The 2021 National Research Awards given by the Government of Catalonia and the Catalan Foundation for Research and Innovation have unveiled their winners for this 2021 edition. The awards recognise the important work carried out by patrons, businessmen, communicators and science-based business incubators.
The Banco Sabadell Foundation was recognised with the National Award for Scientific Patronage for its promotion, since its inception, of multi-disciplinary science with the funding of research projects and scientific talent and the promotion of scientific training and dissemination.
Miquel Molins, President of the Banco Sabadell Foundation, points out: “promoting dissemination, training and research activities in scientific fields is a founding goal, and receiving this award highlights, above all, the commitment and the work of all the scientific institutions with which we collaborate. We are very grateful”.
Theoretical physicist Maciej Lewenstein won the 2021 National Research Award, now in its 32nd edition. Lewenstein (Warsaw, Poland, 1955) is ICREA Research Professor at the Institute of Photonic Sciences, where he leads the research group in the quantum optics theory, while the 2021 National Research Award for Young Talent went to Jelena Radjenović, ICREA Research Professor at the Catalan Institute for Water Research.
The Barcelona Supercomputing Centre was recognised in the category of Scientific Communication for the Som investigadores project, for their use of the MareNostrum 4 supercomputer to make STEM subjects more attractive to students in mid-primary education, with a special focus on girls, thus contributing to breaching the gender gap in this field. The Computer Vision Centre and Intel Intelligent Systems Lab received the National Award for Public-Private Partnership in R&D for their joint development of the open source non-profit simulator, CARLA, for urban autonomous driving systems.
IRB Barcelona and ICREA won the National Research Award for the Creation of a Science-Based Company for their Ona Therapeutics spin-off that researches and develops new therapies against tumour metastasis. This initiative is led by Valerie Vanhooren and Salvador Aznar, who was recognised in 2014 with the Banco Sabadell Foundation Award for Biomedical Research.
The Catalan Minister for Research and Universities, Gemma Geis, stressed that the historic list of winners of the National Research Awards recognises the talent of everyone working in the Catalan research system: “Our research system is very welcoming, as is our country, and it welcomes people from all over the world attracted by a strong system, with lots of potential, which offers many opportunities and an ideal environment”. Therefore, “it is only logical that these researchers end up making a career in science in Catalonia and achieve great things”, added Geis.
Meanwhile, the General Manager of the Catalan Foundation for Research and Innovation, Jordi Mas, emphasised that the National Research Awards “translate into more than three decades of dissemination of the activities of researchers, universities, research centres and the various institutions in the Catalan system in terms of research and innovation”. In these 32 editions of the Awards, a total number of 61 researchers and 35 institutions have been recognised.
The ceremony of the 2021 National Research Awards will be held next Tuesday, 7 June at the National Theatre of Catalonia in Barcelona, chaired by Mr Pere Aragonès, President of the Autonomous Government of Catalonia, and the participation of Ms Gemma Geis, Research and Universities Minister and President of the Catalan Foundation for Research and Innovation.