The second edition of Àgora, the CERCA manager training program, begins

The second edition of the Àgora program was inaugurated today with a presentation dedicated to the Charter and Code of Conduct for research staff.

The session, led by Dr Michele Rosa-Clot, manager of the HRS4R portfolio at the European Commission’s General Directorate for Research and Innovation, addressed the evolution of the Charter and the Code of Conduct and its implementation mechanism, the Human Resources strategy for Researchers (HRS4R), in its current format.

Dr Rosa-Clot also discussed the future evolution of the program focusing on the proposed recommendation recently adopted by the Council on a European framework to attract and retain talent in the field of research, innovation and entrepreneurship in europe.

Àgora is a management development program aimed at the management of CERCA centers that offers monthly debate and exchange sessions with experts from different fields on the most relevant topics that may affect the management of the centers.

The following sessions planned for this year will revolve around the State’s funding programs and, in particular, the Severo Ochoa Program, the supervision exercised by the Audit Office on the performance of the CERCA centers and the creation of Groups of Economic Interest (AIE).

“CERCA, the future is our present” The new campaign to publicize the System of research centres in Catalonia

With the motto “A CERCA, the future is our present,” the main objective of this campaign is to spread the word and bring the Catalan Research Centres System closer to the public.

Starting this Wednesday until the month of July, an exclusive advertisement will be broadcasted on the media channels of the Corporació Catalana de Mitjans Audiovisuals (CCMA) to promote the Catalan Research Centres.

With the new campaign, the CERCA Centres aspire to reach a wider audience, underlining their importance as a motor of research and innovation in Catalonia and highlighting their outstanding role in the national and international arena. With this, it is hoped to foster a greater awareness and appreciation for the work carried out by the CERCA Centres, as well as its direct impact on the present and the future of our society.

The CERCA System is one of the main actors in the field of research and innovation in Catalonia. However, it is not always well known. For this reason, it is essential that citizens know that these Centres are part of a cohesive system, made up of a total of 41 research institutes, all of which are participated by the Government of Catalonia. The Centres and the CERCA Foundation (I-CERCA), configure the CERCA System and work side by side to promote scientific research and the transfer of knowledge and innovation.

The CERCA system employs nearly 16,900 people considered R&D staff, of which almost 10,000 are research staff. It has basic funding from the Government which in 2021, reached €294 million and has managed to attract competitive and non-competitive resources up to a total budget of €790 million (2021). The system also acts as a pole of attraction for international talent. Currently, 25% of its staff come from outside Spain, demonstrating its reputation as a top-level workplace in the field of research and innovation.

Likewise, the CERCA System is widely recognized in Europe. Within the framework of the H2020 Program, it captured a total of €554 M and 1,114 projects, of which 454 were projects coordinated from the Centres themselves. These impressive results place the CERCA System in fifth position in the European ranking, surpassing renowned institutions such as the universities of Oxford and Cambridge. In the current Horizon Europe 2021-2027 program, the CERCA System has already raised more than €120 million, further consolidating its position as one of the main fundraisers for European research grants.

The I-CERCA Foundation plays a fundamental role as a coordination and support structure. Working for its corporate, institutional and scientific projection, the foundation contributes to putting into practice the policies of the Government of Catalonia aimed at the Centres of the CERCA system as stated in the Science Law, approved in December 2022.

Mathematician Marta Sanz-Solé Appointed New Vice President of CERCA

  • Mathematician Marta Sanz-Solé Appointed New Vice President of CERCA

The board of trustees of the CERCA Institution has named mathematician Marta Sanz-Solé (Sabadell, 1952) as the new Vice President of the organization. Dr Sanz-Solé succeeds Dr Núria Sebastian in the position.

With an illustrious professional career, Marta Sanz-Solé is a specialist in probability theory. Her research interests lie in stochastic analysis, particularly stochastic differential and partial differential equations.

