Record-wet and record-dry months increased in regions worldwide: climate change drives rainfall extremes

More and more rainfall extremes are observed in regions around the globe – triggering both wet and dry records, according a new study involving ICTA-UAB researcher Finn Mempel.

Success at ICTA-UAB: Six ERC Grants In Three Years

The Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) has been awarded six European Research Council (ERC) grants in three years, from the end of 2015 to the end of 2018. Each project (of between 1.5 and 2 million euros) lasts for five years and allows the recruitment of a team of six or seven doctoral students and postdocs.

Learn to explain your research in 2 minutes and win the Elevator Pitch competition

The Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, IBB, INc and ICTA-UAB institutes announce a competition for the doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers at their centres.

ICTA-UAB researcher Gara Villalba receives an ERC Consolidator Grant

The European Research Council (ERC) announced the recipients of its Consolidator Grant competition: 291 top scientists across Europe.

The ICTA-UAB awarded an Erasmus+ for running a project on higher education and research in Biosphere Reserves

For the first time since its founding, the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) has been awarded approximately 1 million euros by the European Commission through the Erasmus+ funding scheme.

ICTA-UAB contributes to bridging science and society in the 100xCiencia.3

ICTA-UAB took part in the 100xCiencia.3 “Bringing Science and Society”, the annual event of the SOMMa Alliance held on November 15th at the CNIO in Madrid.

Citizens prefer landscapes that combine nature with built infrastructure

A pioneering study analyses the photographs shared by citizens in social networks to evaluate the aesthetic consideration of natural landscapes.

Co-managed small-scale fisheries lead to social and ecological improvements

The co-management model of small groups of fishermen contributes to a greater abundance and habitats of species.

ICTA-UAB to design participative and concurred forest fire prevention strategies for the Montseny region

Scientists from the Institute for Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) aim to design prevention strategies for forest fires occurring in the Montseny Biosphere Reserve through a citizen participation process.

Nace El Observatorio del Besòs: un proyecto de seguimiento de la calidad de los sistemas fluviales de la cuenca

La Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) a través del Institut de Ciència i Tecnologia Ambientals (ICTA-UAB), y el Consorci Besòs Tordera evaluarán el estado de calidad a largo plazo de la cuenca del Besòs gracias a la creación de la Observatorio del Besòs.

Shift in large-scale Atlantic circulation causes lower-oxygen water to invade Canada's Gulf of St. Lawrence

The Gulf of St. Lawrence has warmed and lost oxygen faster than almost anywhere else in the global oceans.

Climate Change Modifies the Composition of Reefs

Corals devastated by climate change are being replaced naturally by other species such as gorgonians, which are less efficient in acting as a carbon sink.

ICTA-UAB launches the first master’s Degree in “Political Ecology. Degrowth and Environmental Justice”

The Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA-UAB) launches the master’s Degree in “Political Ecology.

Pioneering study analyses the effects of forests on human health

A group of volunteers have participated in an experimental study conducted by the ICTA-UAB to analyse the potential health benefits of forests.

Marine Litter on Mediterranean Beaches Triples in Summer

The Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) analyses and quantifies the waste generated by tourists in eight islands of the Mediterranean as part of the European BLUEISLANDS project.

Mapping the Urban Vitality of Barcelona

Researchers at the UAB have mapped Barcelona and and 9 surrounding towns using a new methodology based on urbanism activist Jane Jacobs' ideas on how cities should be configured to become vital spaces: 25% of the area is classified as having high vitality.

Agricultural intensification not a “blueprint” for sustainable development

Social and ecological results of increased agricultural intensification are not as positive as expected.

Green urban planning must consider social equity criteria

Cities that do not include social equity criteria into their political strategies to make their urban environment greener and more ecological will not achieve long-term sustainability and risk creating green enclaves only for the social elite.

The ICTA-UAB alerts of a new invasive Asian beetle pest in Catalonia that kills mulberry trees

A study by researcher of the ICTA-UAB and the Department of Agriculture Víctor Sarto i Monteys has identified in the province of Barcelona the presence of a species from Asia that could spread through Europe.

More than 120 ICTA-UAB researchers addressed environmental challenges at a symposium, especially those arising from global and...

The Institut of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) organized its 1st Spring Symposium with the aim of addressing some of the main environmental and sustainability challenges.

Low-carbon energy transition requires more renewables than previously thought

A new study by ICTA-UAB analyzes the impacts on lifestyles of substituting fossil fuels for cleaner energies.

Climate Change Threatens World's Largest Seagrass Carbon Stores

Shark Bay seagrass carbon storage hotspot suffers alarming losses after a devastating marine heat wave, according to a study led by ICTA-UAB researchers.

Amazon's indigenous people hunt animals feeding in areas contaminated by oil spills

A study by the ICTA-UAB and the UAB Department of Animal Health and Anatomy demonstrates that the main species hunted by the indigenous popoulations of the Peruvian Amazon ingest water and soil contaminated with hidrocarbons and heavy metals.

The new Planttes app warns of allergy risks in different urban areas

The Planttes application is a citizen science project which aims to encourage people to identify and locate on a map the existence of allergy-causing plants and indicate their phenological state.

