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Thursday, 07 January 2021

New SCN2 Direction Board with two ICN2 researchers involved: María Tenorio and Elisa Rodríguez

María Tenorio Tuñas, PhD student at the ICN2, is the new Research Committee Leader of the Catalan Society of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (SCN2), and Elisa Rodríguez, ICN2 research assistant, is the new Community Committee Leader. They shared with us their future plans and motivations for the association.  

The Catalan Society of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (SCN2) is an independent association with the mission to promote nanoscience and nanotechnology in Catalonia, to connect people working in it, and involve society. It is a network aiming at dynamizing nano research and creating strategic value, through mentoring, sharing and creating connection opportunities. 

Starting from next month, the SCN2 is going to have a new Direction Board for the period 2021 -2023, with two ICN2 researchers as members. María Tenorio TuñasICN2 PhD Student, will be the new Research Committee Leader, after being part of the board since 2019, while Elisa Rodríguez Lucas, ICN2 research assistant and member of the SCN2 since 2018, will take the Community Committee leadership role. 

Congratulations to both on this new responsibility! 


María Tenorio Tuñas

PhD student in the ICN2 Atomic Manipulation and Spectroscopy group, María will be the new Research Committee Leader in the SCN2 Direction Board. She is very active in science dissemination events and she is also a good scientist, as proved by the award for Best PhD oral presentation that she received at the Ghapene2020 Conference. She described the SCN2 association in 4 words: people, innovation, youth and nanoscience. 


  • What is the research line of your thesis? What are you working on?   

My research line is graphene-based nanomaterials. These nanomaterials are grown in ultra-high vacuum conditions on a metallic surface, and from specific molecular precursors via a bottom-up method. The peculiarity is that the two-dimensional nanostructures present pores whose shape, size and doping have been controlled with atomic precision. The goal is to study and understand their quantum properties via Scanning Probe Microscopies. 

  • Congratulations for your new position at SCN2, how do you approach this new responsibility?  

Thanks a lot. I am addressing this new responsibility with more confidence in the work we are offering than when we were starting two years ago. The people already forming the SCN2 community offered me to lead the Research Commission, a work team devoted to researchers. I joined the SCN2 in 2018 and it has been two years of learning and gaining experience. Today we are four women in the team, four Ph.D. candidates with a common objective in the Research Commission of the SCN2

  • Do you have any specific plans or objective for the future? 

Yes, of course. The main goal we have in the Commission is to be able to create a network of all the entities related to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology in Catalonia: research institutes and universities, companies and technology transfer centres. We are working to be the bridge that brings together all these entities from all over Catalonia in a single meeting point. Likewise, we are putting effort into becoming a support for scientists dedicated to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology: from the youngest researchers to those with more experience inside academia. These objectives are materializing in the form of workshops, talks, debates, conferences or by establishing communication between us and the entities. On the other hand, we also want to expand the Research Commission. At the moment, we are only four people with an active role, devoted to establish an active network of young scientists across the main research centres. If we grew in number, we could create another work team specializing in the industrial branch that would complement the existing one, which would then focus on the academia.  

  • Since when are you part of the SCN2? 

I started in May 2018 together with Elena Fernández, who is carrying out her Ph.D. at the Hospital Clinic in Barcelona. The Research Commission hadn't been created yet at that moment and we dived right into the project proposing new activities and ideas. It was quite slow and hard at the beginning, but we had the support of the rest of the members of the SCN2 community. Right now, in the Commission there are two other women, also Ph.D.satudents: Marta Delgà, from the the ICN2, and Cristina Martínez, who is working at the University of Glasgow. I am very proud that we are the only group in the SCN2 that is led exclusively by young female scientists. 

  • What will be your responsibility in the association as Research Committee Leader? 

Basically, I will coordinate this work team, trying to do my and our best with the projects we propose. I always say that we are people carrying out volunteer work, so we have to be comfortable and happy with the projects we develop, since we mainly dedicate our spare time to it. I will be the responsible of the team, but the four of us are leading the projects, and we debate and put our ideas in common. All the opinions have the same value.  

  • Do you think that it is important for PhD fellows to do other things outside research? Why? 

I think it is very important. Generally, at the University we are not taught how to communicate science, or how to speak assertively with our work team. We generally do not know how to express science in a simple way nor how to prepare and deliver a good presentation. Thus, often we are not able to disseminate science, which on the contrary is something very important in these days, when we are fighting against conspiracies. Since I joined the SCN2, I think I have gained these skills, although there is still a long way to go. I always encourage people to take part in groups like this. You acquire soft skills, and it is good for your CV, but it also teaches you good principles, good ethics, and, eventually, how to be a person. 

  • What is your experience in science communication? 

I started with science communication when I became part of the SCN2 community. Entering in the society made me realize that I also like teaching, disseminating, debating and communicating science. Since then, I have also taken part in other activities outside the SCN2, for instance giving talks to schools and universities, and participating in events like BCNSpiracy. 


