The Lehendakari Iñigo Urkullu has presided over the delivery this afternoon of the recognition to a group of researchers from all fields of knowledge who will carry out their work in the universities and research centers of the Basque Country in the coming years through Ikerbasque. The event also had the participation of Jokin Bildarratz, Minister of Education, Fernando Cossío, scientific director of Ikerbasque and representatives of the Department of Education.
The Ikerbasque programs pursue a clear objective of attracting and retaining talent: on the one hand, it is about attracting those who are developing their research work abroad, placing special emphasis on the return of research personnel from the Basque Country who in some moment of their career marched out; and on the other, offering opportunities to consolidate their career to those who are already researching in the Basque Country. Of the 32 researchers who have received their recognition today from the Lehendakari, 14 (almost half) are Basque, who have either returned to the Basque Country through these programs or have managed to consolidate their research position.
The Research Professor call, through which 7 new researchers have been incorporated in 2020, is aimed at consolidated researchers with extensive international experience and leadership capacity. Among these researchers is Ignacio Torres, who has been Research Professor at the CSIC, the Higher Research Council, and director of the Cajal Institute of Madrid and, through Ikerbasque, he has become Scientific Director of the Achucarro Basque Center for Neuroscience.
The Research Fellow program, for its part, is an initiative specifically designed to attract and keep young experts in various areas of knowledge in the Basque Country, in order to create a “pool” of researchers. Thanks to the Research Fellow program, 18 people have joined in 2020. Of these, 9 - half - are women.
These two calls are completed with the Research Associate program, which aims to be a bridge between these two categories with the aim to cover the different stages of the research career by completing the existing offers to young researchers and people consolidated in their scientific career in any field. Through this call, 7 people have been incorporated this year.
Currently Ikerbasque has 290 researchers among Research Professor (170), Research Associate (42) and Research Fellow (78) categories, who have been incorporated into the Basque System of Science, Technology and Innovation. Universities and R&D centers in the Basque Country are benefiting from the contributions of experts in the most diverse fields, ranging from experimental sciences to the humanities, through medicine, technical and engineering studies, or social sciences.
Ikerbasque is the result of an initiative of the Basque Government that aims to reinforce the commitment to scientific research carried out for years by both administrations, universities and companies of the autonomous community and which was reflected in the development of the Basque Science Plan for Technology and Innovation. In order to contribute to this effort to position the Basque Country among the most relevant powers in R&D&I, IKERBASQUE's fundamental axis of its action is to serve as a pole of attraction for research talent.