The University of Barcelona and the Hospital Clínic unveil a new biomedicine centre with more than 200 researchers
The IDIBAPS has opened a new research centre of more than 5,000 m2, where more than 200 researchers split into 23 different research groups will be working. It will focus its work on oncology, neurosciences and cell therapies along with infectious, respiratory, cardiovascular and renal diseases. The new centre has been possible thanks to a donation by the private foundation CELLEX, sponsored by Pere Mir. The new centre is located within the University of Barcelona’s Faculty of Medicine, which is integrated into the prestigious Hospital Clínic. The centre consolidates Catalonia, and in particular Barcelona, as one of Europe’s main biomedical poles.
Barcelona (ACN).- The IDIBAPS (Institut d’Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer) has opened a new research centre of 5,150 m2, in which more than 200 researchers split into 23 different research groups will be working. It will focus its research work on health issues with a large incidence among the population, namely oncology, neurosciences and cell therapies, along with infectious, respiratory, cardiovascular and renal diseases. The facility will concentrate the existing research groups, which are currently spread out in different locations. The new centre has been possible thanks to a donation by the private foundation CELLEX, sponsored by the Catalan chemical engineer Pere Mir. The new facility is located in the University of Barcelona’s Faculty of Medicine, which is integrated into the prestigious Hospital Clínic. The centre consolidates Catalonia, and in particular Barcelona, as one of Europe’s main biomedical poles, on the forefront of international research. During the unveiling ceremony, the Rector of the University of Barcelona (UB), Dídac Ramírez, stated that “if excellence is to be reached”, research centres “also need to be funded by private capital”, since the money allocated by public authorities “is not enough”.
The new centre will be called the Centre de Recerca Biomèdica CELLEX. It will have 5,150 m2 of laboratories and scientific and technological services, as well as annex spaces, distributed over five stories. The centre is located within the building of the Faculty of Medicine of the UB, in Barcelona’s Eixample neighbourhood, occupying a space that has not been used in recent years. The CELLEX Foundation has invested around €9 million to renovate and equip the laboratories. In addition, the IDIBAPS has put in another million euros to complete the purchase of scientific equipment. Part of the IDIBAPS money is from the European Union’s ERDF Fund, through the Catalan Government and the Instituto de Salud Carlos III.
The IDIBAPS Director, Ramon Gomis, explained that on the first story of the centre the oncology research teams will be located. The second floor will be for respiratory, cardiovascular and renal diseases. The third floor will be occupied by researchers working on neurosciences. On the next floor up there will be those researching infectious diseases, AIDS/HIV and autoimmune illnesses. Finally, on the fifth story researchers will work on cell therapy. Most of the research groups have already published their past results in the most prestigious international journals.
The centre will concentrate the existing research groups, which have been working spread out in different locations, some of them in provisional spaces. In the new CELLEX Biomedical Research Centre they will be able to develop their assignments in much better conditions. Gomis emphasised that “they are very competitive researchers” who are carrying out research “that is very close to society and wants to free citizens from illnesses”.
The unveiling ceremony was attended by the Catalan Minister for the Economy and Knowledge, Andreu Mas-Colell, in charge of managing university and research policies. The Catalan Minister for Health, Boi Ruiz, was also present. Ruiz underlined that the CELLEX Foundation’s private investment is not only for the researchers but is also for the citizens, who are those benefiting from the results of the research. The investment “is not only bringing new structures but it is also working to empower doctors to better treat” their patients, he stated. Furthermore, he praised the importance of focusing on neurosciences, since it is an area with much room for exploration and it affects a large number of citizens. In addition, he underlined that the Catalan “Government has responsibility for research policies” and he emphasised that it will continue this task “with the resources available at each time”. In this sense, Mas-Colell, who is also the Catalan Finance Minister, underlined “the commitment” the Executive has “to keeping up the levels of excellence of this centre and to strengthen it”.
The UB Rector, Dídac Ramírez, thanked the Fundació CELLEX for the donation and emphasised the importance of engaging private investors to fund top research, in order “to achieve excellence” since currently “public funds are not enough”. He stated that one of his objectives while managing the UB, Catalonia’s largest university, is to raise awareness about the importance of the “involvement [of the entire society] to fund its research and its universities”. He explained that this involvement, which is still poor, makes a gap between Catalan universities and those at the top of international rankings. Besides, Gomis also explained that another source of funds are micro-donations made by patients of the Hospital Clínic, their relatives and friends who are visiting them, and even university students. According to Gomis, most of these donations are made to fund a research group working on the disease they or their relatives have suffered, being aware that results will not be reached on the short-term.