Having earned her doctorate from the University of Barcelona (UB), she has served as a professor at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB). Subsequently, she became a professor at UB, where she joined the research group on stochastic processes. From 1993 to 1996, she served as the Dean of the Faculty of Mathematics at UB, and from 2000 to 2003, she was the Vice President of the Division of Experimental Sciences and Mathematics at the same university. She currently holds the position of emeritus professor.

Dr Sanz-Solé served as the President of the European Mathematical Society (2011-2014), being the first woman to hold this position. Additionally, she has been a member of scientific and management committees of various mathematical research centres in Europe, and she was the Chair of Panel PE1 (Mathematics) for the Consolidator Grants (CoG) in the 2019 and 2021 calls of the European Research Council.

Her academic excellence has been recognized with distinctions and awards, including the Narcís Monturiol Medal for Scientific and Technological Excellence from the Government of Catalonia (1998), Fellow of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics (2011), member of the Institut d’Estudis Catalans (2016), and the Royal Academy of Sciences and Arts of Barcelona (2019), among others.

With this new appointment as Vice President of the CERCA Institution, Marta Sanz-Solé will strengthen her dedication to promoting research and scientific excellence in Catalonia, contributing to the development and advancement of the scientific community on a national and international scale.

Dr Marta Sanz Solé

CITISYSTEM, the project to promote bio-circular economy solutions kick-starts

CERCA participates in the start-up meeting of the project, which took place in Lahti (Finland)

The city of Lahti presents its circular economy knowledge to international guests

The kick-off meeting of CITISYSTEM took place in Lahti, Finland, from May 9 to 11. The event provided an opportunity for participants to gain insights into the operations of Salpakierto Oy and LABIO Oy, focusing on the recycling and utilization of bio-waste and biomass. Additionally, the Circular Economy Laboratory of LAB University of Applied Sciences, the project coordinator, was introduced, along with representatives from the city of Lahti and Lahti Energia, who showcased other local examples of circular economy practices.

The primary objective of the CITISYSTEM project is to support cities in promoting bio-circular economies. LAB University of Applied Sciences serves as the project’s lead partner, with the city of Lahti being one of the project’s partners. The project collaboration includes the Technical University of Košice (Slovakia), the Regional Development Agency of Gorenjska (Slovenia), the city of Mechelen (Belgium), the Central Macedonia Regional Development Fund (Greece), and the CERCA Institution.

The CERCA Institution joins CoARA, the coalition for Advancing Research Assessment

The CERCA Institution has signed the Agreement for Advancing Research Assessment and has joined the CoARA international coalition as a member.

The Agreement proposes a common vision between the signatory organizations in order to promote changes in research assessment practices and maximize quality of research and impact towards society.

Based on ten commitments, the agreement proposes the recognition of the diversity of practices, activities and professional careers in the research activity; the implementation of qualitative indicators to avoid burden of metrics based on journals and publications; allocating sufficient budget to research assessment and reviewing and developing new evaluation criteria and processes.

Over all these proposals, the coalition has keen interest in raising awareness on the need of reforming evaluation systems and exchange practices and experiences among the commitments for mutual learning,

Success of the conference on the impact of research in centres and universities

  • Especialistes nacionals i internacionals s’ha reunit a Barcelona per debatre diferents experiències en la valoració no acadèmica de la recerca.

      Today, the workshop “The culture of impact in research institutions and universities” was held in Barcelona, organized by the CERCA Institution, the Health Quality and Assessment Agency of Catalonia (AQuAS) and the ‘Associació Catalana d’Universitats Públiques (ACUP), with the aim of debating and presenting different national and international experiences on the non-academic assessment of research and its impact on society.

      The first part of the workshop focused on global perspectives on research impact. It has had the participation of David Phipps, who leads research programs and their impacts at York University (Toronto, Canada), and Jane Millar, Emeritus Professor of Social Policy at the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Bath (United Kingdom), who presented her experience in assessing the social and non-academic impact of research.

      The experiences carried out in Sweden and Norway through entities such as The Research Council of Norway and the Swedish Research Council have also been discussed.

      The second part presented local experiences of institutions that have worked to build a culture of impact. Julie Bayley, from the Lincoln Impact Literacy Institute (LILI), has moderated a focus group with the participation of Anabel Sánchez, from Centre for Ecological Research and Forestry Applications (CREAF), Rosina Malagrida, from the AIDS Research Institute (IrsiCaixa), Xavier Ariño, from the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) and Jordi Bosch, from the University of Barcelona (UB),

      During the event, the need to promote a culture of impact that allows measuring and evaluating the results obtained by research and putting them at the service of society was highlighted. In this sense, the director of CERCA, Lluís Rovira, has announced that a glossary of terms is being worked on, in collaboration with the IEC.

      The event brought together more than 150 attendees, including researchers, heads of research centres and universities, managers and other professionals related to the world of research and innovation and is the first of a series of related performances that will last completed this year.

      The Catalan Government approves the CERCA Institute programme contract and increases the budget for the 2020-2023 period

      The Catalan Government has approved the signing of the addendum to the programme contract between the Generalitat de Catalunya and the CERCA Institute for the period 2020-2023, representing an increase of over 700,000 euros to its initial funding.

      The purpose of the addendum is, firstly, to adapt to the new organisation of the Generalitat de Catalunya in terms of designating and determining the spheres of authority of Generalitat de Catalunya ministries and, secondly, to match the objectives and pillars set out in the Catalan Agreement on the Knowledge Society (PN@SC), approved by the Catalan Government

      in 2020.

      In the initially approved programme contract, in which the Ministries of Research and Universities, Health, Business and Labour, and Climate Action, Food and Rural Agenda participate, contributions from the Generalitat de Catalunya to the CERCA Institute were set at 2,316,000 euros. This has now been raised to 3,026,000 euros in the new addendum to guarantee adequate funding for the Institute’s objectives.

      Eradicating gender-based violence in universities and research centres

      Manifesto of the CIC Women and Science Committee for 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

      The 25th of November was declared International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women at the first Latin American and Caribbean Feminist Summit, held in Bogotá in July 1981, in memory of the violent murder of the Mirabal sisters, three political activists assassinated on 25 November 1960 by the secret police under the dictator Rafael Trujillo in the Dominican Republic. The UN reinforced the day’s official status in 1999. It is a day that still needs to be remembered because, despite progress in certain aspects of male violence against women, such as identifying it, raising its visibility and reporting it, we must continue to highlight the persistent resistance to its eradication, the shocking figures on the issue and because such violence is a violation of human rights.

      The current legal framework is increasingly driving towards effective equality by implementing measures to eradicate gender-based violence. Royal decrees and laws passed in the last two years have introduced commitments for society in general and specific obligations for universities. Law 17/2020 extended its mandate to universities, with a firm commitment to eliminating gender-based violence. For instance, it urges us to include specific content on gender-based violence in proposals for curricula, eliminate sexist and discriminatory texts, provide adequate training in the gender perspective, avoid revictimisation in procedures and informative and disciplinary proceedings arising from applying the protocols, and to provide equality units with the necessary resources to satisfactorily carry out their tasks. The University Coexistence Act should also help us protect the university community from violence, discrimination and harassment, by looking at the causes of violence and its risk factors, thus preventing and eradicating violence against women, and by implementing psychological and legal support measures for victims.

      The Catalan Government has also expressed its willingness to guarantee women’s right to the structural eradication of male violence against women, adopting a comprehensive approach in the Government Plan. The creation of the Ministry of Equality and Feminisms in 2021 makes explicit this commitment and the need for organisations to lead joint strategies to fight gender-based violence, as expressed in the recent assessment conducted by Ivàlua. A further commitment is the approval of the Framework Protocol for Intervention with Due Diligence in Situations of Gender Violence, recently approved by the National Committee for Coordinated Intervention against Gender Violence.

