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Monday, 26 February 2018

Severo Ochoa International Conference and springboard to innovation

On 15 and 16 February the ICN2 paid homage to its Severo Ochoa accreditation and grant, together with international collaborators and research leaders in nanoscience and nanotechnology. 

Last week saw the ICN2 Severo Ochoa International Conference take place at the Palau de la Música in Barcelona in celebration of the achievements made under the four-year national excellence grant of the same name. During this time the ICN2 has patented ten discoveries, participated in the creation of five spinoff companies and taken three products to the market, doubling the funding received through this grant.

Embracing the venue’s musical significance, the conference began with a short performance by the Duo Degli Archi, playing Mozart, Vivaldi and Tchaikovsky as speakers and audience alike took their places. ICN2 Director and CSIC Prof. Pablo Ordejón then took to the stage to open the event and set the scene, describing how in just four years the Severo Ochoa accreditation and grant has catalysed internal collaboration and begat a major qualitative leap in the centre’s innovation capacity.

Joining this celebration and, indeed, adding important context to the ICN2’s own achievements were prominent international scientists, who presented their own lines of research and contributions to the field. The talks were grouped into three thematic areas, Life, Energy and ICT, largely representing the main areas of application of the centre’s Severo Ochoa research programme “Nanodevices for social challenges”, which comes to an end this June. In each block we heard from a lead researcher in the international sphere, an equally prestigious figure from the local scene –ICN2 neighbours and collaborators–, before closing with an (again, internationally-recognised) in-house research leader.

On the second day, there was a series of talks devoted to the innovation process in the context of science research, the approaches taken by other European research centres and some local success stories, serving as a good warm-up for the round table on “Perspectives on Innovation and Technology Transfer”.

The conference came to an end on the Friday afternoon with some encouraging comments from Francesc Subirada, Director General of Research of the Generalitat de Catalunya, and Jesús Marco, Vice-President of Scientific and Technical Research at the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), who together with Prof. Pablo Ordejón closed the event.

In particular, Subirada pronounced the ICN2 as “a good example of what Catalonia is and what it wants to be”, in particular reference to the centre’s emphasis on bringing research and innovation to the benefit of society, individuals and the environment.