ICTA-UAB’s success: five ERC grants in two years

The Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) has been awarded five European Research Council (ERC) grants in two years, which is about ten per cent of all ERC grants arriving in Catalonia over the period from the end of 2015 to the end of 2017.

New ICTA-UAB 'Welcome Guide'

The new ICTA-UAB 'Welcome Guide' it is at your disposal now. With this document, we aim to help you discover the basics of the PhD programme, ICTA-UAB’s structure, etc.
The Severo Ochoa Centres and Maria de Maeztu Units Alliance (SOMMa) aims at promoting Spanish science of excellence, and safeguarding its competitiveness

Date: 2018-03-13

SOMMa Alliance

The creation of SOMMa will allow research centres and units to increase their impact, foster their cooperation and work as a network, and enrich the R+D system as a whole.
SOMMa has presented the document “SOMMa Position Paper: Actions required to safeguarding science competitiveness”, which aims at drawing the attention of politicians to tackle some of the current administrative issues urgently and in a long-lasting manner.
The Severo Ochoa Centres and Maria de Maeztu Units Alliance (SOMMa) gathers research centres and units that received the Spanish Severo Ochoa and María de Maeztu excellence awards respectively. Thanks to the support of the Spanish State Secretariat for Research, Development and Innovation, these centres and units have joined efforts to promote, strengthen and maximise at the national and international level both the value of science of excellence produced by research centres and units, as well as its economic and social impact.
In an event held in Madrid on Monday, March 12th, representatives of SOMMa, together with the Spanish State Secretary for R+D+i, Carmen Vela, presented the new SOMMa alliance. “Spanish science comprises centres and research units of excellence that compete successfully at an international level. Uniting into this alliance allows us to join efforts, increase our impact and promote collaboration and networking. In summary, to enrich the R+D system of our country on the long run," expressed Teresa Garcia-Milà, vice-chair of SOMMa, and director of the Barcelona Graduate School of Economics (Barcelona GSE), during the presentation.
Among the objectives of the Alliance stand out: to increase the national and international visibility of Spanish research, as well as its scientific, economic and social impact; to promote the exchange of scientific knowledge and good practice between the different actors of the Spanish R+D system; to establish a dialogue with society and contribute to the nurturing of scientific culture; and to have a voice in scientific policy both in Spain and in Europe.
The full body of SOMMa centres and units gathers more than 7,000 staff dedicated to research, graduates every year more than 500 PhD candidates, and perceives funding for European projects representing an approximate turnover of 530 million Euro over a five-year period. In 2016 alone, research produced in SOMMa centres and units has been published in more than 5,800 papers in the best scientific journals, has given rise to 8 new spin-off companies, has yielded more than 100 patent applications and approximately 350 collaborations and contracts with companies. "These figures prove that the Severo Ochoa and María de Maeztu program has boosted the impact, international scientific leadership and competitiveness of these centres and units. The alliance will be very beneficial because it will allow the best centres to work together in a coordinated manner, which will contribute to expand their impact," declared the Spanish State Secretary for R+D+i, Carmen Vela.
Likewise, with the support of other organizations of the science and innovation sectors, SOMMa representatives stated their concern regarding the decrease of the R+D public funding, as well as the administrative issues constraining Spanish science. In particular, these organizations concur in highlighting the necessity to have specific, adequate regulations within the framework of European legislation safeguarding the competitiveness of the sector, as it happens in other countries.
“We acknowledge the efforts of the Spanish State Secreatariat for R+D+i to create and preserve the Severo Ochoa and María de Maeztu program despite the economic crisis and the public budget adjustments. Even so, we must insist in the importance of the investment in science, which requires a long-run State agreement,” affirmed Luis Serrano, SOMMa hair and director of the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG).
Apart from requesting a firm commitment to uphold funding levels, SOMMa also exposes the existence of certain administrative particularities severely compromising the R+D system, which require of political will to be solved. During the event, the document “SOMMa Position Paper: Actions required to safeguarding science competitiveness” was presented, which intends to draw the attention of politicians to tackle the aforementioned issues urgently and sustainably.
In summary, the three administrative issues exposed in the report refer to the criteria for VAT deduction, the personnel hiring regulations, and the new public-tenders law . These three subjects are currently causing serious problems to a number of research centres, and can potentially affect all other research institutions of the Spanish R+D system.
The position paper proposes to reach a transversal agreement that should be backed by all parliament groups, and includes as possible solutions:
The consideration of research, and basic research in particular, as an economic activity, as well as to note that research is an activity of general interest, whose competitive funding should not be subject to VAT.
The modification of the public-tender regulations for research centres and universities adapting it to their needs, within the framework of European regulations.
The loosening of existing limits to the staff turnover rate, particularly for structural staff, as well as the inclusion of particular non-permanent, open-ended contract typologies. These contracts could eventually be covered with competitive funds from the State’s R+D+i Grants scheme, and should not be taken into account within the staff turnover rate.
In general, the current situation affecting the research centres regarding the above mentioned administrative issues, is the result of putting research centres and universities on the same level than other public administrations, without taking into consideration the particularities and necessities of the scientific activity. "We need to have  science also present in the political agenda and we hope that SOMMa will be able to work together with the Spanish Secretariat for R+D+i in that direction, for the benefit of not only the centres and units of the alliance, but of all the R+D system in Spain."
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