Innovation is gaining strength in the Spanish economy as a whole. According to data from the National Institute of Statistics (INE) Spain has recorded three consecutive years of investment growth in RDI, and a higher rate of growth than nominal GDP.

Turnover in high and medium-high technology companies was up 6.2% in 2017 and Spanish exports increased by 8.5%.

Source: INE.


Advantages to investing

in Spain’s RDI ecosystem


Tax deductions and subsidies for RDI activities


Surge in open innovation, led by major corporations


Growing innovation ecosystem: increase in patent registrations


Favorable environment for contracting talent: Social Security contribution discounts


Secure environment for intellectual property protection


Leader in use of open data 

More than 180 startup accelerators and incubators

Support in forming and establishing startups from both the public and private sectors is apparent from the start in business accelerators and incubators. There are over 180 infrastructures of this type throughout the Spanish territory that offer advice and support for entrepreneurs.


Open to

business innovation

The Spanish market is very receptive to business innovation.

According to the 2019 European Innovation Scoreboard, Spain scores high in sales impact/sales of new-to-market and new-to-firm innovations, which measures the turnover generated by new products and products that rank second in Europe. 

Business has catagorically contributed to R&D, with an 8.2% increase in investment. Substantial investments by multinational companies established in Spain account for 38.4% of total business assets. Public investment is recovering, and last year saw a 3.3% increase. 



Get to know what the Spanish ecosystem has to offer.

Research Talent

Spain has talent devoted to innovation. In 2017 215,713 people participated in R&D activities in Spain, 133,195 of whom were researchers. This represents an increase of 6,500 over the previous year, when R&D investment by companies was up 8.3%.

Favorable environment for hiring talent

Spain provides a favorable environment for hiring talent, by offering companies a 40% discount in Social Security contributions for common contingencies to all research staff that work exclusively on RDI during the time they are at the company.

Researchers / Total

Date: 2017

Data: 133,213 people


Employee staff / Total

Date: 2017

Data: 215,745 people


What we can do
for your startup



the Starting up in Spain Guide

All you need to know about the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Spain.



Rising Up in Spain

Our softlanding program for foreign startups.

Find out more


Leaders in Europe

Spain ranks fourth among countries in the European Union that receive European funds destined for innovation projects. Private funding has also practically doubled.


As a result of Spain’s leadership in science and innovation in Europe, the country has received 43 million euros in projects financed by Horizon 2020, and is the first country to win these grants in the last two resolutions.

Source: Ministry of Science and Innovation

Aids and incentives


Spain has an advantageous tax system for RDI thanks to tax deductions established by law for this type of activity, which is an incentive that multinationals rate highly when setting up their RDI in the country (Multinationals for the Spain brand, Barometer of the Business Climate in Spain, Nov. 2018). The importance of SMEs in RDI private investment is especially noteworthy.

Find out more

Public subsidies for RDI:


The Center for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI) offers a wide range of subsidies and loans for technology projects at competitive interest rates.


The National Innovation Company (ENISA) funds SMEs with up to 1.5 million euros in participatory loans with no guarantee required.


The public organization RED.ES promotes programs to foster the digital economy, innovation, entrepreneurship and support for SMEs by encouraging the efficient and intensive use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).


The Ministry of Science and Innovation is responsible for promoting scientific and technical research, development and innovation, with various programs focused on R&D.



Invest in Spain/ICEX has a program that supports foreign companies with up to 200,000 euros for investments with a large compenent of R&D, through a competitive biding procedure. 



The Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) is the largest public institution in Spain devoted to scientific and technical research, and one of largest in the European Research Area. It is affiliated with the Ministry of Science and Innovation through the General Secretariat for the Coordination of Scientific Policy. Its mission is to promote, coordinate, develop and disseminate scientific and technological research with a multidisciplinary focus in order to advance knowledge and economic, social and cultural development, and to train staff and advise public and private entities in these areas.

We finance
your R&D project in Spain



the European Union Funding program Horizon 2020

An aids and incentives guide for R&D projects.



Smart Technology Fund

Investment program for foreign companies in R&D activities.

Find out more


of Smart Technology Fund
See testimonials

OP Technical Center SL

Joaquim Antao Commercial Manager

Extremely comprehensive support that offered excellent assistance in an R&D project from beginning to end (studies, validation, product start-up). This support is also adapted to up-and-coming and recently established companies.


Mikel Larrazabal Head of Finance

This was a very important subsidy for a novel line of research and development that enabled us to begin the commercial promotion of the use of PIHER products for the medical sector.

The spanish request for patents in Europe

The request for patents (Units)


The OEPM is renowned for streamlining its processes and for facilitating online registration of trademarks and designs through its website.

This has resulted in four consecutive years of increases, according to the OEP's 2019 Annual Report. The study indicates that this increase confirms a clear upward trend in patent requests from Spain, much higher than the average for the 38 member states of the European Patents Office, which was 3.8% in 2018.

The request for patents filed by Spain at the European Patents Office (OEP) was up 6.3% in 2018 compared to the previous year.

Leader in

open data

Spain is the second leading European country in open data after Ireland, according to the Open Data Maturity in Europe 2019 on

For the fifth consecutive year, Spain is noted for having an advanced open data strategy with 90% capacity.


The website also positions Spain as a model for good practices in open data in its Analytical Report 13: Open Data best practices in Europe’s Top Performers (April 2019).


The consulting company Capgemini Invent also ranked Spain second in its “Open Data Maturity Report in Europe in 2019”.


Open Data Maturity 2018
Scores per dimension, Top 3 Performers

open-data-maturity-2018.png Intellectual and industrial property


IMAGEN_ESTABLECIMIENTO.jpg icono-establecimiento.png
More information
Setting up a company

The different ways in which a company can operate in Spain.

impuestos-e-incentivos-bg.jpg icono-impuestos-e-incentivos.png
More information
Aids and incentives

System of subsidies and incentives for your project.

talento-bg.jpg icono-talento-blanco.png
More information

Get to know the Spanish talent pool for your project.

visados-bg.jpg icono-visados.png
More information

Visas and residence permits to live and work in Spain.