I am a professor in the School of Industrial Engineering at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM), and director of UPM’s Centre for Innovation in Technology for Human Development (itdUPM).
I began my university career in 1991, when I received a scholarship from the Ministry of Education for my doctoral thesis, which I completed in 1994, focused on the study of small businesses in the informal sector.
Since then, my career has allowed me to not only observe, but also participate in the organizational design and change management of various organizations.
I have always been interested in strengthening the university’s relationship with civil society, having been the assistant director of student affairs and university extension of the School of Industrial Engineers at the UPM.
In terms of public administration, I joined the office of the director at the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) in 2008, tasked with launching the Planning and Quality Unit, and since then I have worked as an expert adviser to the cooperation council.
Within the third sector, I was the cofounder of Ingeniería Sin Fronteras (Engineers Without Borders) and vice president of the Coordinator of Spanish Development NGOs, also participating as a board member and advisor for various Spanish and international civil society organizations.
In the private sector, I am the director of business chairs, a member of the Iberdrola stakeholder council, and advisor to corporate foundations, such as Fundación Carasso, Cotec and the Spanish Network for Sustainable Development (REDS).
I have had the opportunity to be a visiting professor at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) in 2013, and in the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) in 2016, both at the University of Sussex, as well as shorter periods at Latin American and European universities. During this time, I have had the opportunity to meet exceptional colleagues, with whom I have continued to maintain collaborative relationships.
All of this has made me appreciate the need to create stronger connections, the difficulties in tackling the tendency to work in silos, and the potential for collaboration.
As a result, my work today is centered on the design and management of organizational contexts that promote collaboration between organizations and knowledge. I believe that the processes of sociotechnical transformation required in the 2030 Agenda of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) call for new organizational infrastructures, based on networks and partnerships. Public universities are also called upon to be key actors in this process.
In my involvement in the design and launch of itdUPM, my goal has been to make this a centre of national and international reference in innovation for sustainability, as well as a space to work within multi-stakeholder innovation platforms.
An example of this is Alianza Shire, the first multi-stakeholder partnership for humanitarian action in Spain. Together with four public and private sector entities, itdUPM is working to improve energy access services and quality of life for refugees.
In addition, together with Action Against Hunger, itdUPM recently launched the magazine DIECISIETE, the first Spanish-language research magazine focused on the SDGs, of which I am the director.
My research has always been linked to real-life experience and actions. I have published articles in scientific journals, along with reports and articles in professional publications, drawing from my own experience in management positions.
I have also participated in various national and international conferences, in which I have shared my experience and, above all, learned from others. I am especially interested in narratives, which is why I often use communication tools or stories such as “SDG-ine”.
I still enjoy teaching at the university as a professor at the School of Industrial Engineers of the UPM, and in the Master in Strategies and Technologies for Development, in which professors from my university collaborate with professors from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid.