The Lehendakari (President of the Basque Country), Iñigo Urkullu, and the Minister of Education, Cristina Uriarte, welcomed the Scientific Directors of the 3 BERC research centers BC3, BCAM and BCBL, today, on the occasion of their 10th anniversary. Luis Vega (BCAM), María José Sanz (BC3) and Manuel Carreiras (BCBL) attended the meeting with Adolfo Morais, vice-counsellor of Research Universities, and Fernando Cossio, Scientific Director of Ikerbasque.
During the meeting, the heads of the BERCs conveyed to the Lehendakari the trajectory of their scientific work, as well as the main challenges their centers currently face. In 2007, the Basque Government set up the Basque Science Foundation Ikerbasque with the aim of promoting scientific research in the Basque Country. To this end, Ikerbasque set up international programs to attract researchers and also promoted the creation of new BERC research centers of excellence in strategic areas for the Basque Country. As a result of this work, three new research centers were set up in 2008, which are now celebrating their tenth anniversary.
In this decade, these 3 research centres have consolidated their position as a reference in the Basque scientific system, obtaining recognition as centres of excellence at state level. Nearly 300 scientists from 20 countries work in these 3 institutions that have participated in research projects, giving rise to more than 1,700 publications in scientific journals of international prestige and obtaining a return of 48 million euros for research in the Basque Country.
– BCAM – Basque Center for Applied Mathematics is an interdisciplinary research center located in Bilbao that develops its work in the field of applied mathematics. BCAM currently employs more than 90 researchers from 25 countries who work in fields such as the fundamental equations governing the natural sciences, data science and machine learning, the study of singularities from a geometric point of view, and computational mathematics. BCAM addresses another important challenge, which is to foster the transfer of the results of this research of excellence to other scientific, technological, industrial, health and social actors through the construction of mathematical models and their subsequent simulation in three areas: energy, advanced manufacturing and biosciences.
Luis Vega, professor at the UPV/EHU, is leading this research center, which was the first in the Basque Country to be recognized twice as a Severo Ochoa center of excellence at state level. Since its creation, BCAM has achieved a return of 13 million euros in addition to the investment for its headquarters, various projects of international excellence, as well as a scientific production that has become an international reference in its field, having been elected member of ERCOM, Network of European Research Centres in Mathematics.
– BC3 – Basque Center for Climate Change investigates the causes and consequences of climate change and produces multidisciplinary knowledge to facilitate decision-making that integrates the environmental, socioeconomic and ethical dimensions of this matter. Ikerbasque researcher Mª Jose Sanz leads a team of 51 researchers of 12 nationalities. In its 10 years of life, BC3 has achieved a return of 10 million euros from state and international funding sources. In 2017, more than 40% of BC3’s total funding came from the European Commission and other international sources.
In 2018 BC3 has been recognized as a Maria de Maeztu unit of excellence at state level and in 2016 it was recognized as the second most influential Think Tank in the world in the field of economics and politics of Climate Change, and as the first in the European field. BC3 regularly contributes to the scientific work of organisations such as the IPCC and IPBES, the main world references, and advises international institutions (WHO, FAO, WRI, WB, UNEP), state institutions (Spanish Office for Climate Change, etc.) and Basque institutions (Ihobe, Basque Government or Ararteko). The BC3 team has also generated an important scientific contribution through publication in high-impact journals (Nature, Science, PlosOne, Lancet, PNAS, etc.) and through collaboration with the world’s most renowned centers and universities.
– BCBL – Basque Center for Cognition, Brain and Language is a research center located in Donostia that investigates the brain-language relationship. Its research aims to unravel the neurocognitive mechanisms involved in the acquisition, comprehension and production of language, with special emphasis on bilingualism and multilingualism. Ikerbasque researcher Manuel Carreiras leads this institution which has the most advanced scientific equipment in Europe in neuroscience and the talent of 76 scientists from 27 countries. BCBL has also been recognized as a Severo Ochoa center of excellence at state level. In its 10 years of life, BCBL has achieved a return of 25 million euros from state and international funding sources.
The University of the Basque Country participates in these 3 centers, promoting collaborative research between the agents of the Basque science system. Other entities participate together with Ikerbasque and the UPV/EHU as partners in these research institutions: Diputación Foral de Bizkaia, Diputación Foral de Gipuzkoa, Innobasque, IHOBE.
The Department of Education of the Basque Government finances the scientific activity of these centers through the BERC program. Over the four-year period 2018-2021 they will receive a total of 14.6 million euros.