The Sociedad para el Desarrollo Regional de Cantabria S.A., SODERCAN, part of the Ministry of Industry, Tourism, Innovation, Transport and Commerce, has launched a new line of subsidies for R&D projects in the agri-food sector, with a total budget of 200,000 euros.
The agri-food sector is a significant engine of the regional economy of Cantabria, with undeniable strategic value acting as a driver of economic growth in other sectors.
This new program of subsidies offered by SODERCAN for the agri-food sector aims to promote the modernisation and digitalisation of the sector, boosting competitiveness and supporting sustainable growth. The program provides the tools to address the environmental, technological, social and economic challenges faced by the sector in the short and medium term, contributing to the prosperity and social cohesion of Cantabria.
The new program will incentivise innovation in the sector by supporting individual experimental and industrial research and development projects to transform the agri-food value chain, improve competitiveness, sustainability, traceability and safety in the sector to meet the demands of the market and the technological changes these involve.
In Spain, the agri-food sector accounts for some 10% of GDP, characterised primarily by small and medium sized enterprises. Specifically, the food and beverage industry represents 25% of the entire manufacturing sector in Spain.
The subsidies program for R&D projects in the agri-food sector, part of the SODERCAN Strategic Subsidies Plan, is in line with the Spanish Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy 2021-2027, constituting the framework for research, development and innovation. The strategy is articulated in the National Scientific and Technical Research and Innovation Plan 2021-2023 and 2024-2027, while also contributing to achieving the Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
At the regional level, and in line with the Intelligent Specialisation Strategy of Cantabria (iCan 2020), the Ministry of Industry believes it is essential to foster business cooperation and interaction between the scientific-technology sector and Cantabrian companies to improve competitiveness.
This new line of competitive subsidies from SODERCAN for R&D+i projects is in addition to other specific programs of the public entity to incentivise innovation in other strategic sectors of Cantabria, such as automotive components or the ICT sector, and to support the circular economy in industry.
The regulations and guidelines of the R&D subsidies program for the Agri-food sector were published in the BOC (Boletín Oficial de Cantabria) on March 16th. The call was published in the BOC on March 30th and will be open until July 3rd. Applications should be submitted electronically through the SODERCAN Assistance Search Engine (https://ayudas.sodercan.es/ayudas)
The maximum subsidy available through the program will be up to 50% of eligible costs for industrial research projects, and up to 25% of eligible costs for experimental R&D projects, with the possibility of extension to a maximum of 70% and 45% respectively, according to the size of the company: an additional 10% for medium sized companies and an additional 20% for small enterprises.
To qualify for assistance, the R&D projects must involve a product or process developed by companies within the agri-food sector, or by companies in other sectors with projects aimed exclusively for application in the agri-food sector. Companies can receive subsidies for a maximum of two projects, with a total budget of between 30,000 and 150,000 euros.