Champions of cooperation - Igor Campillo, among the 33 most outstanding people in the world in university-industry collaboration.

2021/03/19 22:00:00 GMT+1

Although universities and industry working closely together are the drivers of innovation, it is PEOPLE who are the most crucial factor in transferring knowledge and innovation between institutions, mobilizing resources, triggering organizational change and making a difference in their regions.

Igor Campillo, executive director of Euskampus Fundazioa recognized as a champion of university-industry collaboration, as reflected in the 33 selected in the "Spanning Boundaries Agents Between Academia & Industry" list. María Saiz Santos, PhD in Economics and Business and director of the Master's Degree in Entrepreneurship and Business Management of the UPV/EHU, has also been awarded in the selection.

At a time when university-business cooperation is more relevant today than ever, it is crucial and at the same time challenging to witness how science and business come together to face social challenges. Breaking down these internal and external barriers in organizations to achieve a commitment to collaborative innovation involves the co-creation of alliances that in turn generate solutions to the pressing problems of our current reality. Spanning Boundaries agents break down internal and external barriers in organizations in order to achieve a commitment to collaborative innovation.

Now more than ever, it is necessary to "span the boundaries" between these institutions, which is why the Erasmus+ Knowledge Alliance project "Spanning Boundaries Development Program" was created. It aims to empower and enable university and business professionals to contribute more to the economic and social development of the region by providing them with knowledge, support and closer engagement with each other and their environment.

The vocation to cross borders requires living in two different worlds at the same time, which means that there are many different opinions, objectives and expectations to be taken into account. Therefore, frontier work is not trivial, as the road to success consists of hard work and many setbacks, but that is precisely what makes the victories all the more valuable.

Among the characteristics that define a spanning boundaries champion are: persistence, endurance, resilience, tenacity, excellent communication skills and an entrepreneurial mindset, as well as the attitude of never giving up in the face of adversity.

“We must break the binary logic between business and university with something that, deep down, everyone understands, because we are all part of the same society”.

In the words of Igor Campillo: "A boundary spanner is someone who works to transform the relational framework between organizations to achieve the common good", people are needed who are capable of making universities, companies and other agents think and act with a broader perspective, moving away from transactional models towards others that allow collective responses that transcend particular interests to be agreed upon.

Among the reasons why the director of Euskampus Fundazioa has been selected are the following:

  • Design of the NanoBasque strategy to help the competitiveness and diversification of companies in the Basque Country (2008-2015);
  • Development of the strategic plan for the Technological Institute linked to the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Deusto;
  • Design and implementation of the Campus of International Excellence (CIE Euskampus) composed of the University of the Basque Country, the Tecnalia Corporation and the Donostia International Physics Center; 
  • Creation of the 4GUNE Cluster, made up of faculties and engineering schools from the four different university centers operating in the Basque Country, to better respond to the needs of companies.


Igor Campillo, PhD in Physical Sciences, believes that Knowledge has been crucial. Although Igor had a theoretical background, he evolved towards a more applied knowledge during his professional life. His multiple working relationships with multidisciplinary teams made it possible to expand his knowledge of business development and project management through his professional experience.


In Igor Campillo's words, some decisive factors for the success of the projects are to have a diverse previous experience and a good multidisciplinary team that adds value to the projects developed and a transversal training. The multidisciplinary profile of the Spanning Boundaries agent requires "a multifaceted profile that facilitates the establishment of relationships at different levels and with different people and entities". In addition, Igor suggests the application of a systemic approach. Boundary spanning activities should not be seen from a transactional approach, but from a perspective of co-creation of value between all participating agents.

The list 'Spanning Boundaries Agents Between Academia & Industry' has been compiled by the University Industry Innovation Network-UIIN (The Netherlands), a network dedicated to the future of higher education institutions and their impact on society.

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