Chapter 16

The Dream Team of Spanish science



Spain does science in teams, that’s the way it is and it’s one of the things I find most attractive about finding a job at a research centre in my country.

I’m saying this because I want to devote this post to a meeting I was lucky enough to attend, the Science and Innovation Gala, a joint initiative by the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and Quo magazine. With my notebook ready to take notes and my heart about to jump out of my chest with excitement, I turned up with my friend Minerva.

The 13 top Spanish scientists were called up to be honoured and confirmed as undisputed holders of the title of 2016 Spanish Science Team.

They all symbolically received their ‘team strip’ just as if they were a premier league football team… A nod to something that Spain is also famous for all over the world, its talented sports people.

01_posts_t24_02The President of CSIC Emilio Lora-Tamayo justified this comparison with sport when he explained that both scientists and sports people have something in common: “the work they do is hard and involves coming first, doing their best and dealing with defeat and failure”.

’It would be an amazing dream if citizens could recognise these scientists by their names and stop them in the street to ask for their autograph’, said the President of CSIC.

It’s true, it would be fantastic! They’re real heroes who, behind the scenes and unnoticed by many, are creating a better world for all of us.

I had the chance to get close to some of the researchers I admire the most and who I mentioned in my previous post, like Mariano Barbacid (cardiologist) and Francisco Mojica (microbiologist).

And I got to know a bit more about Pedro Cavadas (surgeon), Susana Marcos (Director of the CSIC ‘Daza de Valdés’ Optics Institute), Alberto Ruiz Jimeno (founder of the IFCA high energy group), Laura Lechuga (research professor at the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology), José Manuel Galán (an egyptologist and promoter of the Djehuty project), Juan José Gómez Cadenas (researcher at IFIC and director of the Next experiment), Carmen Martínez (Director of the Viticulture Group at the CSIC Biological Mission), Mariano Esteban (President of the National Royal Academy of Pharmacy), Mara Dierssen (researcher at the Centre for Genomic Regulation in Barcelona), Manel Esteller (Director of the IDIBELL Epigenetics and Biology programme) and Miguel Delibes de Castro (researcher at the Doñana Biology Station).

Spain is the tenth world power in science and is one of the top scientific content publishing countries in the world.

The intention of this gala was to distinguish the tremendously important dissemination work being done by each one of these scientists.

01_posts_t24_03After the gala and with great excitement, Minerva and I had a long chat that allowed us to see a future working as a team; I’d love to do research with her at the CSIC.