During today’s European Research Council Info Day held in Barcelona’s Biomedical Research Park, the Minister of Economy and Knowledge, Andreu Mas-Colell, highlighted the importance of the ERC’s funding schemes for Catalonia to remain as one of Europe’s leading territories in the field of scientific research. Catalonia is “very competitive” in terms of investigation “and this is clear when we observe the results in attracting funds from ERC grant schemes”, explained the celebrated Catalan economist.
Minister Mas-Colell, assured that Catalonia “has established a solid base as a competitive force in European research” and, in this regard, “it must continue the path of good and quality-based investigation” in order to keep competing at the highest levels. According to the Minister, who was recently bestowed the honoris causa Doctorate by the University of Chicago, these prestigious concessions awarded by the ERC to “the best and most creative scientists” “are a reference in the development of European investigation”. For this reason, Mas-Colell highlighted that Catalonia’s strong position in attracting these grants “demonstrates that we have a competitive system”, which has also benefited from an “increase of resources to support this type of research”.
Catalonia is second in the European Union in terms of the number of ERC grants per million inhabitants, which means that over half (52%) of ERC grants awarded to the Spanish State are given to Catalan projects. Additionally, although Catalonia only represents 1.2% of the European Research Area (ERA), the Catalan system has attracted 3.3% of all grants awarded by the ERC since its creation in 2007, representing almost 400 million euros in funds.
Over the years, Catalonia’s research system has obtained 74 Starting Grants, 43 Advanced Grants, 25 Consolidator Grants, 22 Proof of Concept and 2 Synergy Grants, adding a total of 166 grants from the ERC since 2007. In this regard, according to the ERC, the Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO) is the first European institution with the highest success rate in the field of physics and engineering, while the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) is fourth in terms of life sciences. These and other indicators prove that Catalonia’s investigation system is both efficient and international.
Another report recently published by the ERC placed Barcelona as the 7th city in the ERA with more grants awarded to its scientists, behind Paris, London, Munich, Cambridge, Oxford and Zurich. The report also placed Barcelona is also in the top ten (TOP-10) cities in all scientific fields: fifth in social sciences and humanities, seventh in life sciences and ninth in physics and engineering. Only five other cities are “TOP-10”: Paris, London, Munich, Cambridge and Oxford.
Furthermore, Maria Carmen Vela, Spain’s Secretary of State for Research, Development and Innovation, and ERC Vice President Núria Sebastián were among the other institutional representatives taking part in today’s inaugural event.