Elisa Rodríguez Lucas

Research assistant in the ICN2 Advanced Electronic Materials and Devices group, Elisa will be the new Community Committee Leader.  She is participating in the development of neurotechnology devices, focusing on intracortical devices inserted into the brain. In the future, she will be working in the ICN2's spin off IN-BRAIN, with the vision of bringing devices that can improve or save lives into the market.  

  • Congratulations on your new position! Tell us a little about this position on the SCN2 board. 

I’ve been in the Communication Committee in the past, and now we decided to divide this committee into two parts. We have created a new Community Committee that focuses on people. We, as an association, carry out a lot of projects, but it needs a lot of dedication and everything is run on a voluntary basis. We realised that this new Committee was necessary to energize people, to grow and share this spirit of community. We had already three different committees -- Students, Research and Dissemination -- and now we have added a fouth commitee, the Community one. I’ve been part of the SCN2 association since 2018. I started in the Student ommittee and, little by little, I’ve been migrating, looking at different things that may interest me more, and above all helping where needed by the association.

  • How do you consider yourself? Has the SCN2 changed you in some way?   

I consider myself a very active and creative person, with a very logic, scientific, and critical way of thinking. I am very interested in reaching the possibility to have an impact, which until now has been on a small scale. I would like to arrive to a great number of people. Associationism allows you to improve your communication and organisation skills. I think I have grown a lot personally and professionally since I joined the SCN2. We are young people and we want to do things a little differently, we have the freedom to create and innovate. 

  • Do you have any specific plans or objectives for the future with this new committee in the SCN2? 

Within the Community Committee, we have realised that there are different pillars of actions that we want to pursue. One of the things we focus on the most is sharing experiences between different people and creating new ones. The SCN2 aims to be a platform for social transformation with scientific reference, and aims to be a safe space to share and grow in different environments. We plan to hold discussions, do mentoring activities, experiential workshops to share knowledge and thoughts. 

  • What is your experience on science communication? 

In these last few years, I have done some outreach and dissemination activities, especially organising events where other people were giving presentations. For example, I organized an event in the library of the Sagrada Familia that I liked a lot, it was about the relationship between science and society. Related to this, another outreach event I enjoyed orgnizing and participating in was a "Gender & Science" event in 2018 , where we explored the different roles, from the historical and social point of view of science. As you see, I move more in the field of scientific and social problematics. 

  • Do you think that it is important for PhD fellows to do other things outside research? Why? 

Totally, research is surely what we are focusing on right now, and maybe we will be able to have an incredible thesis and publish many papers, but in the end, it’s not the only thing that counts. I the long run, it will be worth it to have good network contacts, to have improved your "soft skills" and have different experiences in diverse fields. This will differentiate you from other people and says a lot about you. I encourage PhD students to have different experiences as a part of their research, it might also help them reinvent themselves in the future. Dedicating to outreach, organizing events, or simply gaining leadership skills can open you many doors. If you end up having a brilliant scientific career and being a group leader, you need to know a little bit of "how to be a good boss", for example. If you belong to an association, you could self-teach it through experiences. Also having other hobbies, such as art, music or sports, is very important because, otherwise, you will be missing a part of yourself.

  • What would you like to share with the ICN2 community?  

Specifically in my Committee, we are proposing some new projects that may interest the ICN2 community. In particular, the “PhD Comm” one consists in creating a space in which PhD students from different centres related to the nanoworld will be invited. It will be a place to share points of views and experiences, to work internally on our emotional intelligence. I think that doing a PhD is very hard, if you don’t have these tools it could be a really bad and lonely time. We want to create a space where everyone can participate, to share success, failures, emotions, doubts and fears. Sharing could be a key to personal growth. Generally speaking, people need to talk.

There is also another project, called “Clar I Català” , that could generate interest in the ICN2 community. People who do not speak Catalan natively will have the opportunity to practice it without judgement in a friendly and safe space. It will consist of language workshops where there will be a cultural exchange without any prejudice. So, if you’re interested, sign up and participate in the SCN2 association! 


The new members of the SCN2 Direction Board were elected between November and December 2020, through online voting by all the SCN2 affiliates. The new board is formed by the following members:  

  • President - Pamela Machado da Silva Rattín (ICMAB) 
  • Vice President - Oriol Recasens Benito (ICUB) 
  • Secretary - Sergi Campos Jara 
  • Treasury - Maria Noguera Vila-Masana 
  • Dissemination Committee Leader - Gerard Guimerà Ballesta 
  • Research Committee Leader - María Tenorio Tuñas (ICN2) 
  • Student Committee Leader - Daniel García Jiménez 
  • Community Committee Leader - Elisa Rodríguez Lucas (ICN2) 
  • Communication Team Leader - Jordi Floriach Clark (ICMAB) 

Congratulations to all and good luck for the next years.