Plan to promote innovation in Social Sciences and Humanities: a visit to Leiden University

The programme is aimed at the seven CERCA centres in this area and proposes to identify challenges and good international practices that promote innovation in our environment.

On February 26 and 27th, a group of research staff and transfer managers from the seven CERCA centres for Social Sciences and Humanities (CED, CREI, IBEI, ICAC, IPHES, ICRPC and ICP) visited Leiden University in Netherlands.

The objective of the visit was to personally interview Dr. Jessica Meijer, head of innovation and business development at LURIS, the transfer unit of Leiden University. Dr. Meijer had worked with the managers of CERCA centres previously to prepare an action plan to be included in their strategic agenda, so they work on transfer of innovation and impact of their research towards society.

During the trip, the participants learned about the operation of the “Digital Scholarship”, which specializes in the application of digital technologies in the academic and research world.

The “Digital Humanities Lab” was also presented. It is a platform that offers advanced equipment and specialized staff to meet the demands of research staff and students.

The plan to boost innovation in the social sciences and humanities is part of the CERCA programme on transfer of knowledge started in 2024 with funding from the General Directorate of Transfer and Knowledge Society.

Centre for Mathematical Research open call for director

The Centre de Recerca Matemàtica (CRM), created in 1984 by the Institut d’Estudis Catalans, is seeking applicants with a proven-track record in leadership, a distinguished record of scientific excellence and the innovative thinking necessary to lead a dynamic organisation.

Since its creation, there has been a close collaboration between the CRM and the three Mathematics departments in the Barcelona metropolitan area: Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), Universitat de Barcelona (UB), and Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC). A collective of the top researchers at these departments is adscribed to CRM. This has allowed this “new CRM” to obtain a Maria de Maeztu award (two times). Since the creation of the CRM own research structure in 2008 emphasis has been put on the applications of mathematics to life and physical sciences, as a complement to the existing scientific power in areas such as Analysis, PDEs and Dynamical Systems at the Universities.

Deadline for submitting applications: April 30th, 2024

Laia Pellejà, appointed new director of the CERCA Institute

Doctor in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology and Master in Public Management, Pellejà was until now the manager of the ICIQ-CERCA Research Centre in Tarragona

Dr Laia Pellejà i Puxeu will take over the management of the CERCA Institute, as of 1 March, after the Board of Trustees approved the appointment proposal made by the Catalan Minister of Research and Universities, Joaquim Nadal i Farreras.

Born in Tarragona in 1979, Laia Pellejà holds a degree in Chemistry from the Universitat Rovira i Virgili (URV) and a master and doctorate in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology from the same university. She also holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from the School of Public Administration of Catalonia (EAPC) and the Open University of Catalonia (UOC).

Her professional career has been developed mainly in various positions of responsibility at the Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia (ICIQ-CERCA), where he has been manager since 2020 until now. Previously, she was responsible for the area of Scientific Dissemination and Training between 2014 and 2020 and was a laboratory engineer (2010-2014) and project researcher (2005-2009).

The new director of CERCA is also a member of the Content and Programme Advisory Council of the Catalan Audiovisual Media Corporation, of the Community of Practice for the Evaluation of Public Policies of the Government of Catalonia (CoAVA) and of the current board of the Catalan Society of Chemistry. She has also co-authored a patent and has 17 publications in international scientific journals.

Pellejà will succeed Dr Lluís Rovira i Pato, who has held this position the last 13 years, from 2011 to 2024.


Dra. Laia Pellejà.
Dr Laia Pellejà.

Prof Oriol Romero-Isart will join ICFO as new director

Romer-Isart will succeed Lluís Torner, who has held this position since 2002.


ICFO’s director, Prof. Dr Lluis Torner, who founded the institute in 2002, informed the board of trustees in 2022 that he would be stepping down from his role, putting in motion the search for a new director.

On February 14, 2024, the Board approved the appointment of Prof Dr Oriol Romero-Isart as a new group leader, and director of the institute for the next 4 years. Romero-Isart, who obtained his PhD at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, has been working abroad during the last 15 years.

After a PostDoc at the Max-Planck Institute of Quantum Optics in Munich, he moved to Innsbruck to start his own research group in 2013. He is currently Professor at the University of Innsbruck, group leader at the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information (IQOQI) Innsbruck, and Deputy Managing Director of IQOQI. His research group focuses on topics in the fields of theoretical quantum optics and mesoscopic quantum physics in the context of quantum science and technology.

He will join ICFO in the Spring and will assume responsibilities as the appointed director on September 1st, 2024.

“I feel fortunate to have been appointed as the next director of ICFO and to have the privilege of serving a successful organization filled with talented and enthusiastic people, with a mission and culture that I strongly resonate with,” comments Prof. Romero-Isart.



Dr. Oriol Romero-Isart
Dr. Oriol Romero-Isart

IBEI officially becomes a CERCA centre

With this addition, the total number of CERCA centres rises to 42

The Institut Barcelona d’Estudis Internacionals (IBEI) has been recognised as a Research Centre of Catalonia (Centre de Recerca de Catalunya (CERCA)) by the Catalan government’s Department of Research and Universities. The decision, officially published in the Diari Oficial de la Generalitat de Catalunya (DOGC), consolidates IBEI as a leading player in the field of research in Catalonia.

The path to this prestigious recognition began in 2021, when IBEI successfully passed a rigorous evaluation process. This positive evaluation highlights IBEI’s continued commitment to excellence in research and its contribution to scientific and social progress.

This recognition as a CERCA Centre represents a significant opportunity for IBEI. In addition to improving the visibility and impact of its research, IBEI will be able to establish new collaborations and consolidate its standards of excellence. In its current work, CERCA is made up of 42 research centres, and IBEI joins this prestigious network with the aim of making an outstanding contribution to the development of research and innovation.