The Secretary of State for Research, Development and Innovation has granted seven new awards within the programme of Centres and Units of excellence “Severo Ochoa” and “María de Maeztu”. Also the first eight centres to receive the Severo Ochoa awards in 2011 have had them renewed for four more years. The total investment in this round of awards is 52 million euros, 32 million more than last year, and shows the Secretary of State for I+D*R investment in research and innovation.
The three centres which have obtained the Severo Ochoa award for the first time are the “Basque Center on Cognition, Brain and Language, the Institute of Material Science of Barcelona, of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and the Centre for Research in Agricultural Genomics (CRAG) a consortium formed by the CSIC, IRTA (Instituto de Investigación y Tecnología Agroalimentarias) the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona (UAB) and the Universidad de Barcelona (UB). These three centres will each receive grants of one million dollars per year for four years.
The four research units chosen for the “María de Maeztu” award are: the Department of Information and Communication technologies, of the Universidad Pompeu Fabra, the Department of Particle Physics of the CIEMAT (Centro de Investigaciones Energéticas, Medioambientales y Tecnológicas), the Institute for Molecular Science of the Universidad de Valencia, and the ICTA (Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnología Ambientales) of the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona. These units joint the 6 which were granted the award last year, and will each receive funding of 500,000 euros per year for four years.
The requirements, the levels demanded, the criteria and procedures for evaluation and selection in terms of scientific excellence do not make distinctions between the centre and the units, which have been chosen after a rigorous process of evaluation involving 115 international scientists of recognized prestige. As a result the quality and the level of excellence of their research is assured, and the differences are due only to the way they are run, and principally to the difference in the sizes and scopes of the two types of institutions.
Four more years of excellence
The first eight Severo Ochoa centres of excellence, evaluated positively via an analysis of their strategic research plans for 2016-2019, have had their awards renewed, which means that they will each receive one million euros per year for the next four years. These centres have not only confirmed their position of reference in the international research scene but, in the opinion of the evaluating panels many have consolidated their scientific leadership during the four years in which they benefitted from the previous Severo Ochoa award. The eight centres are: The Barcelona Supercomputing Center – Centro Nacional de Supercomputación (BSC-CNS), the Institute of Mathematical Sciences (ICMAT), the Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO), the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands (IAC), the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona), the CNIC (Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares Carlos III) and the Barcelona Graduate School of Economics (BGE)
This selection round confirms the support of the Government for high impact research carried out in the public sector. The chosen centres are outstanding for the international fame of their scientific contributions, for their innovative capabilities, and for their close relation with industry. They are reference centres in an international context, and are able to attract international talent. Thanks to this programme a research base of excellence which is highly competitive is being consolidated within Spain.