      As generators and transmitters of knowledge and values, universities and research centres must become leading institutions in terms of equality and commitment to eliminating all violence against women. However, the university and research world is not free of structural patriarchal dynamics and the gender-based violence stemming from them. Reversing this requires the joint involvement of everyone in all areas of authority. Thus, the Inter-university Council of Catalonia (CIC) Women and Science Committee is coordinating work to improve the efficiency of protocols against sexual and gender-based harassment in all Catalan universities. In recent years, universities and research centres have developed projects with funds from the State Pact Against Gender-based Violence and the CIC has launched the Teaching Innovation in Gender Violence (INDOVIG) grants, using both the state and its own funds.

      Catalonia’s universities and research centres also have a social responsibility to the past, present and future, requiring an urgent feminist commitment to comprehensive transformation with a gender perspective here and elsewhere. Consequently, this year, with special emphasis on commemorating 25 November, we denounce the rise in cyber-bullying and digital violence against women, cases of chemical submission and feminicides of all kinds, including the invisible ones of environmental activists, and we ratify the statement published by the CIC on the murder of the Mahsa Amini in Iran, where, beyond mourning, the women’s revolution continues.

      Catalan Minister for Research and Universities Joaquim Nadal new president of the CERCA Institute

      Joaquim Nadal i Farreras (Girona, 1948) is a professor of Contemporary History. He has lectured at the Universities of Liverpool (1970-1972), the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (1972-1992) and the University of Girona (1992-2018) and holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Perpignan. He was also director of the Catalan Institute for Cultural Heritage Research, a CERCA centre, between 2013 and 2022.

      He was Minister for Territorial Policy and Public Works from 2003 to 2010, Minister of the Presidency in 2006 and government spokesman from 2003 to 2006. He was previously the mayor of Girona, from 1979 to 2002, and president of the Federation of Municipalities of Catalonia (FMC) from 1981 to 1995. He was also a member of the Catalan Parliament, where he was president of the parliamentary group and spokesman at various times.

      Appointment of the Minister for Research and Universities (DOGC 8769A of 10.10.2022)

      CERCA delegation to visit Finland

      The aim of the trip is to establish partnerships and new projects with R&D institutions in the country.

      From Tuesday to Friday, a delegation of centres led by Lluís Rovira, director of CERCA, will visit different research and innovation bodies associated with the Finnish Government.

      The Catalan delegation, made up of directors and researchers from Agrotecnio, the International Center for Numerical Methods in Engineering (CIMNE), the Centre for Research in Agricultural Genomics (CRAG), the Centre for Ecological Research and Forestry Applications (CREAF), the Forestry Science and Technology Centre of Catalonia (CTFC), the Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia (ICIQ), the Institute of Agrifood Research and Technology (IRTA) and members of the Ministry of Climate Action, Food and Rural Agenda will meet on Wednesday with representatives from the Natural Resources Institute of Finland (LUKE), the Institute for the Environment (SYKE) and a delegation from the University of Lapland and the Geology and Mining Institute (GTK). On Thursday, they will attend a reception at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and will meet with the European Forest Institute (EFI), the Centre for Research and Technology (VTT), the GTK, Business Finland and the Finnish Research Academy.

      The meetings, all of them with a high technical and institutional content, are expected to raise awareness of the importance of the research activity conducted by the participating centres, as well as the Catalan research and innovation ecosystem, which seeks to become a benchmark in Europe.

      The trip is part of the agreement signed between the CERCA centres and LUKE last March, through which the CERCA Institute seeks to open up the research and innovation potential of the Catalan system of centres to potential new partners with whom there is currently little or no relationship. The visit is also expected to open the door to new partnerships between institutions for the next European Commission calls for proposals in 2023 and 2024.