I2SysBio obtains the ASPIRA-MaX Josefa Barba Seal of Excellence from CSIC


For the first phase of the MaX-CSIC strategic program, the Institute for Integrative Systems Biology (I2SysBio), located at the University of Valencia Science Park, submitted its self-assessment, which was reviewed by two evaluators. In this first phase, the CSIC recognizes the effort towards excellence made by its research centers and has been passed by a total of 40 institutes. The distinction entails the endowment of 20,000 euros for the development of a scientific project proposal and a plan of excellence

The MaX-CSIC Project is an initiative to promote scientific excellence within the institution. To this end, a general self-assessment framework was implemented, accessible and easy to use by all the institutes. In 2023, the first ASPIRA-MaX CSIC excellence awards were presented to several centers that successfully participated in the pilot experience of the project: The Institute of Advanced Chemistry of Catalonia (IQAC-CSIC), the Leonardo Torres Quevedo Institute of Physical and Information Technologies (ITEFI-CSIC), the Doñana Biological Station (EBD-CSIC), the Geological and Mining Institute of Spain (IGME-CSIC), the Milà i Fontanals Institution for Research in the Humanities (IMF-CSIC) and the Institute of Public Policy and Public Goods (IPP-CSIC).

According to Emilia Matallana, director of I2SysBio, “as a recently created center, obtaining the ASPIRA-MaX Josefa Barba seal is the best stimulus for our institute to continue working on building the reference center in Systems Biology that we want to be, to implement the integrative and multidisciplinary scientific program we have been working on over the last year, and to complete the implementation of all the activity, complementary to the research itself, that defines centers of excellence”.

A team of experts analyzed the leading research centers within the CSIC to determine their defining characteristics. This has served to design a program that can be exported to other research centers to enable them to advance towards scientific excellence. The program includes, among other proposals, the granting of financial aid so that research centers can develop their own action plan. To this end, an itinerary is established that involves the allocation of resources and accreditations of excellence.

"obtaining the ASPIRA-MaX Josefa Barba seal is the best stimulus for our institute to continue working on building the reference center in Systems Biology that we want to be", Emilia Matallana, director of I2SysBio

Thus, the scientific project and the excellence plan, elaborated in the first phase, will be evaluated by internal and external committees. Passing the second phase will lead to the award of up to €300,000 for the implementation and development of the excellence plan. In addition, they will receive the ASPIRA-MaX Sagrario Martínez-Carrera seal of excellence. The third and last phase will consist of the ex-post evaluation so that the centers that obtain a positive evaluation will receive the ASPIRA-MaX Margarita Comas Seal of Excellence, the highest recognition for the effort towards scientific excellence granted by the CSIC presidency.

Each badge bears the name of a researcher who has developed her career in one of the three scientific areas of the CSIC: Josefa Barba, a graduate in pharmacy and PhD in science, developed a prolific career in the field of neurosciences and learning processes; Sagrario Martínez-Carrera, PhD in chemistry, worked in the Department of Crystallography of the now Blas Cabrera Institute of Physical Chemistry and is considered one of the exponents of Spanish science in the mid-20th century, and Margarita Comas, PhD in biology and writer, developed her scientific career in pedagogy, standing out for her work in the introduction of science didactics in Spain and the homologation of women and men in the academic space.