The politicians are committed to implement urgent measures to protect and promote science in spain

Representatives of the research centers belonging to the SOMMa alliance - bringing together the 41 Centers of Excellence Severo Ochoa (SO) which CBGP (UPM-INIA) is a member and María de Maeztu (MM) met on November 15, 2018 at Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Oncológicas (CNIO) to celebrate the 100xCiencia.3 Congress: Bridging the gap between science and society.


• The representatives of PSOE, PP, Podemos, Ciudadanos and PdCat agree to execute some short term measures to reduce bureaucracy and improve the science and innovation system.
• The meeting took place during the congress "100xciencia.3: Building bridges between science and society" that has been co-organized by the SOMMa alliance and the CNIO.

• The key note speaker during the event was by Robert Huber, Nobel Prize in Chemistry, who debated about the relations between science and society.


Representatives of the research centers belonging to the SOMMa alliance - which brings together the 41 Centers of Excellence Severo Ochoa (SO) and María de Maeztu (MM)- met on November 15 2018 at the Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Oncológicas (CNIO) to celebrate the Congress 100xCiencia.3: Building bridges between science and society. The third edition - the first one took place after the creation of the SOMMa alliance on October 2017 – focused on the importance of the participation of society in science.


The Congress was opened by Maria A. Blasco, director of the CNIO, Rafael Rodrigo, Secretario General de Coordinación de Política Científica del Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades, and Luis Serrano, president of SOMMa and director of the Centro de Regulación Genómica (CRG).


"One of the government's objectives is to stabilize the science system, improve its management and to have realistic deadlines," said Secretary General Rafael Rodrigo, adding "It is time to develop the Science Law. It's time to proceed with the facts. "


"There are several initiatives that are not related to budgets and that could be implemented in a short period of time if we have a political will. As SOMMa, we intend to work on these issues in order to preserve the science in Spain" said Luis Serrano in his speech. On the other hand, Serrano added: "the members of SOMMa have managed to improve their capacity to obtain external financing, international collaborations and to attract talents, the alliance also bring benefits to the entire R&D system because our initiatives, proposals and efforts have an impact on all the agents of the system, regardless of whether they are members of the alliance".


Maria A. Blasco reinforces this statement: "With more than 40 SO and MM our country has created a network of scientific excellence that has the power to transform Spanish research, and that is building bridges with society, the politics and the business".



Representatives of the science commission of the Congreso de los Diputados debated on the strengths and weaknesses of the scientific policy of our country. Ferran Bel (PDeCat), Juan Bravo (PP), Maria Gonzalez Veracruz (PSOE), Mª Rosa Martínez Rodríguez (Podemos) and Susana Solís (Ciudadanos) participated in the round table ‘Científicos y política científica unidos para la sociedad’ and they agreed to implement short-term measures to reduce bureaucracy and improve the science and innovation system. The debate was led by Nuño Domínguez, journalist of Materia, the science section of the El País newspaper.


Exactly, this year in March, the alliance presented the document 'SOMMa Report: Actions necessary to safeguard the competitiveness of science', which calls for the attention of the political class of Spain to solve bureaucratic obstacles that affect R&D of the country. For example, the disparity of tax criteria and the application of VAT caused enormous legal uncertainty in various research centers. Another issue that needs to be urgently resolved is the stabilization of the staff of the research centers and the actual implementation of the Science Law taking into account specifics of this sector.


In this spirit, during the round table, the political commitment of the parliamentary groups attending the meeting has been that to solve these administrative obstacles was unanimous and they went a step further. They stated that for example, the problem of VAT for science could be solved in two or three weeks.


Robert Huber, Nobel Prize in Chemistry, the event keynote speaker spoke about 'The century of vision: the structure of proteins in drug research'. Huber won the Nobel Prize in 1988, for the study and characterization of protein of great relevance for photosynthesis. Since 2005, he has been developing his research career at the Medical Biotechnology Center of the University of Duisburg-Essen (Germany).


The event was a great opportunity to discuss and share experiences on the participation of citizens in the scientific process and the relationship between science and society. The round table ‘Los medios como canalizadores de la ciencia’ featured prominent journalists from our country as Patricia Fernández de Lis (Director of Materia, El País), Pampa García Molina (coordinator and editor of the Agencia SINC), Noemí Gómez (EFE scientific journalist), Antonio Martínez Ron (scientific journalist of Naukas) and Mónica Salomone (scientific journalist). Most of them pointed out that although scientific journalism contributes to inform society, it must always do so from a critical position and even question the scientific process. Journalists have also claimed that beyond the scientific relevance the stories they publish should be informatively relevant for the social impact or other aspects, not necessarily being the result of news published in a scientific article. Luis Martínez Otero, researcher at the Instituto de Neurociencias de Alicante, led the discussion.


The round table‘El empoderamiento científico de la sociedad’, led by Rosina Malagrida, head of the Living Lab Health from IrsiCaixa, discussed the importance of empowering different social actors in science. Participants in the round table were Maria A. BlascoMaría Gálvez Sierra, Director of the Plataforma de Organización de Pacientes, Paloma Domingo, Director of the Fundación Española para la Ciencia y la Tecnología (FECYT), Ignasi López Verdeguer, Director of Departamento de Ciencia de la Obra Social “la Caixa”.


The Centers and Units of the SOMMa Alliance had the opportunity to present some of their most outstanding initiatives on scientific education and citizen participation in science, providing inspiring examples for the rest of centers and units and promoting the exchange of good practices, one of the objectives of the Alliance.


About the SOMMa alliance


The Severo Ochoa and María de Maeztu accreditations of excellence are the highest institutional recognition for scientific research in Spain, and the centers are selected by an international evaluation committee. These centers cover practically all areas of knowledge, from physics and mathematics to the environment and biomedicine, through the humanities. The SOMMa network was created in 2017 with the objectives of increasing the national and international visibility of science in Spain; promote the exchange of knowledge, technology and good practices among its members, the international scientific community and key stakeholders; collaborate with the rest of the research centers in Spain to strengthen the R & D system and have a voice in Spanish and European scientific policy.


Image of the participants in the 100xciencia.3 congress available here: