The Institute of Cosmos Sciences has been awarded the distinction Unidad de Excelencia María de Maeztu in the first edition of the call organized by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (MINECO).
The distinction María de Maeztu consists on a new modality within the programme of Excellence Centres of MINECO started in 2011 with the only modality Severo Ochoa. The new modality recognizes the excellence of research entities which are included into more complex institutions like universities. The requisites, exigence levels, demands and procedures of evalutaion and selection related with the scientific excellence have been the same as for the Severo Ochoa, as stated in the press release published by the Ministry. The difference between the two modalities relies on the structure of the model of governance and on the organization and management squemmes of the institutions. As an institute belonging to the University of Barcelona, the ICCUB has received the accreditation of Unidad de Excelencia María de Maeztu.
Since its creation in 2006, the Institute of Cosmos Sciences has experienced a great development and nowadays it is a consolidated research institution. The progress of the institute has been noticed all along the previous Severo Ochoa calls where the ICCUB has always achived good positions in the rankings due to its high scientific level.
The ICCUB is a strong research institution in the fields of Theoretical Astrophysics and Particle Physics and even more in Cosmology, an area in which two members of the institute have been awarded the Gruber prize in 2008 and 2012. The ICCUB has developed an ambitious technological programme through its participation in the most relevant international collaborations in Observational Astronomy and Experimental Particle Physics over the last years. Examples of the renowed role of the ICCUB are its participation in Gaia, where the ICCUB team has been recognized by the ESA as a leader in the design of the setup for satelite data exploitation, or the participation in the LHCb experiment, for which ICCUB members led the construction and analysis of a specific section of the detector. Over the past years the ICCUB has given a new impulse to its technological programme by the recent creation of a spin-off located at the new centre BIC of ESA, and a new entity for electronic services (SiUB). Nowadays the institute has 161 members of 21 different nationalities, including permanent staff, post-doctoral researchers, pre-doctoral students and engineers. Besides, ICCUB is one of the research centers with more ICREA personnel (10) in Catalonia.
The distinction María de Maeztu means for the ICCUB a recognition for all the work done until the moment and also an important financial support for facing the challenges in the coming years. Concretely, the financial support of 500.000€ per year during 4 years will allow the institute to improve its scientific programme, enable the organization of more conferences and workshops, enhance the mobility of the members and visitors, strenghthen the technologic knowledge transfer, create new positions for researchers and engineers, as well as broaden the formation programmes by giving fellowships for master and pre-doctoral studies.