6 Advanced Grants from the European Research Council for investigators belonging to the catalan research system

In its sixth 2013 Advanced Grant competition the European Research Council is awarding 13 research groups of Spain, 6 of them belonging to the catalan research system. Despite in absolute terms it is not a high figure (it represents a 2.1% of the total number of grants), in relation to population size (number of grants per million of inhabitants), Catalonia is in the 9th position, near to Denmark, Sweden and Belgium, and over France, Germany and Spain.

The awarded investigators from the catalan research system are:

Eduard Batlle (IRB). ICREA. Life Sciences

Jordi Galí (CREI). Social Sciences and Humanities

Maciej Lewenstein (ICFO). ICREA. Physical Sciences and Engineering

José Remesal (UB). Social Sciences and Humanities

Jan Eeckhout (UPF). ICREA. Social Sciences and Humanities

Paul Verschure (UPF). ICREA. Physical Sciences and Engineering



Upcoming events

Catalan Foundation for Research and Innovation promotes the “Science Week”. From 15 to 24 November will be held in Catalonia the 18th Science Week, during which there will be a lot of scientific activities across our country. This year the main topics are “Statistics”, “Water” and “Einstein” because 2013 is the International Year of Statistics, the International Year of Water Cooperation and the 90th anniversary of Albert Einstein’s visit to Catalonia. You can find more information on: http://www.fundaciorecerca.cat/setmanaciencia/.

On September 26, in the Aula Magna of the Facultat d’Economia i Empresa, University of Barcelona, at 18:30 pm, is presented ​​the first edition of “Akademia program” from Bankinter Innovation Foundation. Akademia aims to awaken the entrepreneurial spirit and foster innovative thinking in the University. It is aimed at students of the University of Barcelona who are attending the last year or do a master degree or a postgraduate degree. The aim is to provide them the necessary training to lead innovative projects or start their own business in the future.


The Catalan Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO), the first global research laboratory in physics

Although this happened before would open this blog, we are pleased to let you known that the the Catalan Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO) has become the world’s first research laboratory of Physics and Astronomy, according to the Mapping Scientific Excellence where the Catalan Institute for Research in Advanced Studies (ICREA) is in the third position and the Institute of High Energy Physics (IFAE) in position 18th.
This ranking, measuring the quality of research has a global impact. ICFO which last year celebrated a decade, is working to extend the boundaries of knowledge of photonics, the science and technology of the use of light, especially laser light. The institute is located in the campus of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC) in Castelldefels (Barcelona). As a result of its work on knowledge and technology transfer, five ‘spin off’ companies have emerged.

ICFO participates actively in the “Graphene Project.” Besides the Human Brain Project, the European Commission has also granted a billion of euros to the Graphene Project, an essential project to promote emerging technologies and help creating new jobs. These studies about this two-dimensional crystal may revolutionize the telecommunications and even medicine.

Led by Professor Jari Kinaret from Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, researchers involved in the Graphene project are from seventeen European countries. It is hoped that this extraordinary material can be used to manufacture electronic paper, ultra think and flexible mobile phones, lighter aircrafts, more durable batteries, artificial retinas and so on. It can also replace the silicon used to make chips 500 times smaller and 10 times faster. The list of participants is huge, but it is noteworthy that among them are catalan Institutes: Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), Catalan Institute of Nanotechnology (ICN), Institute for Photonic Sciences (ICFO) and UPC-Catalan Plastic Centre (part of Centre for Research and Technology)


4 of the 33 Proof of Concept grants of the European Research Council go to catalan research goups

The European Research Council (ERC) has announced that 33 top researchers receive up to €150,000 each to bridge the gap between their basic research and marketable innovation. These ‘Proof of Concept’ grants are open to scientists who already hold ERC grants, and cover activities aimed at commercial and societal applications. Catalonia has obtained 4 of these grants in 2013, immediately after the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, with 6 grants each.


The R+D budget deceit

Carlos Andradas, president of the Confederation of Spanish Scientific Societies and member of the “Carta por la Ciencia” initiative, shows in an article published in El País how the Spanish government not only reduces, but also plays with the numbers of the R+D budget


Discovery of a new marine invertebrate


A research team of the University of Barcelona (UB) and the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO) recently discovered a new species of Osedax, a marine invertebrate that feeds on bones named Osedax deceptionensis. This species is one of the two first species of this marine worm that has been found in the Antartida, in Deception Island —hence the name. The results have been recently published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B and cited in other journals such as NatureScience i National Geographic, among others.

The research is a part of the Actiquim-II project that began in 2010 and is directed by Professor Conxita Avila, from the Animal Biology Department of the UB and member of the Biodiversity Research Institute (IRBio). Sergio Taboada, from the same department and Javier Cristobo, from IEO (Gijón) have also participated in this project.


“Fighting for Life”, a documentary about the Catalan research by the Catalan TV (TV3)

A few months ago TV3 presented “Fighting for Life“, a documentary with an exceptional cast of Catalan scientists who talked about cancer genetics, heart, origin of life, ecology, diabetes, immunology and neurology summarizing a hundred years of science and its social significance. Celebrating the centenary of the Catalan Society of Biology, this documentary reviews the history and potential of our research.

Lluitant per la vida (TV3)

The documentary is filmed in Catalan, and we could not find a subtitled version. To see an earlier documentary, with a different scope but still interesting, oriented to an English speaking audience, you can view “Spains’s secret conflict”:

Stay tuned for further information about the Catalan process.