If the year 2021 can be considered to have marked the turning point in the evolution of I-CERCA, advancing the system of centres towards a European model, the year 2022 has meant the consolidation of the research and development model in Catalonia with the approval of the Science Law on 21 December. The long-awaited new law provides the system and, therefore, the CERCA centres with the legal and economic tools necessary to develop and compete within the international scientific community and defines the CERCA centres and the Fundació Institució dels Centres de Recerca de Catalunya as members of the CERCA system.
This was also the year in which two training actions were launched that will define the evolution of the system in the coming years. The first is the ÀGORA training program, aimed at the management group of the centres. The program includes different topics of interest ranging from the update in labour legislation to the push for internationalization, the diversification of funding sources, the implementation of the Responsible Research and Innovation agenda (RRI) in the centres or the improvement of citizen participation in research and innovation.
The second program launched is aimed at those responsible for the research impact strategy. The aim of this activity is to train this group of professionals to develop good impact narratives with a view to 2024, the year in which a new call for impact assessment (RIA) is planned.
In summary, the action of I-CERCA during 2022 has meant an evolution of the activities it had been developing successfully and has opened up new opportunities that should bring growth to both the system and the institution.
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 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 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.
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.