Severo Ochoa Programme

ICN2 Severo Ochoa Award: Nanodevices for Social Challenges

The research developed at ICN2 has a big impact on fields such as life sciences (medicine, health, and environment), energy and information and communication technologies. This is for sure one of the reasons why the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness acknowledged the Institute in 2014 as a Severo Ochoa Excellence Centre. This programme recognises the excellence of the scientific contributions of centers, their potential industrial and social impact and their potential for talent attraction. In the last five years, only 21 research centers have been awarded.

The funding provided by the Severo Ochoa award, one million € per year during four years, will focus in the ICN2 "Nanodevices for Social Challenges" research programme. This award is largely devoted to the recruitment of staff and the procurement of equipment to support the development of research projects.

Cross-Disciplinary Approaches

The ICN2 "Nanodevices for Social Challenges" programme is based on four transversal methodological approaches:

  • Growth and synthesis of nanomaterials
    Expertise in growth of thin films, PLD, CVD, ALD, etc. with a broad range of materials, including graphene, metal and multiple component oxides.
  • Nanofabrication
    Expertise in both bottom-up and top-down fabrication, including self-assembly, nanoparticle synthesis, corrosive etching, supramolecular chemistry, screenprinting, nanoimprint lithography, roll-to-roll lithography on flexible substrates, inkjet printing, and rapid prototyping.
  • Characterisation and metrology
    World-class expertise in a very broad range of characterization techniques, some of them developed by ICN2 researchers. Experience in nanometrology includes two patent applications, and the plan to establish a dedicated industrial Nanometrology centre with private partners.
  • Theory and simulation
    Expertise includes pioneering developments of tools for atomistic simulations of matter, including electronic and thermal processes in nanodevices, and the structure and properties of nanomaterials.

Research Areas

The Severo Ochoa research programme will produce specific applications and devices which are able to reach the market, providing new solutions to major social challenges in the following areas:

  • Biosystems
    Expertise in optical and electrochemical biosensing, biofunctionalised inorganic nanoparticles, supramolecular chemistry, water-surface interactions and characterisation. Related activities include EU projects in point-of-care devices and biosensors, ERC in nanomaterials for diagnostics & therapy, commercialisation with numerous licensed patents and two spin-off companies (biosensing and drug delivery).
  • Energy
    Expertise in materials, capacitors and energy transfer, phononics and photonics, photovoltaics, piezoelectrics, nanofabrication of flexible substrates and thin-film materials, spectroscopy and characterisation, leadership positions in EU projects and platforms (Graphene Flagship, Photonics platform, ERC in piezoelectrics), collaborative prototyping with industry in next generation photovoltaics, roll-to-roll lithography, and inks for active layers.
  • Information technology and telecommunications
    Expertise in materials, spintronics, magnetism, graphene, topological isolators, photonics, phononics and heat transfer, nanodevice fabrication and characterisation.

In 2009, the EU identified KETs for their potential impact in strengthening Europe's industrial and innovation capacity. Six KETs were highlighted as key for European sustainable growth: Nanotechnology; Micro- and Nano-electronics; Advanced Materials; Photonics; Industrial Biotechnology; and, Advanced Manufacturing. In this context the relevance of the ICN2 "Nanodevices for Social Challenges" programme is evident, as it involves virtually all the six KETs.

Beyond research

In addition to the scientific cross-disciplinary goals, ICN2 will carry out a comprehensive recruiting and training programme aimed at attracting and developing the professional careers of talented senior and junior researchers associated with the Severo Ochoa Programme (PhD programme; Postdoctoral programme; Visitors programme; ICN2- User Programme Training; Academia Intern Programme; and workshops and seminars). It also includes other ambitious actions such as the creation of a specific Gender Action Plan and international knowledge dissemination and outreach activities.

An external Scientific and Industrial Advisory Committee (SIAC), appointed by the Director with the advice of the ICN2 Scientific Advisory Board, advises on strategic directions and the progress of the project. The work plan is divided into seven work packages, one per Application Area and Cross-Disciplinary Activity. Overall management is carried out by the Project Management Committee, which is formed by one representative of each WP, plus two additional members to follow up dissemination and technology transfer activities.

The Severo Ochoa Community

This award is the highest recognition of centers of excellence in Spain, and it is granted after international scientific committees carry out a rigorous evaluation of project proposals submitted by Spanish research centres.

The following institutes have received the Severo Ochoa Excellence award: