On June 28 more than 300 ICREAs and ICREA Acadèmia fellows gathered to celebrate 15 years of growth and recognition. In a warm evening with clear skies, the celebration event began with a series of castells (human towers) as a symbol of the collective effort for excellence of ICREA and the other players of the Catalan research system.
After the performance, ICREA Director Antonio Huerta presented some indicators of ICREA’s success, showing that ICREA is on a par with the world’s leading academic and research institutions, such as Caltech, MIT, Berkeley, Harvard, Princeton, Oxford, and Cambridge.
ICREA’s first director Salvador Barberà, who was also present by videoconference, and Andreu Mas-Colell, the creative mind and main promoter behind the ICREA project when he was the Catalan Government’s Minister for research, shared with us the concept and rationale behind ICREA. Finally, we listened to the President of the Catalan Government, Carles Puigdemont, endorse a research-based economy as the ideal future for our country.
The event then turned personal: three ICREAs took the stage to share their experience and their visions on ICREA and to reflect on how much it has changed over time, going from humble origins to the recognition and projection that ICREA has today. A band of musicians hidden among the audience completed the surprise.
Also present in the event were the Catalan Government Minister responsible for research, Jordi Baiget, ICREA’s second Director Enric Banda, and of course Jaume Bertranpetit, who was the Director of ICREA for 8 years. Other personalities included Arcadi Navarro, Secretary of Universities and Research and also an ICREA Research Professor, and many more authorities from Catalan universities and research institutions.