Groups from the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), the Department of Experimental and Health Sciences, Pompeu Fabra University (DCEXS-UPF), the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), the Institute for Evolutionary Biology (IBE: CSIC-UPF), the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM) and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory – Barcelona (EMBL Barcelona), the six research centers housed in the Barcelona Biomedical Research Park (PRBB), receive one every seven grants that the European Research Council (ERC) concedes to Catalan research groups.
For 14 years, the European Research Council has supported cutting-edge research by awarding grants of 1.5 to 10 million euros for periods of five to six years. Thus, it promotes research projects in physics or engineering, social sciences and humanities and life sciences. These grants aim to support projects that have a positive impact on society either through scientific advances, in the application of certain policies or that may have a positive impact on the economy.
Since 2007, Catalonia has received three out of every hundred grants awarded by the ERC throughout Europe. For this reason, the territory occupies the fourth position in the European ranking of grants received per million inhabitants. In Catalonia, funding for projects that study life sciences is lower than the European average. However, the six research centers housed in the PRBB have received one out of every seven grants that the ERC has conceded in Catalonia. The granting of these aids has meant the income of about 110 million euros.
Catalonia occupies the fourth position in the European ranking of grants received per million inhabitants. Within Catalonia, the PRBB centers have received 1 out of every 7 ERC grants, with a total value of 110 million euros.
A fruitful ecosystem for biomedical research
In these years, the research groups located in the PRBB have received 55 grants of different categories and financial endowments. It is worth noting the high number of Starting Grants (21) recieved by excellent researchers who have recently completed their doctorate and who are creating a new research group. On the other hand, numerous Advanced dGrants have also been received (18) to support projects led by senior researchers who have had a brilliant career over the last 10 years.
Currently, the PRBB has 23 active projects financed by ERC grants, worth almost 55 million euros. These European funds are divided into two award-winning projects at IMIM, three at EMBL, IBE, ISGlobal and UPF and 9 at CRG.
Gender, a pending topic
Of all the ERC grants conceded to Catalan research groups, only 20% are led by women. In this sense, the PRBB is not in a better situation. Until 2015, only two of the 32 grants received were to projects led by women.
Fortunately, in recent years the trend has been drastically reversed. Of the 23 ERC grants that are currently active, almost one in three (7 in total) are directed by women. In this sense, the IBE and EMBL stand out, because two out of the three projects awarded with an ERC grant are led by women. However, more than half of the grants awarded to outstanding female researchers are Starting Grants.