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 in these institutions.

2018 was another year of hard work in ICREA. This memoir tries to briefly summarize the activity of ICREA researchers, their research output and some of its social impact.

This year ICREA has been awarded the Human Research Strategy for Researchers Award (HRS4R). The European Commission recognizes with this Award “the institutions which make progress in aligning their human resources policies to the 40 principles of the Charter & Code, based on a customized action plan/HR strategy”.

Here is an excerpt of the conclusions of the report: “[ICREA] is a unique organisation that was established to attract scientific talent to Catalonia. It is an exemplary organisation that has been set up to provide a great deal of research independence for senior researchers. The core staff is small but yet highly productive. There is a very strong international peer review process that has been introduced to hire researchers. It is clear that ICREA adheres to the Principles of the Charter and Code.”

The attractiveness of Catalan universities and research centers to develop a career in research was again corroborated by the sizable amount (around 200) of candidatures for the 2018 call in the areas of Social Sciences, Humanities and Live & Medical Sciences. In addition, 2018 was exceptional since all selected candidates accepted the job offers. This level of success was unprecedented and clearly demonstrates the attractiveness of ICREA. Join us in congratulating the new ICREA Research Professors and their host institutions for this outstanding result.

After a one-year gap, the ICREA Acadèmia call, aimed at tenured faculty in Catalan public universities who are in a fully active and expansive phase of their research career, was launched again in 2018. Resources from both 2017 and 2018 were combined in order to offer 45 new grants. Unsurprisingly, a massive amount of almost 400 applications reached ICREA.

ICREA social impact is many-sided, despite the fact that ICREA focuses on research and research only. An example may be the impact of ICREA in the Catalan innovation ecosystem, which is quickly becoming too big to ignore. For instance, a recent study concluded that ICREA Research Professors are behind 80% of all funds raised in biosciences spin-off companies since 2010.

A token of the research output of the ICREA community is the 2018 list of highly cited researchers, those few influential researchers who are among the 1% most cited globally. In 2018 ten ICREA Research Professors were showcased in the list. This is a stark increase from previous years, partly due to the inclusion of cross-field citations in the analysis. As an institution, ICREA consistently ranks amongst the top research institutions worldwide, in terms of the number and quality (measured by impact factor indicators) of its research outputs.

These citation indicators are only one aspect of many and should not be considered the measure of all things as it is sometimes the case. However, they are certainly recognized and they do provide an indication of influence and notoriety, two things that usually follow outstanding science –although certainly not the other way around.

This memoir tries to convey the vitality and commitment of the ICREA community. Please take the time to browse through it and learn about ICREA, the extraordinary people that are behind it, and the outstanding science they unveil.