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The UPV-EHU - IKERLAN University-Business-Society Classroom is born to reinforce the Basque Country's capabilities in disruptive technologies

This initiative will offer students a specialised training framework in innovative technologies oriented to business reality and a subsequent transition to the labour market

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First publication date: 18/01/2024

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Josu Bilbao, Unai Viscarret, Aron Pujana, Ana Isabel Martínez, Ion Etxeberria, Eva Ferreira, Guillermo Quindós, Eduardo Jacob and Charles Pinto | Photo: Amaia Bolinaga.

The University of the Basque Country and IKERLAN have signed an agreement to promote collaboration in emerging research fields such as cybersecurity, robotics, artificial intelligence and quantum computing.

With the signing of the agreement between UPV/EHU and IKERLAN on Thursday 18 January, the UPV/EHU IKERLAN University-Business-Society Classroom was launched. The Rector Eva Ferreira and the General Manager of IKERLAN, Ion Etxeberria, signed the document.  

 

The ceremony was held at the IKERLAN facilities in Arrasate-Mondragón. The event was also attended by Guillermo Quindós, Vice-Rector for Scientific and Social Development and Transfer of the UPV/EHU, Charles Pinto, Director of the Bilbao School of Engineering of the UPV/EHU and Eduardo Jacob, Professor at the Bilbao School of Engineering and Director of the Classroom. They were accompanied by Josu Bilbao, Director of Digital Technologies and Artificial Intelligence at IKERLAN, Unai Viscarret, Director of Humen Resources and Communication, as well as Ana Isabel Martínez and Aron Pujana, from the Knowledge Department. Following the signing, they visited the laboratories at IKERLAN's headquarters in Arrasate-Mondragón. 

 

The purpose of this agreement is to enhance the scientific and technological capabilities of the Basque Country in emerging technologies such as cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, robotics, and quantum computing, among other areas of mutual interest. Electronics, energy, and mechatronics are complementary to the main areas of focus mentioned. The agreement also promotes the education and training of individuals focused on developing technological solutions for businesses, thereby enhancing students' employability. 

 

The agreement strengthens the existing collaboration between the technology centre, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2024, and the Basque public university. This collaboration involves the Bilbao School of Engineering, the Gipuzkoa School of Engineering, the Faculty of Computer Science, and the Faculty of Science and Technology. Since 2019, more than 35 students have benefited from this cooperation, and in 2023 alone, many more will enjoy its advantages. 

 

This collaboration framework aims to enhance the synergies between the university's training and knowledge generation efforts and the technology centre's promotion of talent and technology transfer to the business sector. IKERLAN intends to strengthen its collaboration with UPV/EHU by offering opportunities for students to participate in doctoral theses, master's theses, and final degree projects. The students will join IKERLAN's specialist teams, accompanied by internationally renowned research staff. 

 

Furthermore, IKERLAN provides students with access to demonstrators, equipment, and laboratories, such as DIGILAB (Spain's first digital technology integration laboratory), ENERGYLAB, or MECHLAB, which solve technological challenges in the fields of energy and mechatronics. The UPV/EHU-IKERLAN University-Business-Society Classroom has a multidisciplinary and flexible vision. It is the first virtual University-Business-Society Classroom due to the variety of venues where its activities take place. These activities include dual-format practices and the promotion of research by university students in IKERLAN laboratories. 

 

The UPV/EHU offers IKERLAN the opportunity to engage with its students, participate in master's and/or degree training, organise sessions or conferences of common interest, and supervise or direct doctoral theses. This collaboration aims to anticipate the challenges of industry and society in the coming years. Additionally, supporting chairs and various local projects is essential. Among them are those belonging to Elkartek 2024, a programme that aims to support collaborative research in strategic areas, whether fundamental or industrial research, within the framework of the Basque Science, Technology and Innovation Plan PCTI 2030. 

 

The UPV/EHU-IKERLAN University-Business-Society Classroom aims to lead cooperation processes at the European level. Currently, it is part of the Safe4rail3 project, which aims to revalue the railway industry. Transport is a crucial infrastructure for improving the quality of life of citizens on the continent, as well as promoting economic growth, job creation, and general prosperity. 

 

The rector of the University of the Basque Country, Eva Ferreira, stated that “this Classroom strengthens and solidifies the university's mission to provide high-quality education to its students in advanced scientific fields, including cybersecurity, robotics, artificial intelligence, and quantum computing. We have consolidated and cutting-edge research groups that form a perfect creative melting pot with companies such as IKERLAN, promoting synergistic research and knowledge transfer”. 

 

Ion Etxeberria has positively valued the agreement, stating that “it will strengthen and structure the collaboration that has been developing for several years with UPV/EHU, an internationally renowned university. This opportunity aims to attract talent as part of our strategy to care for and strengthen our internal staff. It also supports research in common areas of work that are crucial to the competitiveness of our business fabric, where synergies are essential”. 

 

About IKERLAN 

IKERLAN is a technology transfer centre that provides competitive value to the industry. It offers comprehensive solutions in three main areas: digital technologies and artificial intelligence, embedded electronic systems and cybersecurity, and mechatronic and energy technologies. Currently, the centre has a team of 420 people and offices in Arrasate-Mondragón, Donostialdea, and Bilbao. IKERLAN is a cooperative member of the MONDRAGON Corporation and the Basque Research and Technology Alliance (BRTA). IKERLAN's sustainable and competitive business model is constantly evolving. In 2024, the company will celebrate its 50th anniversary and remains dedicated to its founding objective: developing technology to enhance the innovation and competitiveness of companies in its environment.