King Felipe VI has highlighted the role of science in overcoming the health crisis generated by Covid-19 and has assured that “the pandemic has accelerated this advance” of Spanish research during the delivery of the Rei Jaume I awards, the awards to Spanish researchers with a greater financial endowment, held this morning in Valencia.
The monarch wanted to show “recognition of the Spanish research, scientific and entrepreneurial talent” that provides “solutions that improve the lives of citizens”, as has been demonstrated with the pandemic. “We can be proud to be international leaders in vaccination with more than 90% of the target population immunized,” he said, after recalling that the first major global vaccination campaign was the Balmes expedition that carried the smallpox vaccine on a Spanish ship to various continents.
In addition, Felipe VI highlighted that “we are the seventh country in the world for scientific research publications on Covid and number 11 in world scientific production.” In recognition of this work, he asked “to provide employment, stability and ease” to Spanish scientists.
In this recognition, it also included entrepreneurs who are committed to R + D + i. “We are proud of our entrepreneurs and companies that risk introducing these innovations in their factories and companies.”
In this line, the businessman Vicente Boluda, president of the Valencian Foundation for Advanced Studies, organizer of the awards, also insisted, who launched “a call for us to refuse to believe that science is third-rate in Spain.” Boluda also asked that “we refuse to believe that in Spain it is not possible to undertake” and vindicated the figure of businessmen. “We want to undertake and contribute to generating wealth and employment in our environment without more aid than those that are obvious: less bureaucracy, more agility and that it is truly believed that entrepreneurs will be the ones who will move the country forward.”
“We are businessmen of all sizes who together with our workers and collaborators support the Welfare State and we are businessmen who must take a step forward to increase our commitment to science and innovation,” said Boluda in his speech.
On the part of the winners, Fernando Valladares, recognized in the Environment category, was in charge of claiming that support for science passes through long-term investment, the simplification of procedures and bureaucracy, the firm commitment to equalization professional women and the consolidation of young people.
In this edition, the award in the Economics category was collected by Professor Antonio Cabrales Goitia. As an entrepreneur, Benito Jiménez Cambra, founder and CEO of Congelados de Navarra, a frozen vegetable firm that today owns five plants in Spain, Germany and India, has been recognized.
The prize in the Basic Research category went to Licia Verde, a theoretical astrophysicist, for her work on the composition and origin of the universe. In Medical Research, Eduard Batlle Gómez has been recognized for his research on colorectal cancer and the discovery of the hierarchy of stem cells in the tumor.
Nuria Oliver Ramírez has received the New Technologies award. Oliver was appointed commissioner of the Valencian Artificial Intelligence Strategy by the Generalitat Valenciana.
The awards are endowed with 100,000 euros per category, with the commitment to allocate a part of the amount of the award to research or entrepreneurship in Spain.