Fernando Cossío, Scientific Director of Ikerbasque, Euskadi Research Award 2020

The Euskadi Research 2020 award has gone to Professor Fernando Cossío, Professor of the Department of Organic Chemistry I of the UPV/EHU (2002), and Scientific Director of Ikerbasque. The court of the twenty-fifth edition of the Prize, made up of four members of recognized prestige in Sciences and Technology, has unanimously agreed to award the 2020 Euskadi Research Prize to the chemist Fernando Cossío, after deliberating among the twelve candidatures presented in this edition.

The Department of Education annually announces the Euskadi Research Award. In even-numbered years, as is the case (2020), the award is held in the area of ​​Science and Technology, while in odd-numbered years it is dedicated to the recognition of the work of professionals in the area of ​​Social Sciences and Humanities. The purpose of the Euskadi Research Award is to encourage scientific activity, and to stimulate, promote and value the efforts of researchers and qualified teams from the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country or from outside the Autonomous Community, whose work has had an outstanding positive influence on Euskadi.

Fernando Cossío Mora

Professor Fernando Cossío (San Martin de Villafufre (Cantabria), 1960) has made outstanding contributions in the field of bioorganic chemistry and molecular modeling.

His work has been focused on the study of pericyclic reactions and the formation of carbon-carbon bonds, both computationally and through experimental methodologies. In addition to this area, he also works in the design and chemical synthesis of bioactive molecules useful in oncology, with a special interest in the discovery and synthesis of drugs for the treatment of cancer.

Fernando Cossío has a degree in Chemical Sciences from the University of Zaragoza (1982) and a Ph.D. in Chemical Sciences from the UPV/EHU (1986). After carrying out research stays at the CNRS de Talence (France), and at UCLA (United States), in 1988 he joined the Faculty of Chemistry of the University of the Basque Country/Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea, of which he has been Professor since 2002.

Professor Cossío has been very involved in the advancement and management of science in the Basque Country, having held different positions, such as Dean of the Faculty of Chemical Sciences (1999-2001) and Vice-Rector for Research and International Relations of the UPV/EHU (2001 -2003), being at present and since 2009 Scientific Director of Ikerbasque, the Basque Foundation for science.

As a scientist, Professor Cossío can be considered an international benchmark in multidisciplinary Chemistry. Being a synthetic organic chemical in its origin, he addresses the scientific problems from all possible chemical perspectives, seeking a better understanding of the basic mechanism involved in the reaction and how it is possible to introduce changes in it, with the aim of obtaining the best result for the problem in question, and looking for possible applications of the excellent Science that he develops. An important consequence of this attitude is the large number of patents and the use of these to create spin-off's to obtain compounds with possible applications in different tumor treatments.

Finally, the recent work of Prof. Cossío has fundamental implications not only in Chemistry but also in Science and, probably, in our concept and understanding of the Universe. This work aimed at solving a fundamental question of current research in physics (namely that the neutrino can be its own antiparticle) has been awarded a Synergy grant from the European Research Council (ERC) this year. It should be noted that these grants are the most competitive in the world and are only awarded to truly exceptional and concept-breaking ideas.

Multidisciplinary work

In addition to the excellent scientific work of Professor Cossío Mora, the jury has highlighted his excellent research and teaching career, and the creation and direction of a research group that has become an international benchmark. He has also highlighted his research work, which has been reflected in a large number of high-level and high-visibility publications, as well as his participation as principal investigator in numerous highly relevant national and international projects. The winner, with a clearly multidisciplinary work, which includes areas as diverse as synthetic chemistry, computational, biotechnology, and physics, has contributed in a very important way to the advancement of knowledge and the development of novel methodologies for research and technological development. Likewise, the jury highlights his leadership in research programs in the Basque Country, the training of young scientists and his scientific dissemination activities.