It will be the first research centre specialising in immunology in Spain and one of the first in Europe

The "la Caixa" Foundation lays the foundation stone of the CaixaResearch Institute

De izquierda a derecha: el doctor Josep Tabernero; el Alcalde de Barcelona, Jaume Collboni, y el presidente de la Fundación ”la Caixa”, Isidro Fainé, tras poner la primera piedra del CaixaResearch Institute.
photo_camera From left to right: Dr. Josep Tabernero; the Mayor of Barcelona, Jaume Collboni, and the President of the "la Caixa" Foundation, Isidro Fainé, after laying the first stone of the CaixaResearch Institute.

The Mayor of Barcelona, Jaume Collboni, and the President of the "la Caixa" Foundation, Isidro Fain茅, today laid the first stone of the CaixaResearch Institute, the first research centre specialising in immunology in Spain. The event was also attended by the director of the scientific project of the CaixaResearch Institute, Josep Tabernero.

The future centre, which represents an investment of nearly 100 million euros provided by the "la Caixa" Foundation and has a total surface area of more than 20,000 m虏, has been conceived to become an epicentre of research and scientific development of international reference in immunology.

During the ceremony, representatives of each institution placed an object in a time capsule. Specifically, they deposited a facsimile of a 1932 brochure from the Francesc de Moragas Anti-Tuberculosis Institute, a pioneering facility of its time that worked with one of the first electron microscopes in Spain; the architectural project of the CaixaResearch Institute and a laboratory pipette. 

Render CaixaResearch Institute.
Render CaixaResearch Institute.

The foundation stone marks the start of the construction of the CaixaResearch Institute and comes after the completion of the corresponding administrative procedures, including the approval by Barcelona City Council of the major works licence at the end of September or, previously, the processing of a new planning process which, in addition to the new research centre, will allow the development of a public square.

Likewise, the first steps have already been taken to set up the CaixaResearch Institute Foundation, which will have a seven-member board of trustees appointed by the "la Caixa" Foundation and which will be the entity that will manage and administer the centre. 

Render CaixaResearch Institute.
Render CaixaResearch Institute.

The latest technological advances have enabled the growth of immunology, a very promising speciality that can help us to better understand the functioning of our immune system, our body's first defence barrier. The institute will focus on the processes of the immune system in its interaction with the most prevalent diseases, such as neurological, oncological and infectious diseases, and also on the analysis of the environmental factors that influence it.

As the first activity of the CaixaResearch Institute, the "la Caixa" Foundation will host the seminar Human Immunome Project "Into Action" on 15 and 16 November at the CosmoCaixa Science Museum. This high-level working meeting will outline a roadmap for stakeholders to contribute to generating immunological datasets at scale and building publicly available artificial intelligence models of the immune system. 

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Render CaixaResearch Institute

500 research professionals 

The institute will have world-class scientific activity areas and facilities, such as dry and wet laboratories, scientific and technical services and innovation spaces; office areas for leadership, management and administration; and visitor reception and reception areas for events, training and networking initiatives.

Construction of the first module is expected to be completed in 2025 and the spaces will be adapted for scientific use, allowing the first research groups to be housed.

In a 10-year growth scenario, the new centre is expected to incorporate 500 professionals, including scientists and technical and administrative staff, although the flexible configuration of the laboratory has maximised the use of the space, which will have capacity for 700 people in the event that it is put to new uses, such as hosting spin-offs of the centre's projects. 

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Render CaixaResearch Institute

For the President of the "la Caixa" Foundation, Isidre Fain茅, "this first stone not only marks the beginning of the physical construction of the first research centre specialising in immunology in Spain, but also represents a transcendental milestone in the history of research in our country. Thanks to the joint efforts of different actors committed to the welfare of society, we will be able to promote innovative solutions to the great challenges we must currently face in the field of health, thus contributing to the ultimate goal of the "la Caixa" Foundation, which is none other than to create a better and fairer society, especially for those who need it most".

On behalf of the city, Jaume Collboni thanked the "la Caixa" Foundation for its commitment to investing in research in Barcelona and stressed that "the best investment we can make today to guarantee the process and quality of life is in education and scientific research. Because a country without research is a country without possibilities for development". He also wanted to highlight Barcelona's role as the scientific capital of Spain and Europe and warned of the risk of regression that certain policies could entail, also in this area. "In Spain we need a progressive government so that science continues to advance throughout the country, so as not to take any steps backwards and so that Barcelona continues to receive the investment and recognition it deserves and thus strengthen this capital", he added. 

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Render CaixaResearch Institute

In addition, Josep Tabernero emphasised that "the institute has been set up as an epicentre where science will reach its full potential. The scientific teams will have at their disposal cutting-edge tools, state-of-the-art technology and a first-class research environment".

Attracting talent to boost research and synergies with the ecosystem 

The CaixaResearch Institute aims to attract new international talent to place Spain at the forefront of immunology research. For this reason, Dr. Antoni Ribas, director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy and the Tumor Immunology Programme at the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center - University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), has been appointed chairman of the Institute's advisory committee. Other job openings are currently open in management, research funding, innovation, infrastructure and technology. When fully operational, the centre is expected to include more than 40 research groups and scientific-technical service units.

The CaixaResearch Institute will be the first centre in Spain and one of the first in Europe dedicated to immunology, a key area for personalised medicine, with the aim of promoting translational research based on life science technologies with a multidisciplinary mentality. It also aims to work in a synergistic and complementary way with the existing Catalan and Iberian biomedical ecosystem, especially with the four centres linked to the "la Caixa" Foundation initiative: the Barcelona尾eta Brain Research Center (BBRC), the Institute for AIDS Research (IrsiCaixa), the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) and the Vall d'Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO). 

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The President of the "la Caixa" Foundation, Isidro Fain茅, during the presentation of the CaixaResearch Institute

Sustainable and respectful building with the Natural Park of the Sierra de Collserola TAC

Arquitectes, led by Eduard Gasc贸n, is the architectural studio that is carrying out the architectural project for the CaixaResearch Institute, characterised by the construction of an architectural complex with two buildings and a pergola that dominates and defines the access space.

The centre will be integrated into the Parc de la Serra de Collserola and connected to the CosmoCaixa Science Museum through a new public square, thus generating a new urban space and creating synergies between the two facilities. The CaixaResearch Institute is designed and will be built with sustainability and environmental criteria in mind, using renewable energy from photovoltaic panels and geothermal probes, and will include consumption monitoring systems. It is also planned to have rainwater harvesting methods for irrigation and internal use, achieving 38% energy savings and 40% water savings. On the other hand, it is planned to have an impact on the improvement of biodiversity through the extension of green areas, green roofs and landscaping with native vegetation. 

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The President of the "la Caixa" Foundation, Isidro Fain茅, during the presentation of the CaixaResearch Institute

On the other hand, the improvement of indoor air quality will be achieved through the maximisation of air renewals and the use of non-toxic materials and CO2 sensors.

Finally, by using recycled and reused materials and reducing construction waste, the CaixaResearch Institute will reduce the consumption of material resources. 

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