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.

This has been one of the most complex years in recent history, with the pandemic affecting each and every aspect of our lives in deep and fundamental manners, and yet ICREA has continued to carry out its mission. Actually, ICREA has managed to increase its contributions to the Catalan research system again thanks to the incredible effort of the researchers and the complicity of every single University and Research Center.

In 2020, all selection and recruitment activities were fully online. This includes the ICREA call, the Acadèmia grant and the evaluation for promotion. Also, ICREA’s Health and Safety unit coordinated efforts with all Host Institutions to ensure that all protective measures and actions were promptly in place.

Our response to the pandemic has been wide and diverse. As the reaction from the scientific community grew, we rounded up an extensive catalogue of all research initiatives led by ICREA Researchers. It was encouraging to see that these actions were spread across the whole spectrum of academic knowledge, ranging from biosciences to disciplines like philosophy and economics. That catalogue was distributed to several mainstream media papers to give increased visibility to the efforts of the scientific community in the fight against the virus and its effects. On another note, we also suspended our policy of residency so that all researchers could telecommute next to their families if need be. This measure is still on and we hope that as the situation improves, we will be able to welcome everyone back home. Our scientific colloquia were moved online, which helped to boost attendance with respect to face-to-face meetings. Several of our scientific highlights of this year are on COVID-related discoveries and breakthroughs lead by ICREA Researchers. I would encourage you to browse through them to get a sense of the wide scope of our scientific and academic achievements in 2020.

ICREA researchers have continued to be one of the most influential scientific communities in the world. Their publications and contributions are very well received by the academic community, independently of the channel.

Moreover, despite the circumstances, ICREA has adhered steadfastly to its key role of attracting and retaining talent. The extremely large number of applications we received is a testimony of the tremendous appeal of our Universities and Research Centers.

None of the above would have been possible without the continued and faithful collaboration of the ICREA researchers’ hosting universities and research centers. We are deeply appreciative to their commitment. Of course, 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 support is evermore appreciated in difficult times such as the ones we are now living, and it is good to know that frontier research, which is so necessary for the well-being of our society, is nurtured by our stakeholders.

Antonio Huerta