Ikerbasque researchers managed to attract funds worth more than 35 million euros to the Basque Country in 2020

At the end of 2020, IKERBASQUE had a total of 170 researchers with extensive research experience and leadership capacity, 78 young researchers with whom it is intended to promote a pool of high-level young researchers and 42 Research Associates, a category that complements the previous two and that seeks to cover the different stages of the research career. Their research work had a notable reflection in scientific output; throughout the year, they published a total of 1,345 indexed documents, that is, in highly qualified editorial media on an international scale.

The total amount of funds raised by IKERBASQUE researchers during 2020 amounted to 35,373,293 euros (3 million more than in 2019). Since 2007 they have managed to bring a total of 240 million euros to the Basque Country. Out of a total of 812 projects (99 more than the previous year) that had external funding, fourteen had funding from the ERC (European Research Council), the most prestigious institution in the old continent in terms of promotion of ambitious research projects at the frontiers of knowledge. As a result of all these projects, at the end of last year 1,190 people worked in the groups led by these researchers.

The people recruited by IKERBASQUE around the world to carry out their research in universities and R&D centers in the Basque Country come from 36 countries, mainly Spanish (169), Italian (27), German (16), British ( 9), Russian (8), Canadian (6) and USA (6); Although there are 29 other nationalities from Europe, America and Asia. Their composition is mostly male: 75% men compared to 25% women.
In relation to their area of ​​knowledge, 53% are specialists in experimental sciences, 22% in medical sciences, 13% in engineering and 12% in social sciences and humanities. The Ikerbasque researchers come from the most prestigious centers worldwide such as the MIT, Harvard University, Oxford, Stanford, CNRS or Max Planck.

The results obtained in 2020 allow us to affirm that the Basque Country is positioned as a European benchmark in Science. We are already internationally recognized as a region with advanced research, with Basque research groups of international level and where the right conditions exist to carry out research of international stature. Proof of this is that the European Commission has just chosen the Ikerbasque researchers attraction program as one of the best European initiatives for scientific development. In fact, the Ikerbasque proposal has obtained the highest score out of the 148 proposals evaluated, which represents 4 million euros for ikerbasque to hire 36 new researchers in the Basque Country in the next 4 years.

Some outstanding works

Among the works developed by IKERBASQUE researchers and outstanding publications over the last year, the following can be highlighted:

  • Luis Liz Marzan Ikerbasque Researcher and scientific director of the CICbiomaGUNE developed a mechanism to obtain metallic “nano-screws”. To do this, they deposited gold atoms on gold nanocylinders, in an almost helical structure. The method, simple and reproducible for other metals, opens up an infinity of possible applications in many different fields such as optical, catalytic, biological detection or biomedical imaging. The prestigious scientific journal Science has echoed this research work. For further information:
  • Francesca Tinti Ikerbasque Researcher at the UPV/EHU has published a new volume with Brill. The book is the first major study of the interaction between the Latin and Germanic vernacular languages ​​in early medieval records. It underlines the importance of the crucial question of language choice in the documentary cultures of early medieval societies. Specifically, they examine the interactions between the Latin and Germanic vernacular languages ​​in the Anglo-Saxon and Franco-Eastern worlds and in neighboring areas. For further information:
  • Jesús Bañales Ikerbasque Researcher at Biodonostia, participated in a study that made it possible to identify the genetic characteristics that influence the risk of respiratory failure in patients with SARS-COV-2 infection. The work published in the ‘New England Journal of Medicine’ also associated a 50% higher risk to blood group A and 35% less to group O. For further information:
  • Amanda Sierra Ikerbaque Researcher in Achucarro led a study that shows that microglia acts as a sensor for the death of newborn cells, contributing to the balance between life and death. When the microglia detects a lot of newborn cell death, it signals to the neuron production system that too many surpluses are being generated and must stop production. In contrast, when it detects little death, the hippocampus could admit more new neurons and the brake has to be released. The study was published in the Journal of Neuroscience. For more information:
Destination research centers

Regarding their destinations, 111 Ikerbasque researchers develop their research at the UPV/EHU. The remaining 179 have joined the rest of the Universities (Deusto and Mondragon Unibertsitatea) and the research centers, among them the nine BERC (Basque Excellence Research Center), boosted by the Department of Education.

The complete list of existing BERCs is:

  • Achucarro – Basque Center for Neuroscience
  • BCMaterials- Basque Center for Materials, Applications and Nanostructures
  • Polymat – Basque Center for Macromolecular Design & Engineering (Donostia)
  • DIPC - Donostia International Physics Center (Donostia)
  • CFM-MPC Materials Physics Center (Donostia)
  • Biofisika Institutua. Basque Centre for Biophysics de Bizkaia (Leioa)
  • BC3 - Basque Centre for Climate Change
  • BCAM - Basque Center for Applied Mathematics (Bilbao)
  • BCBL - Basque Center on Cognition, Brain and Language (Donostia)

In addition to these nine centers of excellence and the three aforementioned universities (UPV/EHU, Deusto and Mondragon), among the recipients of the researchers hired by IKERBASQUE we also finde the Cooperative Research Centers (CIC) biomaGUNE (biomaterials), bioGUNE (biosciences), energiGUNE (energy) and nanoGUNE (nanosciences), as well as the health research institutes BioDonostia and BioCruces, and the technology research centers Azti, Neiker, Tecnalia and Tecnun (University of Navarra) as well as the Globernance institute (center for research and dissemination of the political thought) and the IISL/IISJ (Oñati International Institute of Legal Sociology). In total, 24 Basque universities and research centers benefit from the recruitment of international researchers.