Salvador Ventura, new director of the Parc Taulí Research and Innovation Institute (I3PT)

Dr. Salvador Ventura Zamora has been appointed director of the Parc Taulí Research and Innovation Institute (I3PT)-CERCA by the Taulí of Trustees of the institution.

Ventura will assume the leadership of the I3PT from September 1, 2024.

He holds a degree in Biology from the University of Barcelona (UB), a master’s degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) and a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the UAB.

“It is a privilege for me to assume the direction of the Parc Taulí Research and Innovation Institute. I am very grateful to the Taulí of Trustees for their trust and I hope to be able to contribute to the Institute’s growth and scientific excellence. I face this new stage with the desire to find solutions to the great challenges in health, working together with the excellent professionals of Parc Taulí”, declared the new director.

Ventura is ICREA Academy researcher and professor from the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Faculty of Biosciences of the UAB. His research career has developed mainly in the area of conformational diseases caused by protein misfolding. From 2017 to 2020, Ventura has been director of the Institute of Biotechnology and Biomedicine (IBB) “Vicent Villar i Palasí” of the UAB. In 2022 he received the Narcís Monturiol Medal to scientific and technological merit and has recently been elected member of the European Academy in recognition of his research work.

The challenges of the new direction

The new direction of the I3PT aims to continue driving the scientific and innovative excellence of the professionals of Parc Taulí, especially in the international arena, with an impact on improving the diagnosis and treatment of diseases. In this sense, one of the main challenges is to promote the two transversal areas of research – Data and Technological Innovation in Health and omics – so that collaborative projects can be carried out with research groups; the collection of resources to provide the Institute with the most advanced infrastructures and equipment; the promotion of activity related to clinical trials; the promotion of the recruitment and retention of talent; and collaboration with other sector institutions and technology companies.

Along these lines, during a visit to the I3PT, accompanied by the general director of the CSPT, Anna Aran, and the current director of the Institute, Lluís Blanch, Ventura explained:

“at a time of technological revolution and knowledge in biomedicine, the I3PT is ready and willing to lead this change. We aspire to consolidate ourselves as a leading institution in international health innovation, fostering a synergy of cutting-edge basic, clinical and translational research”

Dr Salvador Ventura

The first edition of the ‘Mapping of research in the space sector in Catalonia’ is now open

The Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia (IEEC), the CERCA Institute and the Government of Catalonia promote the first edition of the ‘Mapping of research in the space sector in Catalonia’. The launch of the initiative aims to obtain an updated and detailed census of the existing research centers, universities and technological centers in Catalonia in which scientific and technological research linked to the space sector is carried out.

The mapping is expected to show the existing knowledge areas with research and innovation activities that have space as an object of study or as a research platform, and with a wide scope that covers from basic research, to research closer to the productive sector and applications. And it will allow the existing skills in the Catalan ecosystem to be analysed.

The results obtained from the analysis of the data will be published and presented in a workshop that will encourage the dissemination of the activities of the research ecosystem and encourage cooperation between the agents that make up the ecosystem.

If you are a research centre, university or technological centre in Catalonia and you develop scientific and technological research linked to the space sector, we encourage you to participate by answering one of these two questionnaires:

1. Complete questionnaire: recommended if your centre or entity did not complete the questionnaire “Mapping the NewSpace Ecosystem in Catalonia” coordinated by the Government of Catalonia through the Department of Business and Work and the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce, with the collaboration of the IEEC and the i2Cat Foundation.

2. Simplified questionnaire: recommended if your centre or entity has already completed the questionnaire “Mapping the NewSpace Ecosystem in Catalonia” coordinated by the Government of Catalonia through the Department of Business and Work and the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce, with the collaboration of the IEEC and the i2Cat Foundation.

The questionnaire will remain open until 28 June 2024.

The questionnaire is written entirely in Catalan.

For any questions, you can consult IEEC’s website or write to

Programme to boost innovation in social sciences: training days

The Social Sciences and Humanities centres of CERCA system work on transfer and innovation with Dr. Jessica Meijer

On May 27th and 28th, the social sciences and humanities centres of the CERCA system worked with Jessica Meijer, head of innovation and business development at LURIS, the transfer unit of Leiden University, as part of the programme to promote innovation and transfer started in January.

The aim of the programme is promoting innovation and transfer activities according to the specificities of these centres. It is accompanied by training and mirrors the way transfer is done in European research institutions.

In one-to-one sessions, Meijer reviewed the Krazy Action Plans created by the centres. “They have come up with crazy ideas and have allowed themselves to fail”, told the Dutch researcher. Among the proposals, there are communication projects to enhance transfer, podcast series and research projects made in collaboration with STEM centres.

The programme included a training session by Meijer, which was about the importance of patenting ideas and the meaning of patents in the social sciences and humanities. The session on impact policies was run by Nicky Buckley, from the Centre for Science and Policy at the University of Cambridge.

