Chapter 10

Mapping Science



A couple of weeks ago I began a study of the value of Spanish science in an international context to compare the relevance of countries as regards scientific output. After many many hours in front of my computer screen, tomorrow will be the big day, the day of my final presentation.

This is a wonderful opportunity to conclude the programme with a clear idea of the European map of technology and learn what other countries have to offer before setting out on a new path in a foreign country.

I must confess that my intention when I began studying was to travel to prestigious and cutting-edge research centres abroad because I had no idea of what Spain had to offer. Now, after all the time I’ve spent here learning and sharing knowledge with my colleagues, I’ve realised that in the international context having become a worldwide reference in fields such as aerospace technology, agro-biotechnology, biochemistry, clean energies, medicine and molecular biology, Spain can boast a huge number of opportunities, some of which are of special interest to me.

I’ve realised that in the international context having become a worldwide reference in may scientific fields, Spain can boast a huge number of opportunities.

In my study I’ve paid particular attention to the great efforts made in the field of R&D&I and the development of technologies that make us leaders in the sector of renewable energy. Many of the pioneering companies in this field, especially wind farms, are Spanish: we are the fourth largest producer of wind turbines and Spanish companies in the sector of solar energy are world leaders.

CECRE is a pioneering centre, of world reference regarding the monitoring and control production from renewable generation facilities, or groups of facilities, with a power capacity greater than 5 MW.

01_POSTS_#10_02Renewable energy has certain unique characteristics, caused mainly by the geographic dispersion of these power generating facilities, the variability of production determined by changing weather conditions, the uncertainty in its prediction and the technology used by many of the generators. All these variables must be taken into account to ensure the quality of supply as well as the proper balance between electricity production and consumption. In order to integrate the maximum amount of generation from renewable energy sources into the electricity system, whilst ensuring quality levels and security of supply, in mid-2006 Red Eléctrica de España designed, put in place and started the operation of the Control Centre of Renewable Energies — CECRE, for its initials in Spanish.

The Highly Cited Researchers from Thomson Reuters agency is an annual list recognizing leading researchers in the sciences from around the world.

01_POSTS_#10_03As a final touch, I concluded the study with a section on the position of Spanish scientists worldwide. According to Highly Cited Researchers, the ranking published by Thomson Reuters agency, fifty-four Spaniards are among the most prestigious of international scientists, particularly in the field of medicine — the number of the Spanish researchers has been increased since the 2014 list in 7 new names. Spain also stands out over and above the European average when it comes to female researchers, a percentage that continues to grow. Wouldn’t it be great to see my name on this list in a few years’ time? I will of course work hard to make tis possible and hope that one day my wish will come true.

The number of Spanish female researches has increased faster during the last decade and we have ended the past year above the European average.

I only have a few weeks left here and I must say that the experience has enriched me in countless ways: it hasn’t only made me self-sufficient — my potato omelette is unbeatable! — but it’s also opened my eyes as to what I really want and where I want to go. Seeing things in perspective is always helpful, and although I’ve had a great time here, deep down I’m ready to return to Spain to set out on my professional career.

01_POSTS_#10_notebookI’ve realized that Spain can boast a huge number of opportunities. Check my notebook if you want to know more about ‘Which is the value of the Spanish scientific research in the international context?.’