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Monday, 19 November 2018

Spanish Research Agency awards €34m to national centres of scientific excellence

As we advanced last July, the ICN2 is among the five centres and seven units to be recognised in this round of Severo Ochoa and María de Maeztu awards, renewing our status as a national centre of excellence.

On 16 November 2018 the Spanish Research Agency (AEI) published the definitive list of centres and units to be awarded grants under its programme to recognise centres and units of scientific excellence. In total five national research centres were awarded the Severo Ochoa distinction and seven research units named as María de Maeztu units of excellence.

“The Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia (IACC) of the Spanish National Research Council achieves the Severo Ochoa award for this first time. The other four centres are renewing their accreditation [as centres of excellence] first awarded in 2013: the Institute of Neurosceinces of Alicante, the Basque Centre for Applied Mathematics (BCAM), the National Centre of Biotechnology (CBN) and the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2). These centres have not only renewed their position as references in national and international research but, in the opinion of the evaluators, have consolidated their scientific leadership under the previous Severo Ochoa grant.”

Extract translated from the official AEI press release

The ICN2 is proud to be awarded this distinction for the second time, and will devote the associated grant (€4m over four years) to the implementation of a strategic plan that strives for excellence in both the research it develops, and the supporting services and institutional framework that make it possible.

At the heart of this plan, our scientific programme will continue in the pursuit of frontier outcomes in both basic and applied research. Over the coming years, as under the previous Severo Ochoa grant, ICN2 researchers will largely focus on delivering impact in health, ICT, energy and the environment, identified as areas that lend themselves to the application of institutional expertise and to the pursuit of global challenges and growth opportunities. These will be supported by three “enabling platforms” which together constitute a core hub of knowledge, materials, techniques and instrumentation to drive scientific and technological advances in the application areas. New for the second Severo Ochoa programme is the “technology pipeline”, created to consolidate and further professionalise the support provided by the institute to researchers on the path to market and entrepreneurship. Significant resources will also be devoted to achieving excellence beyond the purely scientific, for instance building on the cultural shift(s) instigated under the first Severo Ochoa in career development, gender awareness and inclusivity, and internal collaboration.

All of the actions proposed in the strategic plan for 2018-2021 have been carefully designed to achieve the goals of robustness and impact. We envision a period of consolidation, on the one hand, of all the achievements of the past four years, and of growth and diversification of the ways in which we interact with the world around us, on the other.

We are honoured by the trust placed in us in the form of this second Severo Ochoa excellence award and will work to uphold the values it represents.

Congratulations again to all of the other Severo Ochoa centres and María de Maeztu unit awarded or re-awarded this grant!