This year, the Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia (ICIQ) will be hosting the meeting at its facilities in Tarragona (Avda. de los Països Catalans, 16, 43007, Tarragona), for which we are very grateful.
After a number of years in which we have been unable to hold the meeting or do so with restrictions on numbers and distancing, we are delighted to be meeting you all again in person and sharing a morning to discuss strategic aspects of interest to the evolution of the CERCA system.
Among the participants is Prof. Avelino Corma, research professor and founder of the Institute of Chemical Technology (ITQ – CSIC/UPV), an internationally recognised expert in solid acid and bifunctional catalysts and the 2014 Prince of Asturias Award winner for Technical and Scientific Research.
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The year about to end will be seen as a turning point in the evolution of the CERCA Institute. Obtaining the first positive results in the European Commission Horizon Europe calls for applications and funding from the General State Budget for the CERCAGINYS project will undoubtedly mark the an advance in the institute in coming years.
We may safely say that the initial CERCA Institute instrument for implementing a common policy of action as a core benchmark for research centres is now consolidated and has evolved coherently toward a system of research centres in Catalonia (the CERCA system), with more in common with the French and German models of centre systems.
The actions of the CERCA Ombudsperson are aimed at ensuring compliance with the CERCA Code of Conduct, preventing irregularities in the CERCA system and providing young researchers with a framework to generate trust in compliance with rules
The system has now reached a degree of maturity, making it time to move towards more ambitious positions and bring us closer to what we would like to be. Believing we can have a system of centres similar to the Max Planck Society should not be a chimera or a dream, but our goal.
Viewing the centres as a whole has always been CERCA’s aim. It will surely be a source of joy to all research centres in Catalonia, which, it should be remembered, are deeply embedded in the Catalan university system.
The celebration of the CERCA Institute’s 10th anniversary was cut short by the COVID-19 outbreak. One year on and we have finally been able to celebrate the 10+1 anniversary, in conjunction with all the centres.
We have produced 14,000 T-shirts with the slogan #JoSocReCERCAire (I am a researcher) to distribute among all the centre’s staff. The aim of the action is to reach this public, with whom we have no direct contact, and create awareness and identification with the brand.
The T-shirt design incorporates many of the CERCA centres’ fields of science.
- An engraving of the figure of a horse, discovered in 2019, along with many other figures, on the walls of the Font Major cave in Espluga de Francolí, a sanctuary approximately 15,000 years old.
- The entropy formula, developed by Claude E. Shannon in 1948, is the measure of uncertainty regarding a source of information. In this context, Shannon’s formula measures the number of questions needed to obtain the correct answer.
- The recognition sequence of endonucleaseHindIII restriction. Type II restriction enzymes, such as HindIII, cut double-stranded DNA at its recognition sequence site. The discovery of these enzymes in the 1970s led to the development of recombinant DNA technology, genetic engineering and other technologies, producing such results as the production of synthetic insulin and the sequencing of the human genome.
- Graph of an electrocardiogram signal, representing biomedical advances.
- Binary code, representing computing and telecommunications.
- Carbon atom, the basis of organic matter and the biological world.
- The silicon atom, the basis for the microchip, on which computational evolution and its applications have been built.
This year we have seen how the CERCA Institute as a whole has become the eighth-ranking institution in receiving funding for EU Horizon 2020 projects. Thanks to the databases the Commission opened some time ago, we have been able to see how the CERCA centres, taken together, have become a major
attractor of European funds.
The year 2018 began with an unprecedented and extraordinary event, the restrictive application of
Article 155 to Generalitat de Catalunya public sector institutions by the Spanish
State. Not only the CERCA Institute but also most CERCA centres were affected.
Nevertheless, efforts were made to ensure activity did not decline but continued to grow in quality and
quantity. But these events must be set down in writing to ensure they remain in our memory.
A few days ago I was talking to an assessor from Israel, who said to me, “for research to flourish there needs to be a favourable environment in which everyone feels their creativity is allowed to flourish.” Well, let everyone judge for themselves our creative environment in 2017 and what produced it.