Manuel Varela is known for having led some of the public funding actions for the country’s most innovative entrepreneurial projects, both at Axencia Galega de Innovación (GAIN), where he was director from 2013 to 2016, and at SERGAS, where he was the Public Health Management and Innovation General Manager. GAIN has a budget of approximately €60 million/year and employs over 120 people. The director answers directly to the Regional Minister for the Economy and Industry. During his tenure, he was in charge of the preparing the Smart Specialisation Strategy of Galicia (RIS3) and of ground-breaking initiatives as regards entrepreneurship and Innovative Public Procurement (particularly noteworthy is the CIVIL UAVs Iniciative with a budget of over €45 million).
At SERGAS, he coordinated a budget of over €60 million per team and a human team of nearly 1000 people The main achievements in that period include acquiring €63 million of European funding – in addition to the budget managed at the DG – for the Hospital 2050 and Innova-Saúde innovation projects, the implementation of the Health Innovation Platform, as a innovation management system, of the Galician Health Service (over 34,000 professionals).