The Canary Islands are not just a paradise for the over 13 million tourists who come every year to enjoy the world´s best climate and their magnificent beaches. The Islands are also a paradise for researchers and scientists from around the world, with a unique sea and sky ideal for research and investigation. What´s more, the Canary Islands have state-of-the-art infrastructures and technology necessary to make the most of this. The Canary Islands have some of the largest and most powerful telescopes in the world, and pioneering projects in oceanic research are currently being carried out by scientists from across the globe.
Along with these exceptional conditions, infrastructures, technology and highly trained scientists, the Canary Islands also have Europe´s most generous tax regime, a 4% corporate tax rate and just 7% VAT. Not only that, the Canary Islands also have the world´s best tax breaks for R&D, for example, the Technology Innovation activities, which means an annual 45% cost reduction. As an EU outermost region, the Canary Islands have an Economic and Tax System (REF) of their own, fully approved by the EU, which applies double taxation conventions and fiscal transparency.
This extraordinary environment, highly skilled scientists, cutting-edge infrastructures and generous incentives for R&D give companies that set up in the Canary Islands a decisive edge in astrophysics, technological development, biotechnology, pharma and marine biology research projects.
One of the world´s best places for research into the night sky
The Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) is an international research center that includes researchers and institutes from all around the world. Each one of them has their allotted observation time, which means work there is organised and collaborative. The IAC's research programme includes astrophysical research and technological development projects. The IAC is also involved in researcher training, university teaching and outreach activities. The Roque de los Muchachos Observatory is located on La Palma and is home to one of the biggest telescopes anywhere in the world. Among them is the GTC, the largest optical and infrared telescope in the world that recently had its tenth anniversary and which has carried out over 14,000 hours of observation and has produced scientific data in some 450 articles in the leading journals. Conditions at the Observatory are ideal not only for nighttime observations but also for Solar Physics. The Observatory also attracts researchers in High Energy Astrophysics.
The exceptional quality of the sky over the Canary Islands' astronomical observations is protected by law. A team of scientists within the IAC (Sky Quality Group) is responsible for the "Characterisation of the Canarian Observatories". The project ensures that the atmospheric parameters determining the astronomical quality of observations are continually monitored and updated. The Observatories in Chile, Hawaii and the Canary Islands are the only ones to have conducted intensive astronomical prospecting campaigns; Chile and the Canary Islands are unique in that they have developed extensive and reliable databases.
The StarLight 2007 initiative is designed as an international campaign in defense of the quality of the night skies and the general right to observe the stars, open to the participation of all scientific, cultural and citizens’ associations and institutions related to the defense of the firmament.
Innovation and technology for marine research
The Canary Islands are also home to the PLOCAN, an ocean observatory for continuous and real-time monitoring in fields such as the study of global change and ocean acidification, water-column and deep-sea ecosystems, ocean biogeochemistry and geophysics. It consists of several permanent and mobile systems that offer environmental impact monitoring, instrument testing, calibration and validation from shallow waters to the deep seabed.
A test bed for research, demonstration and operation of marine technologies, especially those related to marine renewable energy. This provides robust and secure underwater electric infrastructures to transport the energy generated to the power grid, as well as a control center for data analysis.
PLOCAN is a training platform for institutions and companies, an innovation hub offering efficient and high-quality R&D&I project management services, as well as other user-oriented technological (Testing marine data collection and analysis, environmental studies, etc.) and non-technological (Fundraising, permits, logistics, health and safety, etc.) services.
Benefits from locating in the Canary Islands
*Images provided by IAC for informative use, photographs by "Pablo Bonet, IAC and Nik Szymanek"