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.


Release of the Blog Research for Independence

Research for Independence, a sector of the National Catalan Assembly, was born almost a year ago with the intention of bringing together different groups dedicated to research, from researchers to technicians, managers and students, to show our support for the independence of Catalonia, as well as the advantages of having our own state in contrast to the detriment that would cause to research to remain tied to Spain. Currently, we already have over 300 people who have expressed interest in our sector, and collaborate with it in many different ways.

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Photoactivated drugs

The European Research Council has granted an innovative research in the health area led by Pau Gorostiza of the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia. One of the main goals of current therapy is to reduce the side effects of drugs, especially to prevent the treatments led to an organ or body part can harm the rest of the body.

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6 catalan research groups obtain Starting Grants from the European Research Council

The European Research Council (ERC) has selected 287 top scientists in its sixth Starting Grant competition. Starting grants aim to support young investigators who are about to establish a proper research team and to start conducting independent research in Europe. In 2013, 6 of these grants are for catalan research groups. According to number of grants per million inhabitants, Catalonia is in the 9th position of 19 countries, while Spain without Catalonia (8 grants) is in the 16th position. Grants worth up to €2 million each, and cover a wide range of topics, in the areas of Physical Sciences and engineering, Life sciences and Social sciences and Humanities.

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Catalan scientists discover that the hormone FGF21 protects the heart

The research group led by Dr. Francesc Villarroya, from the University of Barcelona, has shown, in a study performed in rodents, that the hormone FGF21 has a protective function against cardiac hypertrophy. The study, published last June in Nature Communications, shows that the lack of FGF21 is associated to cardiac dysfunction, while treatment with this hormone reverses these alterations in mice. FGF21is produced in the heart and it is released to protect cardiac cells against hypertrophic insults. These results open new avenues in the investigation on the prevention and treatment of cardiac diseases.