SciDF@Bars – Strategies in Science and Science Policy

Scientists Dating Forum (SciDF) hosted another edition of SciDF@Bars on 12 July to discuss the importance of political strategies for science at different levels, such as the European Union, Spain and Catalonia.

Over 50 people were present at Maumau Bar in Barcelona in a summer evening to listen to the speakers and to discuss possible strategies to minimize the brain drain problem that has been pursuing Spanish researchers due to current crisis on this field.

The round table, moderated by Yoran Beldengrün, president of the SciDF, counted on the presence of four experts with hands on experience on the field. Pere Puigdomènech, CSIC research professor at the Center for Research in Agricultural Genomics (CRAG) opened the round table speaking about the importance of political strategies for medium and long-term decisions on budget management, and presented how the European Union political strategies have changed since their beginning on 1960’s.

Josep Martorell, general director for Research in Catalonia from 2011-2016 and current associated director of Barcelona Supercomputing Center, created a timeline to easily explain how political strategies for science have been developed in Spain and Catalunya, and commented how these two governments used to share the same strategies, but no longer follow the same pathways. Furthermore, he mentioned the absence of private sector on strategies planning for science.

This point was also observed, and criticized, by Albert Barberà, recently appointed director general for Research and Innovation in Health of Catalonia, and ex-director of Biocat. He also claimed for reflection over the long-term outcomes Spain and Catalunya may accomplish by collaborating with private sector.

Marga Nadal, director of strategy at IDIBAPS (August Pi i Sunyer Biomedical Research Institute) commented specifically about strategies for science in Catalonia. She highlighted positive aspects of Catalonian strategies and the negative effects of economic crisis and political vulnerability.

Following the round table, participants and the speakers were allocated in four different groups to solve the case study Brain Drain, directed by Laura Diaz from SciDF. This case aimed at discussing how different sectors, specifically the government, universities and research centres, external countries and private sector, could team up to avoid important researchers leaving Spain to accomplish their careers overseas, and to give the opportunity of returning to those who were forced to leave their home country. Every group, representing one sector, brought their main ideas that were debated by the great group. After all considerations, the take-home message was that collaborations between private and public sectors are essential to boost science and give real opportunities for brilliant researchers.

The SciDF@Bars session promoted once again a relaxing time to debate relevant topic. It clearly showed that such a vast topic cannot be covered in only one evening, and this SciDF@Bars can thus be considered as an introduction into a series of events focussed on strategies in science and science policies.  This time, not only photos registered the section, but also Montse Fando Mestre, an urban sketcher, captured all the details while speakers and audience were brainstorming. We look forward to the next event!

Find pictures and impressions here in our Facebook album.

Credit for the organisation of this SciDF@Bars goes to:

  • Round Table Discussion: Yoran Beldengrün
  • Case Study: Laura Diaz, Marta Garcia
  • Communication: Maria Vicioso Casañal, Patricia Laiz, Anna May Masnou
  • Logistics: Diana Macias, Karel W.F. De Pourcq
  • Article: Barbara Rita Cardoso
  • Sketches: Montse Fando Mestre
  • Photograph: Cristina Salado Manzano