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February 17, 2020

Spain’s National Research Awards Presented by King Felipe and Queen Letizia

Their Majesties King Felipe and Queen Letizia, accompanied by the Minister of Science and Innovation, Pedro Duque, and by an ample representation of Spain’s science, innovation, and business community, presented the country’s annual research awards in a ceremony today at the Royal Palace of El Pardo in Madrid.

These awards, which were created in 1982, are Spain’s highest honor for scientific research. They recognize Spanish researchers for their outstanding performance in scientific fields of international importance and for their exceptional contribution to scientific advancement in general. They also recognize researchers for improving the understanding of human beings and their coexistence, for promoting technology transfer, and for contributing to the overall advancement of humankind.

The award selection committees were composed of renowned scientists from different areas of expertise. They took into account the merits of each candidate, applying the principles of transparency and equality. The selection committees granted the following awards:

The Gregorio Marañón National Research Award in the field of Health was presented to Valentín Fuster de Carulla. He currently serves as both Director General of the National Center for Cardiovascular Research Carlos III (CNIC) in Madrid and Director of the Cardiovascular Institute and Physician in Chief at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York. The selection committee highlighted his significant contributions to scientific research, as well as to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular ailments.

The Santiago Ramón y Cajal National Research award in the field of Biology was presented to Ángela Nieto Toledano. She is a Research Professor at the Institute of Neuroscience in Alicante (a joint center of the Spanish National Research Council and the Miguel Hernández University), President of the International Society of Development Biology (ISDB), and Council Member of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). The selection committee’s decision was unanimous, highlighting her pioneering study of the epithelial–mesenchymal transition, a transcendent biological process in understanding the origin of cancer and degenerative diseases related to aging.

The Leonardo Torres Quevedo National Research Award in the field of Engineering was presented to Susana Marcos Celestino. She is a Research Professor and Director of the Visual Optics and Biophotonics Lab at Spain’s National Research Council (CSIC). The selection committee’s decision was unanimous, highlighting her pioneering contributions to optical and photonic engineering, and to the industrial development of ophthalmological instruments for diagnosis and correction, which have benefited thousands of patients.

The Pascual Madoz National Research Award in the field of Law and Economic and Social Sciences was presented to Manuel Francisco Carreiras Valiña. He is the Scientific Director of the Basque Center on Cognition, Brain and Language (BCBL) in Donostia-San Sebastián and an IKERBASQUE Research Professor. The selection committee’s decision was unanimous, highlighting his international recognition in the field of experimental psychology. He is known for his ability to create outstanding research groups and his work has extraordinary social impact, increasing the equality of opportunities for people that suffer from deafness, dyslexia, illiteracy, and neurological disorders. His knowledge transfer abilities were also noted by the selection committee.

The Ramón Menéndez Pidal National Research Award in the field of Humanities was awarded to Mercedes García-Arenal Rodríguez. She is a Research Professor at the Center for Human and Social Sciences at the Spanish National Research Council and leader of the Cultural History of the Mediterranean research group. The selection committee’s decision was unanimous, highlighting her studies of religious minorities, particularly Islamic and Jewish minorities and converts in the modern times in the Iberian Peninsula and the Mediterranean. Her historical work is of vital importance for understanding contemporary Europe, especially the contact between religions, cultures, the fear of the unknown, and the dangers of messianism. Her research contributes to analyzing the possibilities of harmony between diverse cultures, including overcoming inevitable conflicts.

2020 call

The five remaining categories of the National Research Awards will be part of this year’s call. Those awards include the Blas Cabrera National Research Award in Earth Materials, the Julio Rey Pastor National Research Award in the field of Mathematics and Information and Communication Technologies, the Alejandro Malaspina National Research Award in the field of Natural Resource Science and Technology, the Enrique Moles National Research Award in the field of Chemical Science and Technology, and the Juan de la Cierva National Award in the field of Technology transfer.



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