Un tostador 2.0

Relato presentado al concurso literario #cuentosdeNavidad organizado por @zendalibros y patrocinado por Iberdrola

“Y con todo mi amor
te regalo un tostador
para que los magos de Oriente
cuando al pan hinquen el diente 
se piensen que es mazapán
¡y no vayan contracorriente!”

– ¡Qué bonito! jeje…ya me ha costado encontrar el sobre, menudo paquete soy.
– Bueno, tampoco se oía muy bien. La conexión no va muy ‘pallá’ hoy.
– ¿Qué has dicho?…Mikel… ¿me oyes? mierda…se ha cortado… ¿hola?
– ¿Sara? te llamo ahora…esto es una mierda…
– ¿Hola? Ahora sí…parece que ahora va.
– Buf…cada día lo llevo peor eh, cuando me estás hablando, te empiezo a oír entrecortada y se congela la imagen…me entra una mala hostia…
– Bueno, piensa que Skype ha salvado nuestra relación, sino llega a ser por él…
– Sí, sí, totalmente…cuando esto se acabe les voy a hacer una donación o algo.
– Ojalá, sí, pronto…además, tengo que estar ahí para ir comprando cosas para la casa poco a poco…que no me fío de ti jejeje.
– Te espero y compramos el regalo juntos, aunque estoy pensando que igual ahora mismo es más urgente un exprimidor.
– Vale, tengo que empezar a mirar vuelos y cuadrar fechas, calculo que en febrero un ‘finde’ largo.
– Perfecto, bueno guapa, que esto no va bien, hablamos pronto y gracias por el pedazo regalo, aunque lo de contracorriente no queda muy bien jejeje.
– Ok, jejeje… ¿ha estado bien, verdad? quiero decir…hemos estado a gusto en Navidad, casi no hemos discutido, hemos estado con amigos, familia…aunque han sido pocos días los hemos aprovechado bien.
– Sí, sí…de puta madre.
– Y ahora hasta la siguiente…se me hace duro Mikel.
– Ya…a mí también…pero es lo que hay. Tienes que currar Sara, coger experiencia, seguir buscando y al final llegará tu momento y te saldrá una oportunidad aquí.
– ¿Tú crees?
– No me cabe la menor duda.
– Si no se la pido a los Reyes.
– Pues también.
– Bueno guapo, gracias por los ánimos. Hablamos luego, ¿vale? un beso.
– Eso es, un beso y ánimo con el día y la vuelta.
– Beso.
– Beso.

Basques head to polls in regional elections

For AP Television (Wikono, 25 September 2016)

The 2016 Basque parliamentary elections were held on 25 September to elect the 11th Basque Parliament. The 75 members were elected in districts located across the three Basque provinces (Biscay, Gipuzkoa and Alava) of the Autonomous Community of The Basque Country. The election’s date was set up a month ahead of schedule by the current Lehendakari (Basque Prime Minister) Iñigo Urkullu from the Basque Nationalist Party (Partido Nacionalista Vasco – EAJ-PNV). The reason claimed by the Lehendakari to advance the elections was to avoid as far as possible the block and climate of instability in national politics due to the difficulties in forming a government after holding two Spanish general elections in a row. In a domino effect, the regional elections in the Spanish Autonomus Community of Galicia were held simultaneously.

Video in Spanish.

Grow2Build – developing sustainable transnational business models

Article published in European Commission’s (DG REGIO) website (For European Service Network – ESN)

The EU-funded Grow2Build project worked on the transition from an oil-based economy towards a bio-based model within the North-West Europe region (NWE) through the promotion of flax and hemp as building materials.

Grow2Build worked on the remaining bottlenecks in the production and supply chain of locally-grown hemp- and flax-based building materials to develop a sustainable and profitable bio-business across Netherlands, United Kingdom, Belgium, France and Germany.

“ Hemp- and flax-based building materials offer an innovative perspective on sustainable growth and jobs with proven advantages in the field of greenhouse gas emissions and health. While cooperation in the product chain is essential for promotion purposes, to create and encourage market demand, demonstration initiatives should be used for both knowledge transfer and education.”

John Verhoeven, Grow2Build Project Manager

The project focused on developing an interregional and transnational supply chain for hemp- and flax-based biomaterials by providing information and guidance to encourage collaboration among all relevant stakeholders. Sharing best practices and the latest innovations, the project also sought to optimise the cultivation and processing techniques to improve the overall performance of the materials.

Developing new business models through cooperation

Despite the suitability of the NWE region for cultivating hemp and flax, the project has faced numerous challenges, including the need to involve different actors in creating new business models. To identify bottlenecks in the production chain, Grow2Build held several meetings and carried out surveys among farmers, industrial actors and stakeholders. The findings have been summarised in a policy paper with ten recommendations aimed at policy-makers for the stimulation of bio-based building materials. Also, a ring test has been carried out to improve the processing of hemp and flax and a label catalogue and brochures have been published.

