When we reflect on the role of foundations within the scope of modern Science, we do so on the possibility of including new management forms for the complex activity revolving R&D&i.
Article 34 of the Spanish Constitution recognises “the right of foundation for purposes of general interest, in accordance with the Law”. Furthermore, article 53.1 of the Constitutional Text reserves for Law the regulation of the exercising of rights and freedom recognised in chapter two under Title I, including that of foundation, specifying that such legal regulations must in any case respect the essential content of such rights and freedom. (Act 50/2002, 26 December, Foundations. Explanatory Statement).
The foundation is an organisation holding a private legal status that is defined by its search, not-for-profit, for purposes of general interest in favour of a generic collective of beneficiaries. In its most genuine sense, it is always benefic or altruistic and responds to an essential idea that allows defining it as an organised social liberality or as organised liberality for a socially useful purpose.
Foundations promoted through private initiatives are backboned with a philosophy and principles revolving around the role of civil society to promote research and development of other activities.
Science gains great relevance, as knowledge has a direct impact on citizen wellbeing. From this perspective, it is advisable to consider the role to be played by the authorities and meaning of the alternative offered by civil society through the foundations.
Knowledge has a direct impact on citizen wellbeing
The authorities must assume their certain and clear responsibility in this field. However combined with public actions, which in the last decades has resulted in a considerable budgetary and structural advance that recently resulted in the creation of the State Research Agency (RD 1/2017, 13 January), there is a broad spectrum of involvement where civil society must play an essential role.
Our Constitutional framework is based on a personalistic perspective that conceives citizens at the heart of the legal-political system and not as a mere destination of it. In this sense, the public sphere and civil society appear related through a social theory that determines, as a trait of modernity, the increasing involvement and leadership of society in the public sphere. This relation is articulated, among others, through the recognition of the rights of foundations.
Therefore, foundations are an instrument at the service of a general purpose and serve it, commensurate with its possibilities, sharing the public sphere in terms of its nature, but from a legal-private structure that endows it of greater flexibility in terms of specific orientation of its activities.
Through this formula, the civil society can find an opportunity to give significance to its role as a driver or promoter of initiatives that deserve to receive recognition and support from the authorities that understand the general interest and enormous task that can be carried out in terms of training and scientific research, which is legitimate to all those that are ready to invest their time and efforts in it. All within the scope of a principle of social co-responsibility.
The cooperation that private entities provide to Spanish research, directly or through foundations, has contributed to notably improve R&D&i in Spain. The number and quality of our researchers has increased substantially and improved our scientific production, going from mere consumers of advances developed in other countries, to being notable producers of scientific knowledge.
Fundación GADEA por la Ciencia (RAE: Science: generic name given to the various branches of knowledge, especially those that focus their research in the natural or physical world or technology) emerges with the vocation to contribute from scientists, and therefore citizens players of Science itself, to its better and greater development at the service of society.
Those of us that commit to this cooperation formula, do so from the certainty that Science is an essential service to approaches and frameworks of a modern state that must be favoured by all, to benefit everyone.
Science is an essential service to approaches and frameworks of a modern state that must be favoured by all, to benefit everyone.
The scientific network is complex, involving the following players:
First, citizens, making research possible as a service thanks to their tax payments and must be informed of how they are used and the benefits returned collectively and personally.
Second, the public institutions, which must guarantee the resources, ensure their best use, organisation and coordination and return to citizens the knowledge and developments generated under the best conditions and under efficiency criteria.
Third, manufacturers, public and private, as well as suppliers of highly varied services derived from the scientific activity, which must guarantee their existence and accessibility under the best quality conditions and guarantee of usage.
Some of these developments include the various industrial sectors with a strong presence and entrenchment in Spain. Their objective is the production and services that contribute to increase, maintain or recover citizen wellbeing, to the level of emerging knowledge. This requires that the sector takes part in the research and generation of knowledge and transfer it to the production of treatments for illnesses, consumer goods, environmental care, energy generation and usage, locomotion, agriculture and food, etc. In other words, the industry must at all times favour knowledge transfer, innovation and the improvement of goods, services and equipment for the benefit of persons; while at the same time generating wealth and employment.
But there are other forms in which the industry cooperates for social benefit, directly or through cooperation with other public or private entities, such as research and knowledge dissemination, creating opinion forums and idea exchange, training, education and development of a citizen R&D&i support culture based on social certainty that there is no independent future and progress without it.
Based on this reasoning and with the certainty of being able to contribute through its activities to increase the development and advance of society, the objective of Fundación GADEA por la Ciencia is to channel and favour social and scientific cooperation initiatives in Spain.
Its general goals are to contribute to the advance and improvement of the Spanish Science, Technology and Innovation System, focusing on the role of researchers, universities, research centres and companies. In order to fulfil its purposes, the Foundation may carry out activities and programs related to research, training, publication, prevention, consulting, technical support and project financing, in all knowledge fields.
In order to turn the statutory tenets of Fundación GADEA por la Ciencia into a reality, we propose activities of recognisable high added value for the Spanish Science, Technology and Innovation System. The guarantee is ensured by the Board and the Scientific Advisory Council, which consist of person of the highest and qualified technical and intellectual level that respond to the best definition of the activities and their proper prioritisation and execution.
The vocation of Fundación GADEA por la Ciencia is to seek synergies with other organisations, from public or private sectors that from one or another perspective are committed to making Spain occupy, without further ado, the place it deserves in the world of Science.
Our challenge is to make all these ambitious objectives a reality in the upcoming years.