New Computational Social Sciences programme in the BSC

Mariona Sanz and Mercè Crosas from the Barcelona Supercomputing Center presented a project which combines applications of data and supercomputing in social science research. Crosas: “It’s just taking off; we are open to new collaborations and want to work on transfer in an ethic and responsible way”.

Opening submission for CERCA Research Impact Assessment 2024

The presentation period for the impact narratives of the CERCA centres runs from May 15 to July 15.

Since 2019, and because of the political commitment to define a global impact strategy in research as set out in the Science Law of the Generalitat de Catalunya, CERCA has been working and training the centres to advance in this field, which must demonstrate and give visibility to the demonstrable benefits of research in the real world, outside the academic field.

The project, guided initially by Julie Bayley, director of Research Impact Development at the University of Lincoln, has the support of a national and international advisory board. Its current members are Paula Adam (AQUAS), Jane Millar (Univ. of Bath), David Phipps (Univ. of Toronto), Susan Renoe (Univ. of Missouri), Miguel Sierra (INIA), Esther De Smet (Ghent University) and Anne-Maree Dowd (CSIRO).

Among other materials, there is a Glossary of Research Impact Terminology which includes the terminology most broadly used in both the European and the Anglo-Saxon countries, and it is intended to provide a theoretical common ground for the narratives submitted to RIA 2024.

Also, a panel member of international and local experts will evaluate each narrative, summarizing the main strengths and weaknesses.

Impact of research and its probable effects or benefits in the real world

The evaluation of impact is becoming relevant within all research Systems, as the British REF, and has also a prominent importance in european programs.

According to our definition. Impact of research are probable effects or benefits of the research in the ‘real world’ (e.g. economy, society, culture, environment and the planet), beyond academia.

  • Impact can arise at any time, any location and be of any type.
  • Impacts may be most easily thought of as research leading to something being increased (e.g. efficiency, effectiveness, well-being, engagement access, profit, skills, increases), reduced (e.g. mortality, waste, risk, cost, staff turnover, stress, crime), stopping something (e.g. dangerous practice) or preventing something (e.g. the deterioration of heritage sites).
  • Impact is corroborated by any quantitative or qualitative evidence that shows these real-world changes.
  • As impact denotes change in the real world, it cannot be indicated in terms of academic interest, reputation, citations or publications in journals.
  • Impact can arise from research findings (new knowledge) or from research processes (i.e. the practice of research acts as a catalyst for change).

Karolinska Institutet’s innovation model opens the Connection Day

CERCA organizes the Connection Day opening conference with Johan Weigelt, CEO of Karolinska Institutet Innovations AB

Johan Weigelt conference organized by CERCA opened the second edition of the Connection Day, an initiative by Catalonia Bio to connecting and gathering within the health sector.

Although the CERCA agora is a closed meeting, this edition was accessible to all the sector so Weigelt, CEO of Karolinska Institutet Innovations AB, could introduce the Karolinska innovation model.

Weigelt talked about the close relationship among academia, healthcare, and industry and underlined the specificities of the Swedish system as the so-called ‘professors privilege’, which means that intellectual properties are owned by professors and investigators. “This system has pros and cons, but it works”.

Good research and contacts

The presentation also focused on the company that supports the Karolinska Institutet in terms of innovation. The Karolinska Institutet Innovations AB holding company sells services to promoting the commercialization of research and developing start-ups in a three-phase program (idea promotion, consolidation and maturation, in a final incubator phase that lasts three years). For Weigelt, its strength lies in “having a very strong research base and a good network of industrial experts and business coaches”.

CERCA also arranged one-to-one meetings with the representative of Karolinska and the presence at ConnectionDay24 allowed the connection with agents of the sector and centres from the CERCA system.

Citisystem: learning about circular economy in Belgium

Citisystem celebrates the third interregional meeting in Mechelen, Belgium

The Citisystem project, which promotes the circular economy of cities, hold its third interregional meeting in Mechelen (Belgium) between April 24th and 26th.

All the partners presented the latest updates on their regions’ circular bio-economy and bio-waste management together with some relevant data regarding food waste (a third of the food produced is not spent) and actions to promote circularity and waste management in the domestic sphere.

From the CERCA system, IRTA presented the LIFE INFUSION project: the aim is to convert the liquid fraction of the digestate from the treatment of biowaste at waste management plants in the Barcelona area into sustainable water through the removal of ammonium.

The city of Mechelen, which is amongst the partners of the Citisystem project, explained its transition towards a greener and more sustainable city in recent years and offered a tour to show the results.

Together with the meeting, partners and entities attended the Bio-Based City, a bio-economy market to explore ongoing circularity initiatives, and the Mechelen Climate Conference, and also visited examples of good practices around the city.

Moving towards circularity

In the European Union, between 118 and 138 million tonnes of bio-waste are generated each year and only 40% is effectively recycled into high-quality compost and digestate. The fraction of bio-waste plays an important role in the transition to the circular economy, especially if we consider that up to 50% of municipal solid waste is organic.