The Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology (BIST): Barcelona’s commitment to multidisciplinary research
The BIST, founded in 2015 and headed by Andreu Mas-Colell, encompasses seven leading research centers Catalonia and aims to promote scientific excellence in a multidisciplinary environment
Barcelona is a leading center for pharmaceuticals, technology and start-ups, and also has the potential to become one of Europe's top cities for pioneering scientific research. In fact, the city is already home to some outstanding research bodies, like the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB), the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC), and the ICREA, which runs programs to attract talented scientists.
Barcelona certainly has the tools to enable it to become a benchmark for research in Europe. One of the means to achieve that goal is employed by the Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology, a leading institution that foments multidisciplinary collaboration, the key to becoming a major research hub.
The BIST, founded in 2015 and headed by Andreu Mas-Colell, encompasses seven leading research centers Catalonia and aims to promote scientific excellence in a multidisciplinary environment. Bioengineering, nanotechnology, chemistry, and photonic sciences are just a few of the areas of research covered by the institution, which employs more than 2,500 professionals and has a total budget of 135 million euros.
The BIST seeks to foster multidisciplinary collaboration between centers and to devise new ways of approaching research. It also aims to provide Catalonia with the best research systems and to generate innovative and pioneering scientific challenges for all these scientific disciplines.
The BIST is committed to leading scientific research and reactivating Barcelona’s economy in the post-Covid era through research, innovation and the attraction of new talent. Evidence of this is the plan to turn the site of the former Mercat del Peix into a new complex specializing in biomedicine, biodiversity and planetary wellbeing, with three new buildings for the BIST, the Institute of Evolutionary Biology (IBE-CSIC), and the Pompeu Fabra University. These three research centers are the foundation of a pioneering project to be known as the Ciutadella del Coneixement (Knowledge Citadel). Construction is due to start in 2022 and the complex will open its doors during the first half of 2025. This new project brings Barcelona one step closer to making the center of Barcelona a leading Southern European knowledge hub.
Numerous sectors covering a full range of needs
The BIST brings together the following very different institutions: the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC), the Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO), the Catalan Institute for Chemical Research (ICIQ), the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2), the Institute for High Energy Physics (IFAE) and the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona). Each has its own expertise and strengths, but their collaborative projects are evidence of Andreu Mas-Colell’s guiding vision.
This multidisciplinary research is funded by numerous public and private bodies: BIST’s board of trustees includes the Catalan government, Banco Sabadell, FemCat, and the Catalunya La Pedrera Foundation, but it also enjoys the support of the BIST Friends, which include the la Caixa, Cellex, Bosch, Aymeric, and Joan Ribas Araquistain foundations, amongst others.
Pioneering research in pioneering institutions
- Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG): the medicine of the future based on the innovative science of today
The aim of the international biomedical research institute CRG is to study the complexity of life in order to find solutions for genetic diseases. Research is carried out on genomes, cells, and on organisms’ interactions with the environment. The mission of the center is to employ this knowledge for the benefit of society, public health, and economic prosperity.
- Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC): and the use of new technologies in science
The aim of research carried out at IBEC is to improve health and quality of life and to generate wealth. The institution focuses on healthcare technology, nanomedicine, and regenerative medicine. Its main challenge is to generate key technological breakthroughs that have a significant impact on individuals’ lives and on society as a whole.
- Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO): a leader in photonic sciences and quantum physics
The ICFO in Barcelona is one of the leading research centers in photonic sciences in the world and runs hugely prestigious pioneering projects. Rooted in a fascination for the unknown, the institution employs photonics to find solutions to current and future problems related to health, energy, information, security, and care of the environment.
- Catalan Institute for Chemical Research (ICIQ): international excellence in chemistry since 2004
With more than 230 professionals and eighteen research groups, the ICIQ has three main lines of research: renewable energies, catalysis, and supra-molecular chemistry. Its objective is to employ molecular science in cross-cutting strategies to solve major social and economic challenges.
- Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2): the future in nanoscience and nanotechnology
As well as focusing on nanoscience and nanotechnology, the institute is dedicated to generating knowledge and producing materials and devices in the fields of ICT, health, energy and the environment. Its objectives include gathering together talented Spanish and international scientists to make discoveries that will benefit society as a whole.
- Institute for High Energy Physics (IFAE): astrophysics, cosmology and particle physics
The institute conducts experimental research in basic physics, in particular, particle physics, astrophysics and cosmology. It also works at the cutting edge of detector technology, using its expertise to advance some of the more practical goals of society.
- Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona), a science innovation hub
IRB Barcelona is a biomedical research center that links university, business and society. Its main objective is to understand the foundations of health and disease and to raise awareness of science by means of a wide range of activities involving citizen participation and science education.
Research and innovation in science, health, society, and the environment will consolidate Barcelona’s position as a research hub and as a European capital of science and innovation—an essential future goal for Barcelona.
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