The Minister of Economy and Finance, Carlos Fernández Carriedo, the Mayor of Salamanca, Carlos García Carbayo, and the Professor of Artificial Intelligence at the University of Salamanca, Juan Manuel Corchado Rodríguez, have presented the project to develop an International Innovation Pole for Video Games and Animation in Salamanca.

Carlos Fernández Carriedo, Juan Manuel Corchado Rodríguez and Carlos García Carbayo during the presentation of the project

The development of the Videogames and Animation Innovation Pole is endowed with 2.5 million euros, which the Castilla y León Regional Government approved in the Governing Council on 21 December, and which will enable the technological ecosystem to be promoted as an environment of excellence in the field of technological innovation and in the development of projects of this type in videogames and animation.

This initiative will also contribute to the promotion of entrepreneurship and open innovation in the sector by providing the support services required for the consolidation of companies and entrepreneurs. The Videogames and Animation Innovation Pole comprises four action-driven programmes, namely:

  • The Innovation Programme, which will involve the implementation of a project development lab, the development of a generative AI engine and a platform for the development of collaborative animated projects.

  • The Training Programme, which will deliver workshops and micro-credentials and a scholarship and internship programme.

  • The Vertical Accelerator Programme, which will develop a technology observatory and support services for video games and digital animation.

  • The Galvianisation and Communication Programme.

Juan Manuel Corchado explained the motivations and development of the International Innovation Pole for Videogames and Animation at the Salamanca City Hall facilities

Protocol for the Economic Promotion of Salamanca

The promotion of innovation in the video game and animation sector is part of the initiatives included in the Protocol which aims to promote Salamanca as an axis of development for the Community, taking advantage of its strategic location, through a scientific model based on knowledge, logistics, the bio-health industry and the green economy, drawing on the talent found in the universities and research centres.

The Protocol, whose signing was presided over by the President of the Junta de Castilla y León, Alfonso Fernández Mañueco - between the Junta, the City Council, the Provincial Council and the University of Salamanca, with the support of the Chamber of Commerce of Salamanca and the AIR Institute Foundation - was signed on 15 October 2021 and provides for an investment of 67.4 million euros over four years, of which the Junta will contribute 43%.

The Salamanca City Council has stressed that the creation of this Innovation Pole is part of the Salamanca Tech strategy to position the city as a technological and innovation benchmark in Europe, generating wealth and employment opportunities in the city. The transfer of R&D to the productive sector allows to promote the development of new companies born from academic projects with innovative potential, so that young people can pursue their professional and personal plans in the city.

The University of Salamanca, for its part, will develop innovation processes that are key to the project. It will also be in charge of training at all levels. One of the most important aspects of the project is the call for scholarships and internships in companies, with 20 to 30 scholarships per year to be awarded to students in their final years of undergraduate and postgraduate studies, as well as recent graduates and employees. It is estimated that by the end of the project some 80 people will have received training through these grants.

In addition, workshops, micro-credentials, as well as on-site and online programmes will enable a hundred people a year in each modality to acquire knowledge of the latest developments in video game development and animation, from advanced 3D modelling to facial animation and the design of virtual worlds.

Finally, in the transfer of knowledge, the project includes an observatory of trends and technologies and a programme of support, assistance and galvianisation of start-ups, thereby also promoting the video game industry.

This initiative is also included in the Research and Innovation Strategy for the Smart Specialisation (RIS3) of Castilla y León 2021-2027. The development of the 'International Video Games and Animation Hub' corresponds to objectives 2.1 -Develop and maintain capacities for smart specialisation- and 2.3 -Encourage and support entrepreneurship and intra-entrepreneurship in R&I-. The Entrepreneurship and Innovation Strategy of Castilla y León 2027 also includes, among its measures, the development of entrepreneurial vocations and vertical accelerators.

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