexible when modifying strategies, while the Basque one is more hermetic, although the relations are more solid and efficacy is prioritised over innovation and plurality. According to the author, new examples are needed that ensure a balance between the two tendencies.

Deficits in coordination

As regards the future, Ms Ramilo concluded that there is room for improvement, both in Euskadi and in Catalonia. To start with, today both Communities give more importance to strategies for fomenting the information society rather than the knowledge society, i.e. they are more concerned about developing infrastructure and resources than the socialisation of the same.

She has also pointed to the importance of continuity and coherence, and highlighted the lacunas in this regard. For example, according to the author, the strategies of Catalonia depend on the legislature and there is also a lack of coordination between all these players involved in working at a rank-and-file level. In Euskadi, on the other hand, it is inter-governmental coordination that fails, given that the level of agreement is scant. Apart from continuity and coherence, as a challenge for the future, she mentioned, amongst other things, the guaranteeing of plurality and participation, having commitment, defining goals and rejecting electioneering.

About the author

Ms María Carmen Ramilo Araujo (Vitoria-Gasteiz, 1976) is doctor in Political Sciences and Government Administration. She undertook her thesis under the direction of Professor Jacint Jordana Casajuana of the Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona and Francisco José Llera, professor at the UPV/EHU. She defended her thesis at the Department of Political Sciences and Government Administration of the Faculty of Social and Communication Sciences (UPV/EHU). She currently works as an instructor at the Technological Barnetegis (in-service training centres) fomented by SPRI. In undertaking her thesis, she worked with the Pompeu Fabra University of Barcelona.

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