The UPC launches Connèxia, a new 360° programme to accelerate technology transfer to industry

Image of Connèxia UPC programme
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Connèxia UPC, the new 360° programme to accelerate technology transfer to industry

Deputy rector and assistant vice-rector for Transfer, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Josep Lluís Larriba during the presentation of the Connèxia UPC programmeConnèxia UPC director Jordi Martín explained how the programme will connect the best talent and cutting-edge knowledge at the University with companies.
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Deputy rector and assistant vice-rector for Transfer, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Josep Lluís Larriba during the presentation of the Connèxia UPC programme

Connèxia UPC director Jordi Martín explained how the programme will connect the best talent and cutting-edge knowledge at the University with companies.
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Connèxia UPC director Jordi Martín explained how the programme will connect the best talent and cutting-edge knowledge at the University with companies.

Left to right: deputy rector Josep Lluís Larriba; CIT-UPC director Antonio Álvarez; vice-rector for Transfer, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Climent Molins; president of the Board of Trustees Montse Guàrdia; Fractus CEO Rubén Bonet; rector Daniel Crespo; HR VP at Schneider Electric Luis Cabezas; and Connèxia UPC director Jordi Martín.
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Left to right: deputy rector Josep Lluís Larriba; CIT-UPC director Antonio Álvarez; vice-rector for Transfer, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Climent Molins; president of the Board of Trustees Montse Guàrdia; Fractus CEO Rubén Bonet; rector Daniel Crespo; HR VP at Schneider Electric Luis Cabezas; and Connèxia UPC director Jordi Martín.

On 27 October, the UPC presented the Connèxia UPC programme. Aimed at industry, it provides tailored collaboration to connect the University’s technological capabilities with the specific and strategic needs of the productive sector.

Dec 04, 2023

The new Connèxia UPC programme is based on a proprietary method of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya - BarcelonaTech (UPC). By leveraging the University’s technological, innovation and knowledge transfer capabilities, it explores companies’ needs, supports them in the innovation process and identifies new collaboration opportunities.

With this new programme, the UPC takes a step forward in the university-business relationship. It is conceived as the most suitable framework to have a comprehensive view of each case and, with a 360° approach, to connect companies with the best talent and cutting-edge knowledge generated at the University. It thus aims to enhance synergies with the innovation ecosystem revolving around the University.

On 27 October, the programme was presented at an event on the North Diagonal Campus. It was attended by rector Daniel Crespo; deputy rector and assistant vice-rector for Transfer, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Josep Lluís Larriba; Innovation and Technology Centre (CIT-UPC) director Antonio Álvarez; Connèxia UPC director Jordi Martín; Fractus co-founder and CEO Rubén Bonet; and HR VP at Schneider Electric Luis Cabezas

Rector Crespo remarked that “Connèxia UPC is born with the vocation of providing companies with a transversal view of the University, enhancing the value of knowledge from both sides. Ultimately, universities and companies share a common goal, which is job creation. There was a need for a single access point for companies to facilitate knowledge transfer, and that is what we have accomplished.”

Individualised support for each company
After identifying the needs of each company, the University develops a specific characterisation model determining the most suitable innovations. This will determine the most strategic and pressing solutions or services. Individualised support for each company will be provided by a person from the Connèxia UPC programme, acting as a key account manager. In addition to providing access to knowledge, the Connèxia UPC programme creates appropriate conditions to support R&D&I departments: the UPC offers them a range of scientific and technical services, as well as leading research laboratories and infrastructures to help them achieve a high level of excellence.

Furthermore, companies also benefit from the knowledge generated by research groups and centres affiliated with the University working on deep tech. Such disruptive technologies are essential to develop 5G/6G telecommunications, micro- and nanoelectronics, robotics, drones, VR, smart sensors and AI, to name a few.

Talent recruitment is at the core of Connèxia UPC, because it gives companies access to a pool of highly qualified graduates with diverse profiles. Specifically, the programme supports human resources teams and proposes initiatives of interest to students with a view to identifying the best talent and ideas, such as the best thesis prizes, hackathons to solve technological challenges, university-business forums, seminars and networking sessions.

Connèxia UPC also provides companies with other tools and mechanisms to facilitate innovation, promote the competitiveness of the productive sector and collaborate in joint entrepreneurship programmes through sponsorship or jointly organised activities. The programme grants direct and preferential access to the portfolio of marketable UPC technologies and the ecosystem of technology-based UPC start-ups and spin-offs.

Another relevant aspect of this UPC-company collaboration is that the University acts as a facilitator and partner in projects and consortia that receive substantial funding. This allows companies to participate in the development of ambitious R&D projects and participate in collaborative pilot projects.

The UPC method provides solutions based on pioneering research and assesses the level of maturity of the technology concerning commercialisation or application in industrial, innovation or business processes. It also evaluates the technology’s contribution to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

In terms of social responsibility, the UPC also offers companies the possibility to support actions and programmes promoting equal opportunities, STEAM vocations, cooperation projects and social volunteering.

Synergies with a long-term vision
The result is an alliance between the company and the University, in which collaboration becomes a global project with a significant impact on strategic business decisions. It enables a wide range of joint actions and initiatives related to education, talent, research, innovation and corporate social responsibility. The goal is to move beyond the traditional university-business relationship and create a bond as strategic partners with a long-term commitment.

Work in this direction is already underway with two comprehensive projects with Fractus and Schneider Electric. The first collaboration has led to the creation of Fractus-UPC Deep Tech Hub, dedicated to innovation in disruptive technologies. The agreement with Schneider Electric was signed on 27 October.

Revenue from projects with companies
The UPC is the leading Catalan university in knowledge transfer, entrepreneurship promotion, innovation driving and lifelong comprehensive technological training. In 2022, it secured €120 million for R&D+I projects. In the same year, it generated €81 million in revenue for this type of activity, €20 million of which correspond to knowledge transfer to companies.

Currently, the University contributes to generating 0.3% of Catalan GDP—for every €100 of public funding received, it returns €601.5 to society. It maintains relationships with around 3,000 companies, fostering innovation environments that drive Industry 4.0 or decarbonisation, among many other areas. It has over 1,900 ongoing agreements and research projects, and it registered 13 new patents in 2022. In recent years, it has fostered the creation of over 100 companies, with 41 spin-offs having UPC participation. In 2022 alone, 13 start-ups and spin-offs were created.

As a public research and higher education institution in the fields of engineering, architecture, sciences and technology, the UPC is one of the leading technical universities in Europe. Some of its distinguishing features are high-quality graduate employment, a strong position in top international rankings (including those assessing both innovation capacity and transfer) and the impact on the productive sector.

Further information

Companies interested in the Connèxia UPC programme should use the following contact details: