SRAP participates in events and work meetings with the Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism

During this week I have participated, as SRAP President, in several events and meetings in Canberra and Sydney following the official visit of the Spanish Minister of Industry, Trade, and Tourism, Reyes Maroto, to Australia.

First of all, I’d like to thank the staff at the Spanish Embassy in Canberra, particularly the Spanish Ambassador, H.E. Alicia Moral Revilla, as well as the General Director of the Chamber of Commerce of Spain, Ms Inmaculada Riera, for their continuous support and for getting SRAP involved on these events and networking opportunities.

Lunch meeting in Canberra on 28th Sep

On Wednesday 28th September I was invited to participate in a lunch meeting at the residence of the Spanish Ambassador in Canberra. I had the honour of representing SRAP members in front of Australian and Spanish diplomats and representatives of Spanish industries working in Australia.

SRAP member Dr. Luca de Toca also attended this lunch meeting. He was asked to talk about his experience leading the design and implementation of Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout and the pandemic response in primary healthcare and among Indigenous communities.

The Spanish Ambassador asked me to give a speech about SRAP, the activities we are performing, and the new projects we are starting, including putting in contact Spanish and Australian universities and launching a pioneering PhD Cotutelle program between Macquarie University and Spanish universities, as well as connecting research in academy and industries. They also asked me to briefly talk about my research in Astronomy and connections with space projects.

Spanish Minister of Industry, Trade, and Tourism, Reyes Maroto, and SRAP President, Dr. Ángel López-Sánchez, after the lunch meeting in Canberra on Sep 28th, 2022.

After the lunch meeting I had the opportunity of personally talking with the Spanish Minister of Industry, Trade, and Tourism, Ms Reyes Maroto, who congratulated us for the research and activities we are performing, and encouraged us to try to work closely with the Spanish Industries working in Australia. I also mentioned her that, although the Spanish research community is happy about the advances in the Spanish laws for Science and University Research in Spain, there is still much to do and improve, and that is something we are doing as part of RAICEX (the network of Associations of Spanish Researchers working abroad).

Australia-Spain Business meeting in Sydney on 29th Sep

On Thursday 29th Sep I was invited to participate in the Australian-Spanish Business Meeting at the Four Seasons Hotel, Sydney, on the occasion of the official visit of the Spanish Minister of Industry, Trade, and Tourism, Ms Reyes Maroto, to Australia. The event was organised by the Chamber of Commerce of Spain , the International Confederation of Business Organisations of Spain, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the European-Australian Business Council, and the Spanish Embassy in Australia. Around 100 industries attended the event.

Opening session. From left to right: Mr Jason Collins, CEO of the European-Australian Business Council, Ms Marta Blanco, president of the International Confederation of Business Organisations of Spain, H.E. Alicia Moral Revilla, Spanish Ambassador in Australia, Ms Inmaculada Riera, General Director of the Chamber of Commerce of Spain, and Mr Andrew McKellar, CEO of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

During the opening session, both the Spanish Ambassador in Australia, H.E. Alicia Moral Revilla, and the General Director of the Chamber of Commerce of Spain, Ms Inmaculada Riera, acknowledged not only the work of the Spanish industries working in Australia but also the work of the Spanish Researchers.

H.E. Alicia Moral Revilla briefly summarised the role of SRAP, mentioned that their SRAP President was in the meeting, and encouraged everyone to meet us and collaborate closer with researchers. Ms. Inmaculada Riera also emphasised the need of the transfer of knowledge and skills from research to industries. She asked industries to be more ambitious than they are now, encouraging them to connect with the academic world.

After the opening session, sessions about plans, opportunities key projects and capabilities in New South Wales, Queensland, and Victoria, followed.

Panel on plans, opportunities, key projects, and capabilities in New South Wales. From left to right: Mr Tehmur Khan. Managing Director – Indra Australia, Simon Currie, Co-founder, and CPO – Energy State, Mr Mike Gallagher, Director, Defence & Aerospace, Investment NSW, Moderator: Ms Alicia Varela, Director-General for International Trade and Investment, Mr Mike Young, Executive Director, Planning & Communities, Energy Corporation of NSW, NSW Treasury, Mr Iñaki Mendizabal, Manager Australia & New Zealand – CAF, and Mr Israel Lozano, CEO – Navantia Australia.   

The panel on plans, opportunities, key projects, and capabilities in Queensland was moderated by Mr Noel Campbell, Co-Director of Australian Centre for Latin America Studies, Australian National University and former Australian Ambassador to Spain (2006-2009). Participated in this panel discussion: Ms Karen Wiik, Queensland Deputy State Treasurer, Mr Dmitry Danilovich, Director of Development – ACCIONA Energía Australia, Mr Enrique Blanco, Managing Director – Ferrovial Construction Australia, and Mr Simon Nicholls, Managing Director – Pacific Partnerships.

