Friday, December 18, 2009

Regionalism and lack of excellence

Something that I find a bit depressing in Spain is that the autonomous region system has resulted in a huge amount of overlap and lack of really excellent specialized institutions. There are a couple outliers like UPC in Barcelona.

Every autonomous community wants to have the best center for computer science, cancer research, etc, etc. Unfortunately there aren’t that many top people and for the more capital intensive areas like nuclear medicine, there isn’t really the budget. So instead of having one great research center advancing the state of the art, you have 17 crappy ones just wasting money.

They usually have very nice buildings though. Spain loves building lots of buildings. Just look at all those nice empty office buildings north of Sant Cugat. All ready for those top researchers to move in as soon as they can figure out how to pay for them, since they blew all the money on the buildings.

This is a country brimming with creativity, but lacking the resources to focus it and turn it into something great.

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