The Barcelona City Council and ”la Caixa” Banking Foundation have signed a partnership agreement to advance and strengthen the City Council’s plan for science: Barcelona Ciència. The aim of the plan is to make the city an important European hub of excellence in responsible research and innovation. The experience and current activity of the two Spanish partners of inSPIRES project, IrsiCaixa and ISGlobal, will serve as a starting point.
The agreement is focused on two main lines of action: the creation of the Barcelona CaixaResearch Living Lab, a platform for research and citizen participation; and a municipal call for applications for research grants—in total one million euros—to be funded jointly by the City Council and ”la Caixa”.
Barcelona CaixaResearch Living Lab
The Barcelona CaixaResearch Living Lab will serve as a meeting point for many different actors, such civil society organizations, non-organized citizens, academic institutions and researchers. At the same time, it will be a place where public opinion on current scientific issues can be expressed and gathered. The new platform will host initiatives seeking public participation in research projects or collaborative alliances in the design of research and innovation agendas.
The starting point of the new project is the work separately and jointly carried out by IrsiCaixa and ISGlobal. Thanks to the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme, Science with and for society (SwaSf), InSPIRES project was born with the aim of strengthen communication between scientists and citizens in order to provide input on the research agenda. In this context, the two Catalan partners, IrsiCaixa and ISGlobal, began to work together to create a Living Lab in the city of Barcelona and thus support the rise of this models locally.
InSPIRES members Mª Jesús Pinazo, Project principal investigator and ISGlobal researcher, and Rosina Malagrida -Head of the Living Lab of Health of IrsiCaixa- will be the technical referents of Barcelona – «la Caixa» Living Lab.
Mª Jesús Pinazo stressed that “the involvement of citizens and civil society in research and innovation is essential if we are to achieve solutions that can transform society and improve people’s lives.”
Ageing, Mobility and the Environment
This is the first time a Spanish city council has launched a call offering direct funding for science projects. The list of successful applicants will be published in March and the funding will go to projects seeking innovative solutions in three areas: ageing and quality of life; mobility; and respect for and protection of the environment. The overall aim is to contribute to the modernisation of the city of Barcelona in line with the objectives that govern the actions of institutions within the European Union and worldwide.
In her closing remarks, the Mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, emphasised that this is a strategic project for the city, with a horizon of 2030, “aimed at creating our own economic development model based on our strength in science and research”.