For the first time since the beginning of the crisis, the year 2013 seemed to be the turning point for recovery. In 2013 we continued to successfully attract European and international funding. Highlights include an ERC Starting grant (Fyodor Kondrashov), ERC Proof of Concept (Luis Serrano), ERC Consolidator grant (Ben Lehner) and an ERC Synergy grant (Miguel Beato, Thomas Graf, Marc Martí-Renom, and Guillaume Filion), strengthening the leading role of the CRG in the ERC as the top institute in life sciences in Spain and ranked fourth if all the disciplines are combined. For our postdocs, we successfully obtained a new COFUND grant to continue the Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme and recruit 12 postdocs over 2 calls. Finally, a new CRG Summer Internship Programme for undergraduate students was started up with great success.
Internationally we launched the new mobility programme together with the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg (South Africa) and which is supported by Novartis. In addition, the CRG signed a collaboration agreement with the Argentinean Ministry for Science, Technology and Productive Innovation to create a bi-national institute for bioinformatics and genomics. The EU-LIFE initiative, with 13 top European institutes of excellence in life sciences, is consolidating and planning new joint initiatives for 2014. This year also saw the consolidation of our collaboration with hospitals in Barcelona and Catalonia, and the launch of two annually-awarded institutional grants to foster collaborations between CRG research groups and medical and health-related biotech groups.
Importantly, in 2013 the CRG was awarded the HR Excellence in Research logo from the European Commission for developing and implementing an HR strategy for researchers, and created a new Training Unit to boost training opportunities and the career development (in scientific and technological disciplines as well as entrepreneurship and complementary skills) of all the CRG staff.
In 2013, two junior group leaders left the CRG: Salvador Aznar-Benitah was offered a senior position at the IRB in Barcelona and Mark Isalan moved to Imperial College in London. Added to Hernan Lopez-Schier, who left in 2011 to the Helmholtz Zentrum München in Germany, that makes three junior PIs who received excellent offers before the end of their 9-year terms at the CRG. In 2013 we recruited a new group leader, Sebastian Maurer, in the Cell and Developmental Biology programme who will start at the CRG in 2014, and we opened two new PI positions.
In summary, 2013 was an excellent year for the CRG. Despite the crisis, we have consolidated the institute, managed to attract international funding, set up new groups and foster our international collaborations. This was possible thanks to the collective work of all the CRG members.
Despite the crisis, we have consolidated the institute, managed to attract international funding, set up new groups and foster our international collaborations. This was possible thanks to the collective work of all the CRG members.