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Barcelona’s Institute of Photonic Sciences is ranked first in the world in the fields of physics and astronomy

The Catalan Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO), based in Greater Barcelona, is the highest ranked centre in the world in the fields of physics and astronomy, according to a survey carried out by Excellence Mapping. This ranking sorts the world’s leading research centres according to 17 different areas of academia. The ICFO was ranked first in physics and astronomy, while the Catalan Institute for Research and Advanced Studies (ICREA) was placed third in this category. Other Catalonia-based institutions that were included in the list were: the Institute for High Energy Physics, IFAE (18th place), the Universitat Autònoma of Barcelona (UAB) and the Polytechnic University of Barcelona (UPC). The Director of the ICFO, Lluís Torner, told the CNA that the Catalan model of research is “highly competitive”.

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09 August 2013 09:09 PM

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ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- On Friday, it was made public that a number of Catalan research institutions and universities have been praised among the best in the world in their category in a survey carried out by Excellence Mapping. The Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO), based in Greater Barcelona, was ranked first in the world in the fields of physics and astronomy. The institute’s Director, Lluís Torner, celebrated this milestone with the CNA and stated that it is “exceptional” that they were awarded first place. He went on to explain that the classification is as a result of “research done by the ICFO that has a global impact”, and the Director assured that they achieved this due to the work “of very competent people in many areas”.  This ranking, done by Excellence Mapping, which sorts the world’s leading universities and research centres according to their achievements in 17 areas of academia. Numerous other Catalan institutions were recognised in the survey. The Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies (ICREA) was placed third in the world for physics and astronomy, while the Institute for High Energy and Physics (IFAE) came 18th. The Universitat Autònoma of Barcelona (UAB) and the Polytechnic University of Barcelona (UPC) were also included. Torner praised the other Catalan based research institutes and centres and stated that these results illustrate how the Catalan model of research is “highly competitive”.


The Excellence Mapping survey has sorted together global research institutions and universities and ranked them according to their performance in a total of 17 different specific subject areas. Only institutions that have published at least 500 articles, conference papers or reviews in a certain scientific subject areas between 2005 and 2011 are included in the list. Excellence Mapping has ordered the survey according to the number of highly-cited papers that each has in their field. In this respect, only precise parts of each institution and centre’s performance are taken into account.

Catalonia: A world leader in specific areas of scientific research

The ICFO is located in the UPC's Campus of Castelldefels, near Barcelona El Prat Airport. The ICFO Director, Torner, has acknowledged that all centres in Spain have “serious financial problems”, but pointed out that the situation in Catalonia is better because they are able to attract investment from overseas. For example, for every Euro that the Spanish public sector invests in the ICFO, the centre receives double from international investment, especially coming from other parts of Europe. “We are in a difficult situation but we have many international resources so we may continue operating at a normal rate”, stated Torner. In spite of the economic situation, he emphasises how many young researchers chose Catalonia as it is home to “cutting edge research”. The success, according to him, is due to the research model that exists and the people that are working there.

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  • An ICFO lab in its Castelldefels building (by B. Cazorla)

  • An ICFO lab in its Castelldefels building (by B. Cazorla)