Letter from the Director



Emilio Palomares

Dear friends,

Thank you for your interest in the 2020 ICIQ Scientific Report. I hope you find the information useful.

This is my first “Letter from the Director” in our annual report. I had the honour of being appointed ICIQ Director on July 17th, 2020. As I stated back then, I am convinced that at ICIQ I have the best possible colleagues and the finest team to work with. I am sure that together we will build on ICIQ’s track record of excellence with an inclusive international programme based on four pillars: Cooperation, Education, Knowledge and Innovation.

Let’s start by focusing on our 2020 achievements. The Year 2020 was indeed a difficult one. We cannot overlook the way COVID-19 pandemic has affected our work and most importantly, our personal life.

We at ICIQ joined efforts in providing safety equipment (gloves and face masks) and hydrogel for those at the forefront of the pandemic. As researchers, we tried our best to continue doing research and mentoring our PhD students and postdoctoral researchers despite the difficulties. In these times, research, more than ever, must go on.

The past year also brought much good news. We were accredited as a “Severo Ochoa Centre of Excellence” (Ministry of Science and Innovation) for the second time. This represents an annual allocation of one million euros during a period of four years to implement a challenging project about sustainability through advanced catalysis. Moreover, one of our group leaders, Prof. Ruben Martin, obtained an ERC (European Research Council) Advanced Grant and, last but not least, we secured funding, for LICROX, a European collaborative project coordinated by Prof. Antoni Llobet, which aims at converting CO2 into solar fuels

As for our research outputs, the institute continued being very active, publishing 131 high-quality scientific papers during the year (77% in the first quartile journals) with an average impact factor of 9,85. Once again, the institute topped international rankings measuring scientific excellence like excellencemapping.net and http://www.natureindex.com.

What lies ahead is our commitment to contribute with our research to the energy transition that our society needs. We participate in the South Catalonia Green Hydrogen Platform, coordinated by the Universitat Rovira i Virgili, which aims at promoting the introduction and consolidation of Green Hydrogen as a sustainable fuel in the face of climate change. Our researchers are developing new technologies to transform solar energy into electricity and/or fuels, thus contributing to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.  And we are developing new strategies and devices for splitting water into its components: hydrogen and oxygen.

The future is green and we want to play a key role in this matter by conducting research and making society aware of the importance of science to make our planet a fairer and better place for all.

Best regards,
Emilio Palomares
ICIQ Director