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Tuesday, 18 March 2014

The Institut Catala de Nanociencia i Nanotecnologia (ICN2) has been accredited as a Severo Ochoa Center of Excellence

This prestigious recognition will give the Institute one million Euros per year for the next four years. Severo Ochoa resources will be used to promote nanoscale devices to solve social challenges in biological, energy, and information systems. Four other Spanish centers will receive this award along with ICN2, placing them on the list of the most prominent research centers in Spain.

Carmen Vela, the Secretary of State for Research, Development, and Innovation, in the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, announced this morning in the House of Representatives the five centers selected as Centres of Excellence under the Severo Ochoa program. Among them is the Institut Catala de Nanociencia i Nanotecnologia (ICN2), led by Prof. Pablo Ordejón, making ICN2 the first center devoted to nanoscience to be recognized with this award. In addition to ICN2, four more Spanish centers were awarded:

  • Centro Nacional de Biotecnologia (CSIC)
  • Instituto de Neurociencias de Alicante (CSIC - Universidad Miguel Hernandez de Elche)
  • Centro Vasco de Matematica Aplicada (Basque Government)
  • Institut Catala d’Investigació Quimica (CERCA)

These five join the 13 centers that were previously accredited, confirming their status as fundamental pillars of the Spanish research structure.

Thanks to this accreditation, each of these centers will receive a million euros per year over the next four years to strengthen their research. They will also benefit from preferential access to scientific facilities, flexibility in hiring researchers, and resources to attract patronage. The program, sponsored by the Ministry of Science and Innovation, aims to identify and support Spanish research centers that are among the world's best in their specialty. This award is the highest recognition of centers of excellence in Spain, and it is granted after international scientific committees carry out a rigorous evaluation of project proposals submitted by Spanish research centers.

The ICN2 proposal for this call focused on the development of nanoscale devices that are effective and marketable. Based on scientific advances in the development of materials, nanofabrication, characterization, and theoretical simulation, practical applications will be developed in three main areas:

  • Biosystems (e.g. sensors, devices for selective drug delivery, nanomedicine, environmental applications)
  • Energy (e.g. solar cells, batteries and supercapacitors, thermoelectric devices)
  • Information technology and telecommunications (e.g. miniaturization, applications of physical phenomena that are unique to nanoscale materials)

The financial contribution of the Severo Ochoa program is largely devoted to the recruitment of staff and the procurement of equipment to support the development of research projects in the three areas mentioned above. These acquisitions will complement the advanced facilities ICN2 already has in its new building on the UAB Bellaterra Campus. In summary, this contribution reinforces the potential of the Institute, which already features prominently in the international arena in areas such as nanomedicine, graphene, energy, spintronics, nanoelectronics and environmental sciences.