Panel on plans, opportunities, key projects, and capabilities in Victoria. From left to right: Mr Stuart McKenzie, Executive General Manager for Pre-Contracts, Risk & Innovation – CPB Contractors, Mr Craig Harrison, Executive Director – Invest in Victoria, Moderator: Mr Pablo Santos, Board Member of the Spanish-Australian Chamber of Commerce, Dr Marta Fernández, Executive Director – RMIT Europe, and Mr Ricardo Da Silva, Business Development Manager in Australia – Iberdrola.

For the closing session, Ms Reyes Maroto, Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism of Spain, and Mr Ed Husic, the Australian Minister of Industry and Science, provided the closing remarks with their speeches inviting participants to the Australian-Spanish Business Meeting to strengthen their connections between Australia and Spain.

The Hon. Reyes Maroto, Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism of Spain, during her speech in the closing session.

Reyes Maroto emphasised again the importance of involving researchers on these collaborations. Ed Husic even briefly talked in a good Spanish, thanking Reyes Maroto and the official diplomatic and business delegation coming from Spain for organising a busy agenda.

Australian Minister of Industry and Science, the Hon. Ed Husic, during the closing session.

After the meeting I also had the chance of meeting the Australian Minister of Industry and Science, the Hon. Ed Husic, who encouraged SRAP (and me in particular) to continue our research and pursue further connections between Australian and Spanish Industries and Research. I emphasised, though, the need of public and private investment in fundamental research (and not only applied research) for advancing our understanding of nature. I want to thank both the Spanish Ambassador, Alicia Moral Revilla, and the Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism of Spain, Reyes Maroto, for introducing me to the Australian Minister of Industry and Science, the Hon. Ed Husic.

During the networking cocktail that followed I also met and talked to many of the attendees to the event, most of them from the field of industry, and many of them interested to know more about SRAP and the research that our members are doing, as well as in how to participate in research programs. I also had some enquiries about the PhD Cotutelle programs between Spanish and Australian universities and how industries and business could be involved.

From left to right: Ms Inmaculada Riera, Ms Marta Blanco, Hon. Reyes Maroto, Hon. Ed Husic, H.E. Alicia Moral Revilla, Ms María Peña and Mr Andrew McKellar.

Personally, I have learnt a lot of this networking and diplomatic experience. I was impressed to know that Navantia has provided 60% of the ships of the Australian Navy, as well as listening to on-going conversations to strengthen collaborations in space and defence with Navantia, Indra and other companies. I also was excited to see all the investment that the Australian Government and some states like Queensland are going to provide for promoting renewable energies.

Definitely the impression I got from Australian and Spanish industries is the need of more involvement with academia and researchers.

Big Data, Quantum Computing, Artificial Intelligence, Digitalisation, and Space were some of the key topics on these conversations (also Health, Food Security, Energy, including Renewable Energy, and Infrastructure). Noteworthy, Spain has been identified by the Australian Government as one of the top-5 countries for strategic research (at the same level than Japan, France and the UK, with US the top country), so I’m very excited to see these opportunities between my two countries, and how SRAP could help to put people in contact and encourage them to build from there.

The Australian-Spanish Business meeting on Thursday 29th Sep is about to start.


A good summary of the Australian-Spanish Business Meeting has been published in the newsletter “Semanario El Español”, included below.

Article in “Semanario El Español”, Friday 30th Sep 2022 (only available in Spanish)

Australia: mina de oro para las empresas españolas

Australia se ha erigido en los últimos años como uno de los mercados más interesantes para las compañías españolas, que buscan en el sexto país más grande del mundo engordar su negocio aprovechando las nuevas oportunidades que surgen en los sectores de infraestructuras, transporte, energía o minería.

Aunque los intercambios comerciales entre España y Australia han ido intensificándose en la última década, estos siguen siendo limitados, sobre todo si se comparan con el resto de socios comerciales, y es que el país oceánico se sitúa en el puesto 35º en el ranking de destinos de las exportaciones españolas.

Para reforzar las oportunidades de inversión de las firmas españolas y posicionar a España como un destino atractivo, la ministra de Industria, Comercio y Turismo, Reyes Maroto, se ha desplazado esta semana a Australia, donde permanecerá del 28 al 30 de septiembre, como parte de una gira que le llevará también a Bali (Indonesia).

En Australia se reunirá, entre otros, con el viceprimer ministro, la ministra de Finanzas y con fondos de inversión del país, entre los que destacan Macquarie o IFM, con una significativa presencia en España.

Como parte de su proceso de internacionalización, son muchas las empresas españolas que han conquistado el mercado australiano atraídas por su agenda de reformas y su seguridad jurídica. La inversión en infraestructuras se encuentra en niveles récord en Australia, como lo demuestra el histórico compromiso de US$110.000 millones anunciado por el gobierno local.

ACS es una de las firmas con más presencia en el país gracias a su filial CIMIC y a todas sus participadas.

