Interview with Jorge Gaitán, Director of R&D at REGNER®
“Compact actuators with more communications, and retaining talent – these are our challenges”
REGNER® EDITORIAL TEAM.
|Aiguaviva, March 28th 2020|
Jorge Gaitán has spent a good part of his professional life in positions of responsibility in R&D, first as an associate professor in the Department of Electronic, Electrical, Telecommunications and Systems Engineering at the university where he studied his degree, and then in advanced Man-Machine Interface projects at the SEAT Technical Centre (VOLKSWAGEN Group). For the last 7 years he has been part of international teams engaged in research on capacitive sensors, a type of electrical sensor needed for a number of technological applications.
Travelling regularly between different continents, Jorge has been able to see first-hand how the world has shrunk as technology has facilitated communication and trade.
A resident of Barcelona who studied Electronic Engineering at the Universidad de Pamplona (Colombia) and holds a PhD from the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Jorge is truly a global citizen since he is fully convinced that “what happens in our daily lives affects others in the world”.
Most recently, his career has led him to REGNER®. The most important thing for this tireless researcher is the company’s commitment to invest significantly in research, development and innovation. After joining the company in July last year, he is sure that “REGNER® is is an organisation that thinks, works and collaborates globally, with strong technical skills and qualified researchers.”
As Director of R&D, Jorge Gaitán is responsible for ensuring that REGNER® meets its goals for research and development of new technologies and products, as well as improving existing ones. To achieve these objectives, Gaitán coordinates a multidisciplinary team whose members have significant knowledge and involvement.
Has the academic offer kept up with the real needs of the company?
Being able to attract talent is essential. We’re very lucky to have high-quality universities around us, but it’s also true that in certain specialisations it’s very difficult to find the right candidates. It is therefore not surprising that many companies, including REGNER®, choose to recruit the most outstanding engineers immediately after graduation and train them in-house.
What are the challenges for REGNER® in terms of research, development and innovation?
The market is asking us for more compact actuators with better communications since everything will be connected. In addition to technical feasibility, economic feasibility is paramount. Better devices are needed, with more features and at a competitive price.
What is the typical timeline for new product development?
There is no typical R&D project. There is no typical R&D project. Every project has its own challenges and overcoming them is one of the things that attracts me the most. Also, our solutions are very close to the market and we can see results from our projects within the following two to five years, which I consider to be much faster and more satisfying than in other R&D environments.
What are the virtues of a good researcher?
Curiosity, tenacity and effort. And a lot of enthusiasm. I know many who find it hard to switch off at the weekend, especially when they’re running tests.
Which is more difficult, attracting talent or retaining it?
When you don’t have talent you have to recruit it, but when you have it, if you don’t know how to keep it then it will leave. Retention is much more difficult than recruitment because you have to be constantly engaged in doing things so that the talent is happy to be part of your company. This is another of our most important challenges, because if you lose the challenge of retaining people, technology doesn’t advance. You must always keep researchers highly motivated, working in a good personal environment, making them feel comfortable and challenged to grow professionally, otherwise they leave.
“If you lose the challenge
of retaining people,
technology doesn’t advance”
Jorge Gaitán, Director R&D at REGNER®
What is your opinion about R&D&I incentives in Spain?
The government uses various resources to stimulate R&D&I. These resources include rebates and tax incentives for companies. The rebates offered in Spain consist of reductions applied to the company’s social security contributions. As for tax incentives, these focus on corporate tax deductions provided that certain requirements are met. I think that anything to encourage and support the company’s R&D is always very positive.
How do you see the future?
I look forward to the future with great enthusiasm and confidence, as we have many technological projects which will enable us to continue offering value to our customers. We are investing and contributing significantly in R&D&I. I’m sure that all this will translate into significant growth in the various lines of business.