The research centres of Catalonia, with the participation of the Generalitat de Catalunya, under the auspices of the CERCA Institution represent the fourth largest research organisation in terms of attracting Horizon Europe funds for science in the 2021 and 2022 calls for funding. With over 183 million euros in competitive EU funds raised for the Catalan knowledge system, CERCA ranks just behind Helmholtz (366 million) and Fraunhofer (185 million) in Germany, and CNRS (284 million) in France, surpassing the Max Planck Institute (129 million) in Germany and KU Leuven (119 million) in Belgium.
These figures were made public during the 2023 edition of the CERCA Conference held this morning, the annual meeting of Catalan research centres under the auspices of the CERCA Institution. The conference highlighted the importance of the implementation of Catalonia’s Science Act to consolidate and strengthen the country’s research system. In this regard, the Director General for Research, Joan Gómez Pallarès, expressed optimism about the immediate future of science in Catalonia: “The Ministry of Research and Universities, with the commitment of the entire Government of Catalonia, is making progress in the effective deployment of the Science Act in the calendar year following its approval.”
In the opinion of the Director General for Research, “if together we can complement this good work in the implementation of the Science Act with budgets that are in line with it, this should become a very positive year for science in Catalonia.”
Meanwhile, the Director of the CERCA Institution, Lluís Rovira, focused on the challenges of the CERCA system in the framework of the deployment of Catalonia’s Science Act. Director Rovira noted that “we are making progress in consolidating the CERCA system in Catalonia and on an international scale. The Science Act acknowledges us as a major player in the country’s research. Furthermore, the dynamics of CERCA’s European projects makes us stand out and sets us apart on the international stage. The new legal framework represents an advantage compared to the previous situation, although there is still room for improvement”.
The report from the Director of CERCA highlighted the fact that the CERCA system currently includes nearly 17,000 professionals. Rovira also highlighted the year in operation of the Àgora programme, aimed at training and motivating the CERCA managers community.
The CERCA Conference concluded with a presentation by Stephen Conway, Executive Director of Research Services at the University of Oxford, who described his centre’s experience in supporting research and innovation excellence.
Support for scientific excellence
The CERCA Institution’s mission is to guarantee the proper functioning of CERCA centres, as well as promote synergies and strategic cooperation, improve the positioning, visibility, and impact of research, and facilitate dialogue with various public and private stakeholders. In operation since 2010, it currently groups together 41 Catalan research centres with the participation of the Generalitat de Catalunya, spanning all fields of knowledge.