Other outputs include six pilot schemes in cooperation with SMEs and private companies to improve the cultivation and development process of hemp and flax through innovation. These have resulted in a more comprehensive understanding of the behaviour of various products, the release of market-ready products and further investment. Grow2build has also developed a centre of excellence based at Brunel University, which acts as a research hub in the field of hemp and flax construction materials. The centre offers an online and physical database of existing resources and samples. It also includes an online interactive map (GIS tool) with an overview of all flax and hemp initiatives conducted in the NWE region.

2016_09_20_regio_standard2704_grow2build_mobile-exhibition-tool
A mobile exhibition tool presenting Grow2Build as the environmental alternative to existing building materials. © BASBOUWEN.BE

Promoting and raising awareness of the production of bio materials

A key part of Grow2Build’s success has been the knowledge sharing and promotion of the production, use and potential of flax and hemp building materials. This has been possible through open innovation events organised by stakeholders, as well as exhibitions, study trips and workshops across the NWE region. In particular, an Airstream was converted into a mobile exhibition tool to provide information about the complete chain of hemp and flax for building materials.

Grow2build has also established a network of different actors, including architects, building contractors, public administrations and stakeholders to share knowledge and explore future collaborations. The project has benefitted farmers who received support for growing hemp and flax; processors, manufacturers and retailers who ensure the quality of the products; and the builders who use the materials.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “Grow2Build – Local cultivated hemp and flax as resource for bio-based building materials” is EUR 3 170 671, 62, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 1 585 335, 81 through the Interreg North-West Europe for the 2007-2013 programming period. The investment falls under the priority “Jobs, Growth and Investment”.

BioMed Martin – developing innovative medical research and expertise in Slovakia

Article published in European Commission’s (DG REGIO) website (For European Service Network – ESN)

The EU-funded BioMed Martin project resulted in a cutting-edge research centre that develops new diagnostic and therapeutic methods while strengthening the cooperation between the city of Martin and Slovakia’s Žilina region.

The Martin Biomedical Centre in Martin consists of two interconnected buildings equipped with laboratory facilities, a modern interdisciplinary animal house, and an ITC technology platform.

The Biomedical Centre Martin in Martin consists of two interconnected buildings equipped with laboratory facilities, a modern interdisciplinary animal house, and a top-class information and communications technology platform. This modern facility aims to enrich existing departments with new approaches, technological processes and methodologies. The Centre also has common open access laboratories and promotes biomedical informatics.

The Research Centre is a multidisciplinary and contemporary building where a team of more than 60 scientists carry out their theoretical and clinical research on threats to human health. Their research focuses on challenges in biomedicine and biotechnology. It also includes studies of the causes of diseases or abnormal conditions and the development of new diagnostic and therapeutic methods in the field of neuroscience, oncology, molecular medicine and respirology.

Biomedical Centre Martin is the largest and most important project of the Jessenius faculty of Medicine in the city of Martin. Its construction has opened new opportunities for research, development and innovation in the field of health.”

Martina Antošová, head of the Department of European and National Projects

Developing scientific research

The centre represents a top quality European research centre and laboratory using the most modern methods in experiments and clinical practice in major research areas. These consist of methods of molecular diagnostics, including the whole genome sequencing, methods for proteomics and metabolomics, pharmacokinetics and toxicological analysis, as well as methods for the analysis of the autonomic nervous system or respiratory diseases in childhood and adults.

Running since December 2015, the centre counts on a unique infrastructure and high-quality research teams who are already ready to submit applications for several patents.

Enhancing economic growth and cooperation

As a result of the project, more than 60 jobs have been created for researchers and specialists. It is intended to create additional new positions addressed at young scientists, post-doctoral researchers and experts who are working abroad to encourage them to return and be part of the regional workforce.

The construction of the centre has also strengthened the cooperation between the city of Martin and the Žilina Region in several areas. These include the promotion of human resources, the improvement of the quality of life in the region, the enhancement of the competitiveness, as well as the cooperation between public administrations and the private sector. The centre has also brought science to the local people, who are actively involved in all the activities organised by the centre for the public.

The Biomedical Centre Martin has been built in line with the call of the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sports of the Slovak Republic to build science and technology parks and research centres. It is also part of the strategic goals of the Slovak Republic and the European Union in the field of health.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “Biomedical Centre Martin (BIOMED MARTIN)” is EUR 26 315 229, 63, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 22 367 945, 19 through the “Research and Development” Operational Programme for the 2007-2013 programming period.

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