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SPIE hails Spain's plan for funding scientific research

18 October 2011


SPIE Past President María Yzuel (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona), at left, and SPIE President Katarina Svanberg (University Hospital Lund), at right, will serve on the International Advisory Committee of the ICFO, one of the centers awarded multimillion-euro research grants in Spain.


BELLINGHAM, Washington, USA -- SPIE today congratulated the Spanish Ministry of Science for its far-sighted leadership in support of science, after the ministry announced its decision to distribute one million euro per year to each of several research centers in the country for a period of four years.

The eight facilities are being funded under the first round of the ministry's Severo Ochoa Centers of Excellence Program, designed to promote scientific advances in Spain's universities and research institutes in a time of economic crisis.

"Through this visionary funding program, Spain can assert a position of leadership in the global scientific community, and bring valuable jobs and stability to its economy," said SPIE President Katarina Svanberg. "The importance of government support for scientific research in difficult financial times cannot be overstated."

While all the centers being funded in the first round are quite worthy of the support, photonics in particular holds much immediate and long-term promise, Svanberg said. "We are pleased to see that the Instituto de Ciencias Fotónicas, Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Oncológicas, and Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias are included."

"Photonics enables advances in basic research, and also results in innovative applications that improve everyday life," Svanberg noted. "Efficient, sustainable energy generation and lighting solutions, new diagnostics and cures for life-threatening diseases, and powerful mobile devices that connect us with people as well as information are only a few important applications that are enabled and powered by photonics."

"Nations such as Spain which step forward with funding for scientific research will be the leaders in the scientific future, and the first to reap the economic benefits of their investments," Svanberg said.

Plans for the Severo Ochoa program, launched by science minister Cristina Garmendia, are to fund 32 more centers over the next four years.

The eight research centers selected in the first round are:

  • Institut de Recerca Biomèdica de Barcelona (IRB)
  • Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BCN-CNS)
  • Barcelona Graduate School of Economics (GSE)
  • Instituto de Ciencias Matemáticas (ICMAT)
  • Instituto de Ciencias Fotónicas (ICFO)
  • Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC)
  • Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Oncológicas Carlos III (CNIO)
  • Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares (CNIC)

SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, was founded in 1955 to advance light-based technologies. Serving more than 180,000 constituents from 168 countries, the Society advances emerging technologies through interdisciplinary information exchange, continuing education, publications, patent precedent, and career and professional growth. SPIE annually organizes and sponsors approximately 25 major technical forums, exhibitions, and education programs in North America, Europe, Asia, and the South Pacific. SPIE provided over $2.3 million in support of education and outreach programs in 2010.


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