IHCantabria receives the National Award for Innovation in Engineering “Leonardo Torres Quevedo” from the Caminos Foundation.

by | 22 Mar, 2023 | Awards, General News | 0 comments

Awarded to FIHAC in the category of “Public Administrations” in its 2nd edition, this award distinguishes those entities that have made innovation an indispensable element in the development of their strategy, demonstrating that innovation in engineering is a powerful lever for improving competitiveness.

The jury of this edition was composed, among others, by members of the board of directors and the board of trustees of the Fundación Colegio de Ingenieros de Caminos, Canales y Puertos and of the college itself (CICCP), heads of five State Secretariats (Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda; Environment; International Cooperation; Foreign Affairs and for Latin America and the Caribbean; and Education), the Secretary General of Universities and several Directors of Civil Engineering Schools.

Under the title “Fundación Instituto de Hidráulica Ambiental de Cantabria (FIHAC), paradigm of the knowledge industry in Spanish engineering”, the candidacy was headed by its vice-president and general director of the Institute, Raúl Medina Santamaría, professor at the University of Cantabria. Thus the foundation itself, since its formalization in 2007, is considered a unique experience of success in Spanish engineering, as it represents a tool for innovation and knowledge transfer in a framework of institutional collaboration, which stands out in several aspects:

  • As a model of “triple helix” innovation in the science and engineering industry: government – university – company, represented especially by the work of the Great Maritime Engineering Tank of Cantabria (GTIM/CCOB), belonging to the Spanish map of singular facilities of the Ministry of Science and Innovation. This innovative character allowed IHCantabria to be recognized by the EU as the only Spanish emblematic project financed with Cohesion Funds on their thirtieth anniversary.

  • As a model of positive impact on society, with the creation of cutting-edge tools, with the fundamental support of the Ministry for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge or the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda. Among others, the SMC (model for coastal management used internationally) or the development of methodologies for the design of submarine outfalls, both recipients of the National Environment Award; the methodologies for calculating the risk of coastal erosion and flooding in the face of climate change; or the developments in marine renewable energies, also recognized in 2022 with the award of the Wind Energy Business Association (AEE).

  • As a management model, based on cooperation between public-private actors and on the capacity for self-financing at rates that have reached over 90%.

  • As a lever for the internationalization of Spanish engineering, with the execution of more than 1,200 projects in 67 countries, with more than 90 public entities and administrations and more than 250 companies from all over the world, with the support of agencies such as the AECID or financed by multilateral organizations such as the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the Andean Development Corporation or the African Development Bank.

In the words of Raul Medina, “innovation is our daily work, as we try to generate innovative products and tools to serve society”. In this sense, he says, “innovation is part of our DNA, of our way of being, of our way of feeling”.

The awarding of the Caminos Foundation prize comes at the end of 2022, which was already special because it was the 15th anniversary of the creation of IHCantabria itself and because its scientific director, Professor Íñigo Losada, was awarded the Leonardo Torres Quevedo National Research Prize by the Ministry of Science and Innovation for his scientific career in the field of engineering.


The Award

The biennial Leonardo Torres Quevedo National Award for Innovation in Engineering was instituted by the Colegio de Ingenieros de Caminos, Canales y Puertos and the Fundación Caminos. In its previous and 1st edition in 2020, it was awarded to Adif in the category of Public Administrations.

The Award, of an honorary nature, is presented at a ceremony along with the other Awards granted by the Foundation, with the dual purpose of remembering the group of professionals who left their mark and to serve as a spur for emerging generations.