Chapter 19

Associations of Spanish scientists abroad



A couple of weeks ago, several of us former exchange colleagues connected via Skype to catch up with each other. It turns out that several of them have already started doing research in their own cities whereas others have chosen to move to other countries, like Marija, who opted to go to Denmark, and Ion, who was attracted by science in Sweden.

I talk to a few of them frequently, so I was more interested in the ones who I’d lost track of.

01_POSTS_#T27_03And I’m talking specifically about these two because, although their destinations are different, there’s something that has united them recently, something that has made me very happy and I’m going to tell you about it. Marija and Ion told me that they’ve come across Spanish scientists in their research centres who are members of associations for Spanish scientists in both countries.

Associations of Spanish scientists meet the need of researchers working abroad to promote the role of science, technology and their professionals in our society.

There are associations like this all over the world, for example ECUSA in the United States, the biggest association in terms of member numbers, with branches in Boston, New York, Washington DC, California and the mid-West. Also in North America, there is RECEMX in México.

Its members don’t only disseminate the important work carried out by the Spanish science and technology professional community abroad, they also have the chance to broaden their professional career opportunities, move to other countries more easily and integrate into the local community in the country where they live. Marija has had the chance to find out about the Spanish Scientists’ Association in Sweden, ACES-SFFS, supported institutionally by the Department of Culture and Science at the Spanish Embassy in Stockholm, the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT) and the Ramón Areces Foundation.

In Germany we have CERFA which was founded in 2012 and now has 480 members; in the United Kingdom there’s SRUK; CEBE in Belgium, ASIERI in Italy, ACE Japan in Japan and SRAP, the association that covers Australia, New Zealand and Oceania.

01_POSTS_#T27_02The Swedish association, along with the Spanish Researchers’ Society in Denmark CED-SFD, where Ion knows several members, recently organised and coordinated the “Bridging European Science” event in the well-known Medicon Village in Lund, Sweden.

The meeting was intended as an opportunity for setting up links and publicising the mobility opportunities offered by various European institutions, and it was here that Marija and Ion bumped into each other! A Spanish event abroad brought them together!

This event is an example of how Spaniards demonstrate with their work that joining forces for science makes everyone stronger.

Spanish embassies and Spanish science and technology foundations are the ones supporting these associations. Some private foundations like the Ramón Areces Foundation also support their activities with the aim of inspiring new generations of scientists and innovators.