This new Severo Ochoa accreditation is a recognition of the scientific excellence and technological innovation of the CBGP and a boost for the development of its new scientific programs and technological solutions for a more sustainable agriculture and development.
The Spanish State Research Agency (AEI) published last Friday July 16, the provisional resolution of the 2020 call for the Severo Ochoa Centers of Excellence and María de Maeztu Units of Excellence Program. In this call, the Centro de Biotecnología y Genómica de Plantas (CBGP, UPM-INIA/CSIC) awarded again the accreditation as a Severo Ochoa Center of Excellence for the period 2022-2025. In addition, six other centers also received this distinction, one for the first time and five after having previously obtained it as the CBGP. Additionally, six María de Maeztu Excellence unit accreditations were awarded in this call.
Both Severo Ochoa (SO) centres and María de Maeztu (MM) units, were selected on the bases of their scientific performance over the last five years and of their strategic plans, and after a rigorous evaluation by international scientific committees. The goal of this initiative SO-MM of the AEI is to improve the international impact of Spanish research by awarding grants to R+D+i centres and units that stand out for the relevance and global impact of their research results, thus contributing to improve their international strategic position. Centres recognised as Severo Ochoa will be annually funded with one million euros for four years and grants for hiring 14 doctoral students.
In the words of the CBGP Director, Antonio Molina: “This recognition represents an endorsement of the ambitious science programs of excellence and innovation developed in recent years and a great boost for CBGP researchers that we will be able to tackle three new scientific programs: i) MISIONESCBGP, a cooperative scienctific program between CBGP groups to face the challenges of plant biology and agricultural production; ii) SynBIO2, the new CBGP Synthetic Biology and Bioengineering of plants and associated microorganisms program; and iii) CSPINT, the new international scientific collaboration program to consolidate our Center of Excellence for Plant Environment Interactions(CEPEI) with two institutes of the Chinese Academy of Science (CAS) and to launch new collaboration programs with internationally renowned research institutes. All these programs will finance projects that will be on the frontier of knowledge. To develop these projects, it is necessary to improve our scientific-technological infrastructures and to incorporate new researchers with new expertises, which will be possible thanks to the SO grant”. Dr. Molina also indicated that “this accreditation as a Center of Excellence will make it possible to accelerate the transfer of the knowledge generated and the development of new technologies for the productive sector of the bioeconomy through our CBGP-SusLUTIONS program, which will provide solutions for more sustainable agricultural production responding to the challenges of the European Green Deal, the Farm to Fork strategy, some of the EU Missions, such as Soil health and food, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) " .
Within the human resources context, the SO support will foster training activities for PhD students and PhD researchers, the incorporation of new research staff to develop new research lines in scientific programs and will foster a specific program to promote women's leadership in science (Balancing Gender Program). Dr. Molina added: "this recognition will allow us to attract the best national and international scientific-technological talent and consolidate the path of excellence in science and innovation of the groups working currently at CBGP".
About Centro de Biotecnología y Genómica de Plantas (CBGP, UPM-INIA/CSIC)
The Centro de Biotecnología y Genómica de Plantas (CBGP, UPM-INIA/CSIC) is a joint research centre of the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) and the Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Tecnología Agraria y Alimentaria (INIA), recently integrated as National Centre in the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC).
The strategic objectives of CBGP are the generation of fundamental knowledge on the genetic and molecular bases of key biological and physiological processes in plants and plant-interacting organisms, and on genomics of plants and plant-interacting organisms. The Centre also aims to develop new Computational Biology technologies for the functional analysis of plants/microorganisms.
CBGP researchers are grouped into four main Research Areas/Themes: Plant Development (7 groups), Interactions of Plants with Environment (9 groups), Synthetic Biology and Bioengineering (4 groups) and Computational Systems Biology and Genomics (2 groups). In addition, CBGP has 13 emerging research group leads by Junior Scientist. CBGP has attracted these talented scientists since its foundation, including 11 Tenure-track positions and 3 ERC Starting Grants. CBGP has a remarkable Translational Biology activity within the innovation ecosystem of the International Campus of Excellence of Montegancedo-UPM. This activity has resulted in the creation of CBGP based spin-off enterprises and in the development of new products/processes for the bioeconomy productive