A look back at the year


Grants & External Funding

In 2014, the CRG experienced a significant funding boost (€20.8 million) as the two highly competitive initiatives ERC Synergy grant and AXA Research Fund Chair got the go ahead after a negotiation phase initiated in previous years. The CRG was also successful in its renewed efforts to maintain its excellent funding track-record at a national level despite current budgetary restrictions. Financing from the European Commission still represents the largest source of competitive funds with €13.3 million. The CRG ranks 7th in Spain for attracting European funds and holds 2nd position in the rankings of excellent projects funded by the prestigious European Research Council (7 Starting, 3 Advanced, 1 Consolidator, 1 Synergy and 1 Proof of Concept grants). The launch of ‘Horizon 2020’, the new European framework programme for research and innovation, was instrumental in bringing in additional resources, including a new ERC Starting grant (Manuel Irimia) and a unique collaborative project led by the CRG (Luis Serrano) and targeted at developing innovative synthetic biology processes as a platform for vaccination (both projects were still under negotiation in 2014, as shown in Table 2).

Table 1. Total external funding 2014

2014 2013
EXTERNAL FUNDING €000 % €000 %
Competitive grants 20,394 98.2% 11,485 89.6%
          European Commission (FP7) 13,278 63.9% 5,179 40.4%
          National 5,738 27.6% 5,845 45.6%
          International 1,377 6.6% 461 3.6%
   Other external funding 379 1.8% 1,332 10.4%
          National 350 1.7% 1,308 10.2%
          International 29 0.1% 23 0.2%
TOTAL 20,773 100% 12,817 100,0%

Table 2: Competitive grants under negotiation 2014

TOTAL 3,909

The launch of the philanthropic AXA Research Fund Chair initiative with Ben Lehner as first holder of the AXA Chair in Risk prediction and age-related disease stands out as an innovative source of financial aid and international recognition for the CRG in their efforts to predict risk in agerelated diseases and to better understand the health of individuals. In parallel, other outstanding awards were received by CRG young researchers to acknowledge their careers and to support them in their endeavours for developing cutting-edge projects: Pedro Vizán won a grant from the Spanish Association for Cancer Research (AECC), for his studies on cancer stem cells, and Gloria Mas Martín received an award from the BBVA Foundation for her commitment to studying the causes defining the transformation of normal cells into tumour cells. Additionally, CRG Group Leader Gian Tartaglia became an ‘ICREA Senior researcher’ as recognition for his outstanding research record. La Marató de TV3 fundraising telethon also financed Tartaglia’s research proposal focusing on neurodegenerative diseases, one of the 44 awards made in their 2014 edition.

The CRG continues to promote collaboration with the private sector in order to develop common research activities, encourage the next generation of young researchers, and foster constant dialogue with society in general. Private funding includes financial support from “la Caixa” Banking Foundation for the remarkable field study ‘Saca la Lengua’ focused on the biome of the mouth and its possible connections to lifestyle, where active participation is expected from students in a number of schools as well as the general public across Spain (see the Communication & Outreach section to learn more). Two other successful cases of engagement in private-public collaborations are the mobility training programme launched in collaboration with Novartis and Wits University in South Africa, and the translational research study jointly developed by the CRG research group led by Isabelle Vernos and EUGIN Clinic, aimed at improving the understanding of infertility.