- The creation of SOMMa will allow the centers and units to increase their impact, foster collaboration and networking, and enrich the entire R & D system.
- SOMMa has presented the document “SOMMa Report: Necessary actions to safeguard the competitiveness of science” that seeks to reclaim the attention of the political class to address some of the administrative problems in an urgent and lasting manner.
The Alliance of “Severo Ochoa” centers and “María de Maeztu” units (SOMMa) brings together research centers and units that have the Severo Ochoa and María de Maeztu excellence award in Spain. Thanks to the support of the Secretary of State of Research, Development and Innovation, these centers and units have allied to promote, reinforce and maximize, both nationally and internationally, the value of excellence science produced by centers and units and its economic and social impact.
Yesterday in Madrid, the representatives of SOMMa together with the Secretary of State for R&D&I, Carmen Vela, presented the new SOMMa alliance. “Spanish science has centers and units of excellence that compete successfully at an international level. Creating this alliance allows us to join forces, increase our impact and encourage collaboration and networking. In short, enrich the R & D system of this country in the long term, “said Teresa García-Milà, vice-president of SOMMa and director of the Barcelona Graduate School of Economics (BGSE), during the presentation.
The objectives of the alliance include: increasing the national and international visibility of research in Spain, as well as its scientific, economic and social impact; promote the exchange of scientific knowledge and good practices among all the actors of the Spanish R&cD system; establish a dialogue with society and contribute to the promotion of scientific culture; and have a voice in scientific policy in Spain and Europe.
SOMMa centers and units bring together more than 7,000 employees dedicated to research, train more than 500 doctors and the grants received within European projects represent an approximate return of 530 million euros for a period of 5 years . Only in 2016, the research of SOMMA centers and units has been published in more than 5,800 articles in the best scientific journals and has led to 8 new spin-off companies, more than 100 registered patent applications and about 350 collaborations and contracts with companies. “These figures show that the Severo Ochoa program has boosted the impact, international scientific leadership and competitiveness of these centers and units. This alliance will be very positive because it will allow the best centers to work together, coordinated, which will help to expand the impact”, said the Secretary of State for R&D&I, Carmen Vela.
During the presentation, the representatives of SOMMa have expressed, with the support of other groups in the science and innovation sector, their concern about the reduction of funding in R&D and some administrative problems that constrain Spanish science. In particular, the group emphasizes the need for specific and appropriate regulations within the framework of European regulations that safeguard the competitiveness of the sector, as happens in other countries.
“We celebrate the efforts of the Secretary of State for R&D&I to create and maintain the Severo Ochoa and María de Maeztu programs despite the economic crisis and the adjustments in public budgets. Even so, we must insist on the importance of investment in science that requires a long-term State pact”, said Luis Serrano, president of SOMMa and director of the Center for Genomic Regulation (CRG).