Chapter 14

The importance of Spanish science in the world



Today I had the pleasure of visiting the CNIC facilities following an invitation from my friend Minerva, who wanted to show me her workplace and introduce me to her colleagues.  As always, I left feeling very inspired both by my tour and by seeing for myself the steps involved in applying to such a distinguished centre.

I’ll be telling you all this information as we go along to make any process you may be involved in easier and resolve any queries you might have.

Spain is currently one of the top ten countries in the world publishing the greatest amount of scientific content, according to data from the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT) with 77,000 documents published in 2014.

After the tour we had a coffee and we inevitably put our cards on the table and discussed the crisis, how it has affected Spanish science and research and how it has led us to take this or that professional decision. Fortunately, Spain continues to be hugely influential on the world research scene. This high-profile position gives us the opportunity to continue developing professionally in our country while being involved in pioneering and internationally important projects. 01_posts_t22_02The areas in which there are more Spanish scientific publications are medicine, engineering and biochemistry, genetics and molecular biology; a significant number of studies are also published in the fields of physics and astronomy and computing science.

This leadership results in an improvement in the Spanish research infrastructure network, which is really great news for our development.

All this has led to EURAXESS placing the emphasis on the Spanish R&D&I system and highlighting the role played by the Severo Ochoa Centres of Excellence and the Unique Scientific and Technical Infrastructures (ICTS).

And there’s even more evidence that Spain is a country with really active science and research, with scientists like Vanesa Valdeiglesias, winner of the European Young Scientist Award, Alicia Sintes, the Spanish researcher working on the discovery of gravitational waves, Belén Masía, awarded the MIT Technology Review prize for innovation and science, and scientist Albert Quintana, who has received a Starting Grant from the European Research Council (ERC).

After our encouraging conversation, Minerva and I took a walk and chatted about our summer holidays.01_posts_t22_03 She discovered the wonderful Bardenas Reales Natural Park in Navarre, a semi-desert landscape declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, just like Monument Valley and that you’d never imagine could be in Spain.

When we parted we both agreed that we’re at a good time in our lives and our professional careers and that we’re happy that we can stay together in this process.

As for me, this time I went back to Asturias and visited the Picos de Europa mountain range, where I enjoyed some very good weather, I hiked, canoed, saw the beautiful Covadonga lakes and had a fantastic night of cider and Cabrales cheese with friends I’ve known for years.

I’ll be back next week with more news!

If you want to know more about Spanish Science & Technology you can have a look at my notebook where I’ve drafted some official information available!