In memory of Joan Rodés

Dr Joan RodésWhat is it Juanitu? This is what Dr Joan Rodés would say to me when I went back to addressing him formally while discussing matters regarding CERCA centres.

I met Joan Rodés in the 1990s. One of the clearest images I have of him from that time was when we carried out a bibliometric project with Jordi Camí on biomedical research institutions and Jordi presented it to the community of doctors and researchers at Hospital Clínic. Remember, above all, Joan Rodés was unique in how he promoted research in Catalonia. He introduced research criteria into hospital dynamics when selecting hospital department heads and other physicians in general. He was also a pioneer in creating research institutions with their own legal identity, such as the August Pi i Sunyer Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBAPS), which recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. He was vice-president of the CERCA Institute from its founding, and we must not forget that Joan Rodés was one of the most prolific researchers in Catalan science. His scientific production exceeded a thousand articles, of which approximately 180 are highly cited (HCP according to WoS).

Juanitu was tireless. He often called me to ask questions or discuss issues at biomedical research centres. He always had a clear opinion on things! At the last meeting of the CERCA Institute Board of Trustees he attended as vice-president and came in a wheelchair accompanied by an assistant. A couple of days after the meeting I phoned him to ask if he was healthy enough to continue as vice-president. And his unwavering response was that he still felt he had enough strength. That is what he was like.

I also remember how, a few years ago, he gave me a text he had written on the development of medicine in Catalonia, which had a major impact on me.  In it he argued that the unstoppable rise in life expectancy among Catalans is based on biomedical research. And he argued how numerous developments in healthcare and their spread had contributed to this.

It was possibly a little unsettling when the Carlos III Health Institute ISCIII named a call for researcher contracts the “Juan Rodés Contracts“. I cannot remember another case where a researcher has had a research call named after them in their lifetime. But now… this is no longer relevant.

Juanitu, it is time for you to rest. Thank you for all the good things you have left us, of which there are many. We miss you already.


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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