These are confusing times. CERCA centres continue to do their necessary constructive work despite the stubbornness of the State that works to hinder free activity. The research centres are still operating under the financial intervention of the Spanish Ministry of Finance, and no one in Spain has raised concerns about this possible illegal abuse. Next, the EU does not choose Barcelona as the home for the EMA and Spain tells us this is our fault. The impunity continues, made stronger through confusion. More than a month ago, the CERCA Institute submitted a request to the Ministry to reverse this absurd decision. There has been no response other than polite acknowledgement of receipt. Everything seems to suggest the three-month legal deadline will expire without a reply. Yet they need to realise that when this happens we will go to the Spanish courts. And when they reject our case, we will go to Europe, if necessary. And one day our actions will cause heads to hang in shame, when an international court rules that someone acted in bad faith, possibly committing malfeasance, or embezzling public funds and hindering the worthy activity of Catalonia’s research institutions. And justice will be done. For justice does not belong to the strongest, or the loudest, or those who have the most important friends, but to those who have right on their side. And this will prove to be us.

And coherence also means recognising who is entitled to lead us. When I was appointed director of the CERCA system, the president of our board of trustees for some years was Andreu Mas-Colell. He was followed by Jordi Baiget, who was dismissed for reasons already known. We were then assigned Santi Vila, who I did not even have the opportunity to meet, but given the circumstances, much has become understandable after the fact. Finally, the Catalan Government appointed Josep Rull to take charge of the Generalitat’s research and, therefore, take on the presidency of the CERCA Institute. And they locked him up in prison. And that’s how things stand…

So we are still detached from our presidency and await a time when we can finally resolve this situation… of incoherence.

It would be coherent for a system of centres such as CERCA to have the full support of the country’s government to compete at the highest level with other systems of centres such as the Max Planck Society and the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), which do not have their bank accounts audited nor their presidents locked in prison.

We are stubborn and we are in the right. And when we get the chance, we will move faster than anyone else. Remember, the Catalans make bread from stones… and this will not change, even under the rancid Ministry of Finance of a country that imprisons the presidents of research centres!


Lluís Rovira

Biòleg. Doctor per la Universitat de Barcelona (1998) i Màster MDAE de l’IBEI (2015). Director de la I-CERCA des de 2011. — Biologist. PhD from the University of Barcelona (1998) and MDAE Master from the IBEI (2015). Director of Institució CERCA since 2011.

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