El grupo está presente en algunos de los principales proyectos del país como el North East Link en Merbourne; un tramo de la autovía M6 de Sydney (más de 1.500 millones), o la construcción y mantenimiento de una línea de metro en Brisbane. Además, participa en la construcción de la pista de aterrizaje del nuevo aeropuerto internacional de Western Sydney o el enlace entre el metro y el aeropuerto del oeste de la ciudad. La minería copa también gran parte de los contratos que ejecuta en Australia.

Acciona aterrizó en Australia en 2002 con proyectos de energía renovable. Desde entonces tiene un papel destacado gracias a los túneles de Legacy Way (en Brisbane), un “bypass” para la autopista de Toowoomba, la planta desaladora de Adelaida y el tramo central del Metro Oeste de Sydney ( 1.240 millones) junto a Ferrovial.

También en las obras de modernización del transporte ferroviario en el distrito de negocios de Melbourne, o la amplia-ción de la línea de Hurstbridge, en la misma ciudad.

Una de las primeras firmas en entrar en este mercado fue Ferrovial, hace casi 20 años cuando obtuvo la gestión del aeropuerto de Sydney. En todo este tiempo son muchos los proyectos que ha logrado, como la circunvalación de la ciudad de Toowoomba (Queensland), distintos tramos en la autopista del Pacífico, mejoras en las carreteras de Melbourne o un tramo del suburbano de Sydney.

Sacyr, por su parte, ha ganado varios proyectos para el tratamiento de agua y los residuos.

CAF cuenta también con una larga trayectoria en Australia, donde creó una filial en 2010. Son numerosos los contratos ferroviarios que ha sumado en el país para suministrar trenes en Canberra, Auckland, Sydney o Parramatta en NSW, y Auckland, en Nueva Zelanda.

Australia está inmersa en la transformación de su mercado energético y el desarrollo de las renovables está en pleno crecimiento.

Iberdrola prevé invertir entre 2.000 y 3.000 millones en Australia para alcanzar los 4.000MW en el país, donde ya ha invertido 2.000 millones. Además, cuenta con una cartera madura de más de 2 gigavatios de proyectos en desarrollo.

Naturgy también empezará próximamente la construcción de su primer proyecto híbrido de tecnología fotovoltaica y almacenamiento en baterías en el mundo. Es además su pri- mer proyecto solar en el país, donde suma varios eólicos.

Y Elecnor figura con el desarrollo de líneas de alta tensión, subestaciones y plantas solares, en tanto que Acciona Energía construye el mayor complejo eólico del país, de más de 1.000 MW.

Asimismo, Gransolar refuerza su presencia en Australia a través de su filial GRS, convirtiéndose en uno de los líderes del segmento en el país.

GRS asumirá junto con las empresas del grupo ISE y PV Hardware (PVH) el diseño, la construcción, la puesta en marcha y las posteriores tareas de operación y mantenimiento de las plantas fotovoltaicas de Wellington North, que se convertirá en una de las plantas de mayor tamaño en Australia con una potencia instalada de 425 MW, y Wunghnu, de 90 MW.

Wellington North Solar Farm se ubicará cerca de Dubbo, en NSW. Sus 755.552 módulos fotovoltaicos distribuidos en una superficie de 847 hectáreas producirán energía equivalente al consumo de más de 152.500 hogares.

En el sector naval destaca la presencia de Navantia, que ha obtenido contratos de mantenimiento, de diseño de destructores, buques anfibios y fragatas para la Marina australiana, y con esperanzadoras posibilidades de ampliar su presencia en este país.


About Angel.Lopez-Sanchez

A/Prof Ángel R. López-Sánchez is an astrophysicist and science communicator working at the School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, Macquarie University (MQ). He is a recognised expert in the study of how the gas is converted into stars in galaxies and how this affects galaxy evolution. He graduated in Theoretical Physics at the University of Granada (2000) and completed his PhD Thesis in Astrophysics at the prestigious “Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias” (IAC, Spain) and the University of La Laguna (Spain) in 2006. He moved to Australia in 2007, joining CSIRO “Astronomy and Space Science” to perform radio-interferometric observations of gas-rich galaxies at the Australian Telescope Compact Array. In 2011 he joined the Australian Astronomical Observatory and Macquarie University combining instrumentation support, research, lecturing, and outreach. He was appointed as a full-time research academic at the School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences at Macquarie University in May 2023. He is the president of the association of Spanish Researchers in Australia-Pacific (SRAP), the vice-president of the Astronomical Association of Córdoba (AAC, Spain), representative in the Andalusian Astronomy Network (RAdA), and member of the International Astronomical Union (IAU), the Spanish Astronomy Society (SEA), and the Australian Astronomy Society (ASA). He is a globally-recognised science communicator, with visibility in Spanish and Australian printed, broadcast, and social media. He is also a passionate amateur astronomer that uses his own equipment for capturing the beauty of the Cosmos. His stunning astronomy time-lapse videos and photos have received +1/2 million views in YouTube and have been seen in TV channels in USA, Australia and Spain, science museums worldwide, and textbooks.