Support for innovation from the Local Government: the example of “Valencian cities network for innovation”

Mr. Jose Benlloch Fernandez
Mayor of Vila-real City, Spain

By Mr. Jose Benlloch Fernandez, Mayor of Vila-real City, Spain.
For the most advanced modern societies, the promotion of knowledge is a key element to guarantee their development. This attitude necessarily translates into support, reinforcement and resolute promotion of Science and Innovation, which implies a reconfiguration of the productive model, and which will result in the future improvement of the competitiveness and strenght of the territory.

This is a task of huge proportions in which all public, private and civil society agents must be involved, in a different but concurrent way, working to achieve this final purpose, which is none other than to contribute to the change of the productive model towards a sustainable economic and social model, based on knowledge and innovation.

The achievement of this objective requires, among other aspects, the development of effective public policies in the development of the culture of innovation, which necessarily translates into great efforts and collaboration between the different administrations, as well as scientific, technical and industrialization and the generalization and dissemination to society of this knowledge, technologies and capabilities. This last step is crucial to make possible a society more conscious and participative.

An innovative territory must be a sustainable territory also, that uses Technology, information and creativity to improve the quality of life, the operational efficiency of urban services, and competitiveness, ensuring that it meets the needs of present and future generations in the econòmic, social and environmental aspects.

The Local Government, which traditionally has not been so closely linked to the chain of classic agents of R & D & I, is at the moment a key actor in the materialization of innovation processes in the territory. The ability to transform the productive sectors through knowledge and technology takes place primarily at the local level, where our municipalities can become authentic connectors, real catalysts for a change.

Being aware of this challenge, and due to our need to contribute to the structuring the Valencian territory and to the transition towards a dynamic, inclusive and generating employment economy of quality and wellbeing, the “Valencian cities network for innovation” was born, a Network formed by 12 Valencian cities recognized by the Ministry of Economy as Cities of Science and Innovation, which are: Alcoi, Alfa del Pi, Almussafes, Alzira, Gandia, Gata de Gorgos, Ontinyent, Salinas, Torrent, Valencia, Vila-real, and Villena.

The purpose of this Network is to recognize and promote the actions of local governments in matters of Science and Innovation, fostering collaboration among the cities belonging to the Network, improving their innovative potential and serving as a model for other municipalities to contribute to the change of the productive model towards a sustainable economic and social model, based on knowledge and innovation.

We must not forget the local councils acting as dynamic key agents of a local environment, close to the citizens and industrial fabric, and qualified interlocutors to dialogue with the rest of administrations. The purpose of this Association is to create a permanent network, willing to continue adding more and more Valencian cities, which demonstrates that the change of model has already begun and that in this new paradigm the local administrations will play a decisive role.

Keywords: innovation, local knowledge, Local Government, social innovation,


I was born in Vila-real, in the province of Castellón, in 1974. From a very young age, during my highschool Years, I came into contact with my political vocation, convinced that it is the best tool we have to transform and improve the world that around us. With this idea of social justice, I obtained my Bachelor of Laws at Jaume I University, in Castellon, a degree that has provided me with many positive aspects and that I was able to study thanks to scholarships and jobs that I combined to help with the household income.
I specialized in Civil Law and Criminal Law and worked for 12 years as a lawyer, an exciting profession that I will resume as son as my term ends. I consider myself an entrepreneur. For three years, I developed my profession as a lawyer in the field of international trade and collaborated with a multinational company, which allowed me to work in several countries around the world.
In the political sphere, I am the Mayor of my city, Vila-real, a position that I have the honor to carry out since 2011. I have been vice president of the Valencian Federation of Municipalities and Provinces and a deputy in the Valencian Parliament, as well as a spokesperson for the Socialist Party in theCastellon provincial government. Currently, I have the pleasure of presiding the “Valencian cities network for innovation” association, a network constitued bythe 12 Valencian cities recognized by the Ministry of Economy as Cities of Science and Innovation. The aim is for local administrations to promote Science and Innovation as well as collaboration among the cities of the Network, and to serve as a model for other cities to contribute to the change of the productive model towards a sustainable economic and social model, based on knowledge and innovation.


Nací en Vila-real, en la provincia de Castellón, en 1974. Desde muy joven, en los años de instituto, entré en contacto con mi vocación política, convencido de que es el mejor instrumento del que disponemos para transformar y mejorar el mundo que nos rodea. Con esta misma idea de justicia social, estudié Derecho en la Universitat Jaume I, en Castellón, una carrera que me ha dado muchas satisfacciones y que pude estudiar gracias a becas y a trabajos que fui compaginando para ayudar a la economía familiar.
Especializado en Responsabilidad Civil y Derecho Penal, he ejercido durante 12 años como abogado, una profesión apasionante que retomaré cuando acabe mi etapa política. Emprendedor y trabajador siempre por cuenta propia, he desarrollado también mi carrera profesional en el ámbito del comercio internacional, durante los tres años en los que colaboré con una empresa multinacional, lo que me ha permitido trabajar en varios países del mundo. Hablo castellano, valenciano, mis lenguas maternas, e inglés a nivel avanzado.
En el ámbito político, soy alcalde de mi ciudad, Vila-real, cargo que tengo el honor de desempeñar desde 2011. He sido vicepresidente de la Federación Valenciana de Municipios y Provincias y diputado en las Cortes Valencianas, además de portavoz del Grupo Socialista en la Diputación de Castellón. En la actualidad, tengo el placer de presidir la Xarxa Valenciana de Ciutats per la Innovació, una Red formada por las 12 ciudades valenciana reconocidas por el Ministerio de Economía como Ciudades de la Ciencia y la Innovación con el objetivo de impulsar las actuaciones que en materia de Ciencia e Innovación realizan las administraciones locales, propiciar la colaboración entre los ayuntamientos pertenecientes a la Red, mejorar su potencial innovador y servir de modelo a otros ayuntamientos para contribuir al cambio del modelo productivo hacia un modelo económico y social sostenible, basado en el conocimiento y la innovación.

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Special Issue


  • Ministry of Energy, Mines, and  Sustainable Development
  • L'economiste - daily newspaper
  • Energies Environnement Mag
  • Faculty of Science - Rabat
  • Mohammed V University
  • IEEE Morocco Section
  • University of Abdelmalek Essaadi
  • Solar Cluster
  • ISES - International Solar Energy Society
  • emi
  • giz
  • masen

Important dates

Late Submission Deadline October 10, 2018
Notification to authors October 22, 2018
Final version due November 08, 2018
Registration deadline November 08, 2018
IRSEC'18 Conference Dec., 5-8, 2018