While 2017 was a year of evaluation as the 2015-2017 Strategic Plan came to an end, 2018 has been the year of envisioning how IDIBELL is to face its many challenges ahead. An intensive and collaborative effort involving researchers -gathered at the annual retreat-, program coordinators, works council, administration and the Internal Scientific Board was made to write a new Strategic Plan. The renewed External Scientific Board had also a key role in their first meeting in our premises in May. After incorporating many of the suggested amendments, the Board of Trustees discussed and approved the new 2018-2022 Strategic Plan in December. This ambitious Plan pushes IDIBELL to conduct excellent clinical-oriented research that integrates knowledge and innovation in health to improve the quality of life of citizens. We envision ourselves as a European reference in health science, proudly rooted in our local environment contributing to the sustainable growth of the Bellvitge Campus. Finally, we are committed to attracting talent in the distinct health disciplines in coordination with all the partner institutions in the Campus.
Research carried out by IDIBELL researchers keeps translating into a very good scientific productivity, as exemplified by the 1260 scientific publications (66% in Q1 and 37% in the D1). More than 250 new clinical trials opened this year while we keep strengthening the infrastructure supporting the high-quality clinical research led by clinicians at Bellvitge University Hospital and the Catalan Institute of Oncology. A sustained effort in the promotion of technology transfer and innovation translated in year 2018 in the launching of two new spin-offs: ADmit Therapeutics, led by Marta Barrachina, and RemAb Therapeutics, led by Rafael Mañez, a remarkable milestone for the Campus. Regarding talent attraction and retention, IDIBELL has provided permanent positions to four researchers holding Miguel Servet contracts and has welcomed four new PIs. Also, our faculty has been awarded key national (AECC grupos estables) and international funding (MSCFA, CRUK-AICR-AECC and Dept of Defense USA), reflecting a long-term effort to raise more international funding. As an institute, IDIBELL has been recipient, together with L’Hospitalet City Council, of a grant aiming to improve our research facilities and promote interaction with public companies.
From the organizational standpoint, the integration of the Center of Regenerative Medicine of Barcelona (CMR[B]) has made significant advances as new faculty joined. A new round of group evaluation was launched, with Oncobell, the largest program of our Institute, the first to go through it. By the end of the year, the evaluation of 4 additional programs started. In year 2020 this evaluation round will be eventually completed, providing us with an excellent tool to support researchers in their tasks. Finally, a new organizational chart has been approved in order to improve our efficiency and effectiveness in supporting our outstanding research community. A restyled logo and a new website have been external signs of these changes.
It is always reassuring to obtain external recognition. On top of the publications and funding granted to researchers, IDIBELL was reaccredited as a CERCA center and begun the process to renew its accreditation as a Health Research Institute by the Carlos III Health Institute. Moreover, our animal facility has been re-accredited by AAALAC after having undergone a major reorganization linked to the externalization of the service.
Finally, I would like to highlight that IDIBELL keeps committed to be open to the society through public engagement (often involving our youngest scientists) and science education activities aimed at secondary and high school students (i.e. tandem with INS Bellvitge). This is combined with a more proactive strategy regarding open access that facilitates the dissemination of our science. Last but not least, gender equality is also present in IDIBELL. On top of implementing gender-balanced policies, IDIBELL organized the first sL’Ham of women scientists, which is a great asset for the dissemination of good science performed by women.