ICREA, Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies, is a foundation promoted by the Catalan Government to help the Catalan R&D system to attain global visibility and recognition.

ICREA is an institution without walls. To achieve its goals it works in close cooperation with Catalan universities and research centres by means of long-term agreements that allow ICREA researchers to integrate fully within these institutions.

ICREA performance indicators in 2017 were again impressive compared to those of other research institutions. The impact of ICREA in terms of scientific excellence measured by the number and quality of publications, or in attraction of talent, and also in terms of its social and economic importance for the local community, has been remarkable. This is even more relevant considering that 2017 was a time of political unrest in our recent history.

In 2017 the amount of research funds obtained competitively by ICREA researchers from sources outside Catalonia more than triplicates ICREA’s annual total budget. Additional funds attracted by ICREA researchers have also funded a total of 1820 jobs, 7,2 per researcher on average. In addition, 5 new spin-off companies were created, bringing the total number of such companies participated by ICREA to 17, more than any other similar-size institution in Europe.

The main source of research funding came once more from the European Research Council (ERC). To date, 79 ICREA researchers have obtained at least one ERC grant (21 of them have obtained 2); this adds up a total of 100 ERC research grants.  Only this year, 3 Advanced Grants, 3 Consolidator Grants, and 1 Proof of Concept Grant were conferred to ICREA researchers.

The Senior call 2017 offered 10 new positions in areas of Experimental Sciences and Mathematics, and Engineering Sciences. The attraction of the Catalan research system and ICREA, in particular, was again astonishing. There were 183 valid applications from all over the world, most of them from truly outstanding scientists. In this 2017, 8 new researchers from the 2016 cohort joined ICREA.

The ICREA Acadèmia call of 2016, aimed at professors of Catalan public universities, awarded 15 grants in March 2017. It takes over the 11 awardees of the 2012 cohort. The 2017 ICREA Acadèmia call had to be postponed for reasons alien to ICREA and it is scheduled to open in late 2018.

In November ICREA continued collaboration with the CCCB offered a new cycle of ICREA-CCCB debates. This time with significant changes in format and orientation. This time the debates were entitled “Planeta 2050” and were focused on the impact of global warming on the immediate future of our civilisation. The room was full in all four sessions, thus being a fantastic way for ICREA to reach a curious audience that is outside the academic world and would otherwise remain oblivious to the impact and significance of ICREA’s work.

None of the above would have been possible without the continued and faithful collaboration of the ICREA researchers’ hosting institutions: the universities and research centres of Catalonia. We are very grateful to them. Above all, we are indebted and give our warmest thanks to the Catalan Government and the Catalan Parliament for their strong commitment to ICREA’s success, this time more than ever.