The 11th “Madrid is Science” Fair, organised by the Fundación para el Conocimiento madri+d, has registered a number of visitors in excess of 20,000 people, thus surpassing the number of visitors to its last edition (2019).
During its four days from 2 to 5 March, Hall 14 of the IFEMA Madrid exhibition centre turned its 3,000 metres into a comprehensive exhibition of the Region of Madrid’s R&D&I capabilities for the construction of a sustainable future, showing citizens, from a fun and participatory point of view, the response that Science, Technology and Innovation can give to the challenges facing the planet.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the celebration of the International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development have been the backbone of this edition, which has had the slogan “Building a sustainable future” and around which the different activities that have taken place at the Fair have revolved. Thus, visitors were able to participate in experiments carried out by more than 1,200 students from the 41 participating schools; witness demonstrations by young researchers who carry out their scientific work at leading centres in the Community of Madrid, such as the IMDEA Madrid Institutes for Advanced Studies.
In the case of IMDEA Energía, the activities took place on 2 and 3 March. On the first day, scientists from the Systems Analysis and Thermochemical Processes Unit carried out a quiz for the participants, while several researchers from the Photoactivated Processes and Advanced Porous Materials units developed the workshop ‘Game of Pores: what do coal and a sponge have in common’, as an example of water decontamination.
On Thursday 3 it was the turn of researchers from the High Temperature Unit, who demonstrated the operation of a stirling engine and the capacity of a small-scale solar concentrator, and from the Electochemical Processes Unit, who taught attendees how to make their own button cell battery or to better understand the process of water electrolysis and the Nernst equation.
In 2020 Institute IMDEA Energy obtained accreditation as a “María de Maeztu Unit of Excellence” granted by the Ministry of Science and Innovation through the State Research Agency for the period 2020-2023. The Severo Ochoa / María de Maeztu program identifies and promotes high-impact research carried out in R&D centers in our country. This accreditation is recognition of IMDEA Energy’s track record of excellence and of its human team, making it the first center to obtain this accreditation in the energy sector as a whole.
During these last two years, and in spite of the limitations and difficulties derived from the pandemic, IMDEA Energy has continued to make progress to position itself as a world reference in its field. The research activities developed in the context of the Maria de Maeztu program have focused on three topics of strategic interest to achieve the decarbonization of the transport sector: new concepts of electromobility, solar fuels and hydrogen, and fourth generation fuels, i.e. those coming from waste and residues.
In this context, IMDEA Energy has increased its staff by 25% in two years, reaching a total of 132 employees by the end of 2021. Likewise, 66 students have collaborated with the Institute, carrying out their final degree and master’s degree projects, as well as internships in companies, and a total of 50 visiting researchers have been received.
On the other hand, a total of 236 scientific publications have been indexed in the period 2020-2021, with a percentage of 88% in journals with impact factors in the first quartile and 53% of publications in international collaboration. In addition, 13 doctoral theses have been read and eight patent applications have been filed in the last two years.
In terms of fundraising for the development of R&D activities, a record number was reached in 2021, with 93 active projects and contracts, 50% more than in 2018, which represented a 30% increase in external funding. In addition, a total of 73 projects were initiated in 2020-2021, almost 24% more than in the previous biennium. Among the projects underway in 2021, 22 are international projects and, of these, 7 are coordinated by IMDEA Energy and 4 correspond to prestigious grants awarded by the European Research Council (ERC).
Another milestone to highlight has been the award in 2021 of the HRS4R Seal of Excellence in Human Resources in Research by the European Commission, which distinguishes the work of the center in adopting good practices in terms of recruitment, career development and working conditions of researchers, contributing to the generation of an attractive and stimulating European labor market for scientists, in line with the European Charter and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers.
Finally, the accreditation as a Maria de Maeztu Unit of Excellence has strengthened IMDEA Energy’s scientific and technical capabilities and reinforced its technology transfer activities, as well as its science dissemination and communication activities.
- Launch of the EU-funded project SUN-to-LIQUID II Fuels from concentrated sunlight
- New EU labeling rules to make batteries last longer and keep them out of landfills
- IMDEA Energy opens its doors to more than 100 students during Science and Innovation Week
- David Serrano, Director of IMDEA Energy and Professor at Rey Juan Carlos University, receives the “Miguel Catalán” 2023 Research Award of the Community of Madrid for his scientific career
- Patricia Horcajada, head of the Advanced Porous Materials Unit at IMDEA Energy UAH Award for Research Excellence