A look back at the year


Communication & Outreach

One of the strategic objectives of CRG activity is “to communicate and establish a dialogue with society, educating the public and taking into account their demands and needs”. To this end, during 2014 the number of activities organised continued to increase. 203 events were held, including workshops for primary and secondary schools, training courses for teachers, school visits, summer internships, the open day, science cafés, electrophoresis kit loans, and participation in fairs and events for the dissemination of science. The CRG, together with other leading research institutes across Europe, continued its participation in two EU-funded science communication projects: EuroStemCell (2010-present) and CommHERE / HorizonHealth (2011-2014), which aim to communicate the results of EU-funded research projects to society at large.


“Stick out your tongue” project. Dr. Toni Gabaldón and Annick Labeeuw (centre) with the teachers involved in the collection of saliva samples.


In September 2014, we started a new ambitious and pioneering citizen science project, mainly funded by the “la Caixa” Banking Foundation, called “Saca la Lengua” (“Stick out your Tongue”, in English). This is the first study into the mouth’s microbiome and involves the collection of 2,000 saliva samples from students in 40 schools around Spain. The aim of the study is to determine the variety of bacteria and fungi present in the mouth’s microbiome and find out if this bears any relation to environmental characteristics or lifestyle. The samples will be sequenced to look for fragments of DNA common in bacteria and fungi. University students and the general public will be also able to get involved in the second phase of the study, taking part in the bioinformatics and statistical data analysis. The project is expected to finish in February 2016.

Different screen-shots of the “CRG Memo Game” App


Also during 2014, the itinerant scientific picture exhibition “TREE OF LIFE. The complexity of life: from the cell to a living organism” was shown in Alicante and Barcelona. In Barcelona, Palau Robert, in the heart of the city, hosted the exhibition, which attracted nearly 20,000 visitors. The production of the exhibition was kindly supported by the Banc Sabadell Foundation. Leica and Hewlett-Packard also contributed by providing some microscopes and tablets used during the parallel activities organised as part of the exhibition in Barcelona. The exhibition was also the scenario for the presentation of the “CRG Memory Game”, an app based on the classic matching pairs game but using scientific images taken by CRG researchers.

Furthermore, the various findings published in top scientific journals, the different activities organised, and the recognition of the CRG as a research institute of reference in the biomedical arena led, throughout the year, to articles in the press and online media, as well as participation by scientists in radio and television programmes. In May 2014, the press office, together with the EMBL, organised a study trip to the CRG and other institutes in Barcelona, supported by the CommHERE project. 15 European journalists, members of the European Union of Science Journalists’ Associations (EUSJA), spent 4 days at various institutes in Barcelona. Moreover, during 2014 the presence of the CRG in social networks, which are proving to be a very effective additional dissemination tool for all activities, increased remarkably.

2014 was a particularly busy year in terms of seminars, sessions and scientific meetings, all held at the institute’s facilities. It is worth highlighting the scientific meetings “Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) 2014” hosted by the International Society for Computation Biology and the CRG, the “1st LightSheet Fluorescence Microsocopy International Conference & 6th LSFM International Workshop” co-organised by the ICFO, IRB and CRG, the 13th CRG Symposium: “Gene Regulation, Stem Cells and Cancer”, the ESF-EMBO Symposium “Flies, Worms and Robots: combining perspectives on minibrains and behaviour”, and 2 editions of the Core Facilities Technology Symposia series.

CRG Communication & Outreach figures

Outreach activities: 203
Audience reached: just over 31,000 people
Press releases & short pieces of news: 41
Written/online media appearances: 779
Radio/TV appearances: 27
Blogs: 62
International meetings: 12
High-profile seminars: 114