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 participa@ieec.cat.

The Government of Catalonia joins the Agrotecnio Board of Trustees

The Governing Council of the Government of Catalonia has approved on April 16 the modification of the By-laws of the Centre for Research in Agrotechnology, confirming its participation in the centre’s Board of Trustees.

This approval guarantees compliance with the legal regime of the public sector and with the Science Law, which establishes that CERCA centres must be created by the Government of Catalonia or the latter must participate in them.

The composition of the Agrotecnio Board of Trustees, which was formed equally by trustees from the University of Lleida (UdL) and the Institute of Agrifood Research and Technology (IRTA), is modified and three trustees from the Government of Catalonia are incorporated. Therefore, the new Agrotecnio Board of Trustees is made up of six trustees from the University of Lleida, three from the Ministry of Climate Action, Food and Rural Agenda; two from the General Directorate of Research and one from IRTA.

The President of the Board of Trustees is held by the Rector of the University of Lleida; and the first Vice-presidency, by the Minister of Climate Action, Food and Rural Agenda.

First Meeting of the New Director of CERCA with Centre Directors

The Minister of Research and Universities, Joaquim Nadal, the Director General of Research Joan Gómez Pallarès and the Director of CERCA, Laia Pellejà, met today with the directors of the 42 centres that are part of the CERCA system. Nadal congratulated the centres that have recently achieved the distinction of Severo Ochoa centres of excellence and highlighted the positive spiral of the CERCA system.

The new Director, Laia Pellejà, took the opportunity to outline some points of her project, which begins with getting to know “the centres, their research, histories, and concerns” in detail. Among the priorities is the renewal of the assessment system, which will be worked on jointly with the centres. At the same time, she wants the institution to be seen as a reference point that helps to resolve doubts and implement joint policies.

With a clear international orientation, Pellejà emphasised the prominent position of the CERCA system in global rankings, stating that “as a system, we are unstoppable.” However, she recognises the need to increase the visibility of the centres among the public, and therefore, she will emphasise communication so that students and future researchers become familiar with and embrace the system. Alongside the science law, Pellejà will also implement language policies, gender equality plans, and technology transfer plans.

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.

New programme to promote the transfer of knowledge in CERCA system

Activities focus on commercialization, innovation and transfer. The first session is dedicated to the new patent system in Europe.

Throughout 2024, I-CERCA will develop activities to promote and communicate the transfer of knowledge within the CERCA System. These activities are related to the Strategic Plan for Innovation and Knowledge Transfer promoted by the Research and Universities Ministry through the Directorate General of Transfer and Knowledge Society.

A fundamental part of the program is based in the training and qualification of the personnel who work at the transfer units of the CERCA centres. This group, set up as a Transfer Community, will meet every month to exchange experiences, success stories and best practices.

First session was led by Enric Carbonell, European patent agent and partner in the Barcelona office of ABG Intellectual Property with whom I-CERCA has signed a collaboration agreement. ABG IP is a leading European firm in industrial property and will be preparing a series of informative pills to promote the use of patents and trademarks.

Because of recent changes in the patent system in Europe, it is possible to request that European patents have a unitary effect after being granted; therefore, legal protection of inventions is valid through a single procedure in the 17 member states of the EU.

Alexandra Romero, from The Collider program of Mobile World Capital Barcelona, also participated in the session. She focused on the development of the program linked to the Venture Building of the European Innovation Council (EIC in its English acronym) and its need for investment capital.

Anabel Sanz, head of the technology and business development office of the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), explained the internal organization and the challenges faced by her unit.

New unitary patent System

Until its implementation, this procedure could only be carried out country by country in those states in which the holder desired to be patented. In fact, the procedure is still the most convenient in some cases and it is the only option for a European patent to be valid in Spain, which remains outside the system. Enric Carbonell pointed out that Spain is not part of the unitary patent, but this doesn’t prevent Catalan innovative organizations from opting for it.

The new patent system means lower costs, less paperwork and reduced administrative burden for innovators but a series of risks and conditions must also be taken into account. In the training session, Enric Carbonell explained the positive aspects and the drawbacks, offering a strategic vision for the future of organizations’ projects.