The "la Caixa" Foundation today held a ceremony to award grants to 33 biomedicine and health research projects to be carried out in research centres, hospitals and universities in Spain and Portugal. These projects were selected within the framework of the CaixaResearch call for Health Research 2023, which aims to promote biomedical research of excellence with a high social impact in basic, clinical and translational research.
The call, to which 493 proposals were submitted this year, is especially aimed at tackling health challenges, such as infectious diseases (where 8 projects were chosen), neurosciences (7), cardiovascular and related metabolic diseases (7) and oncology (6). In addition, 5 other winning initiatives will develop enabling technologies in one of these fields.
Support focused on results that improve patients' lives
The director general of the "la Caixa" Foundation, Antonio Vila Bertrán; the president of the scientific committee of the "la Caixa" Foundation, Javier Solana; and the director of the Area of Relations with Research and Health Institutions of the "la Caixa" Foundation, Ignasi López, presented the grants at a ceremony held at the CosmoCaixa Science Museum.
"Scientific research is fundamental for social progress and the well-being of citizens. Science not only helps us to build the knowledge society, but is also key to improving the quality of life of those who need it most", said Antonio Vila Bertrán.
In addition, researchers Mariona Graupera (Josep Carreras Leukaemia Research Institute) and Carlos Ribeiro (Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown), representing the 33 projects selected in this 2023 edition, participated alongside Ignasi López in a round table where they discussed the challenges and opportunities for research in Spain and Portugal.
One of the challenges described is to achieve greater financial support for research so that it can be carried out in a stable manner. Precisely to help on this point, the "la Caixa" Foundation's call for proposals is endowed with a total of 25.3 million euros earmarked for these 33 projects - 22 of them led by Spanish centres and 11 by Portuguese ones - which will be carried out over the next three years. The grants provide financial support of up to 500,000 euros for projects submitted by a single research organisation and up to one million euros for projects submitted by consortia of between two and five research organisations.
The initiative is carried out in collaboration with the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT) of the Portuguese Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education, which is providing 3.7 million euros to subsidise 5 of the 11 Portuguese projects selected in this edition. The call is also supported by the Luzón Foundation, which, together with the "la Caixa" Foundation, is subsidising a project on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
CaixaResearch for Health Research is a competitive call for proposals that relies on highly prestigious international experts in their fields of study to select the projects with the greatest scientific excellence and social impact. Since the start of the programme in 2018, the total amount of the call has been 120.5 million euros for 171 projects, 117 of them led by Spanish teams and 54 by Portuguese research groups. This is currently the most important philanthropic call for research in biomedicine and health in Spain and Portugal.