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Talent House: a formula for success



Talent House, the block of flats for high-level researchers in Donostia-San Sebastián managed by the Department for Economic Development, is celebrating its 5th anniversary as the main accommodation choice for the scientific community. It has provided about 1000 researchers (and their families in some cases) with accommodation. 77% guests came from abroad, from 60 different countries. The average stay was 4.6 months. Talent House offers comprehensive services, including personalised assistance, career counselling for spouses, schooling guidance for children, help with administrative procedures, and so forth. A self-financing entity from the very beginning, at present it has an occupancy rate of 84%.


Talent House opened its doors in 2011 in a privileged location: Paseo del Duque de Baena, a well-connected residential district – ideal for the type of tenants it was meant to house. Offering temporary accommodation to researchers, it was meant to aid R&D+i centres in the recruitment of professionals to do research in the city, in line with the strategy designed by the Department for Economic Development to promote science, research and innovation as transforming factors in the local economic model – a key transformation to build a strong economy that creates wealth and qualified jobs.


aniversario Talent House contenidoThe accommodation and settlement services for researchers are part of the talent engagement and retention programme, targeted at both professionals coming from other cities or countries and scientists coming back to Donostia after studying or working abroad. Accommodation, as provided by Talent House, is one of the most demanded services.


According to the Head of the Department for Economic Development, Ernesto Gasco, ‘Talent House is a key initiative of Donostia-San Sebastián in its efforts to engage talent and its commitment to science and innovation.’ The road to the future relies on cooperation with key city actors and a development strategy based on talent and highly skilled people. These are the real keys to innovation,’ Mr Gasco remarked.


Researchers at Talent House come from a variety of countries. Data show that 77% are foreign citizens from 60 different countries, the remaining 23% being from Spain. The outbound country with the highest number of researchers is Russia (11%), followed by Germany (9%), Italy (8%) and USA (6%).


Spain 230  23% 
Russia  112  11%
Germany  87  9%
Italy  81  8%
USA  65  6%
France  39 4%
China  32   3%
Polond  30  3%
Argentina  26  3%
Great Britain  19  2%
Others  291  29%


The flats in Talent House are comfortable, functional and modern. They have been designed with various types of family in mind, so that they could make a cosy home for researchers on their own, with their partners or with their children. The residence has 80 flats of various types plus public areas. The flats, meant as a first accommodation in town, can be:

  • Rooms: Bright 26m2 rooms featuring a living/dining room with kitchenette (no stove but microwave oven, fridge and sink), private bathroom and balcony. Rent: €428/month.
  • Studios: Covering 27-35m2, they have a dining room with kitchenette, a bedroom, private bathroom and balcony. Rent: €567-578/month.
  • Flats: Covering 37-43m2, they have a living and dining room with kitchenette, a separate bedroom, private bathroom and balcony or terrace. Rent: €695-824/month.
  • Family flats: Covering 53-62m2, they have a living and dining room with kitchenette, two bedrooms, bathroom and balcony or terrace. Rent: €868-972/month.


In addition, there are public areas for specific purposes or activities, adding a socialising element to the tenants’ stay in Donostia-San Sebastián: videoconference rooms, meeting or work rooms, an inner courtyard with a meeting point, a lounge, an outdoor terrace affording views of La Concha Bay, a laundry room and private parking for up to 56 vehicles.


The average stay is 4.6 months. 65% researchers come alone; 24% travel with their partners and the remaining 11% move in with their families. Moreover, two families had babies during their stay at Talent House.


Researchers coming on their own 65%
Researchers with parnet 24%
Researchers with family 11%


In these five years, Talent House has provided accommodation and other services to researchers working for 24 research centres/institutions, helping develop research in the city and transfer knowledge to the local business fabric.


UPV/EHU 246 24%
DIPC  181  18%
CicNanogune  170  17%
CicBiomagune  131  13%
BCBL 75   7%
Cidetek-IK4  27  3%
Tecnalia-Inasmet 31    3%
Orkestra  24   2%
Instituto Etxepare  16 2% 
CEIT-Ik4 16   1%
Universidad de Deusto 12   1%
Vicomtech-Ik4  10  1%
Biodonostia  14  1%
Inbiomed  9  1%
CicTecnogune  7  1%
Tecnun  1%
Gobernaza Democrática  4  0%
Graphnea  0%
Otros 28  3% 
TOTALES 1012 100%


As to academic level, most researchers hold PhD degrees, as shown in the chart below:


Doctor 65%
Predoc 30%
Otros 5%


The transfer of the scientific knowledge produced at the various R&D+i centres to the local business fabric is one of the major challenges the city should face in the future. Accordingly, dissemination and outreach activities targeted at Talent House tenants, local companies and citizens at large are one of Fomento de San Sebastián’s main lines of work. In 2014, Donostia-San Sebastián invested €194 million in R&D. This was 2.67% of GDP (vis-à-vis 2% in Europe and 1.36% in Spain). There are 34 R&D actors in the city, and as many as 4756 people work in this area at the local level.





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