Here at the CNIO over 400 highly specialized professionals are working to defeat one of the main causes of death in our society. On a global level, we are ranked as one of the best centres specializing in cancer research, a claim that can be gauged by the number and quality of scientific papers accepted for publication in addition to the innovative breakthroughs that pave the way for new drugs and therapies to counter the disease. One of our main objectives is to arrive at an understanding of why cancer occurs in some people and not in others. We are absolutely convinced that only by understanding its whys and hows can we learn how to prevent it from occurring and, if that cannot be done, detect it and fight back when it appears.
By the same token, CNIO researchers make every effort to ensure that the benefits of their work reach the cancer patient without undue delay. We find compounds that seem likely candidates to be transformed into drugs and can be protected by patent and licensed out to the pharmaceutical industry. We take the lead in supervising clinical trials and do diagnosis and genetic consultation at the request of thousands of families. Moreover, the CNIO has given rise to new biotechnology ventures that create new jobs and also make direct contact with the patients. We have some of the most cutting-edge new technology at our disposal and our constant concern is how best to put it to use.
We are a young institution and a magnet for talented researchers from all over the world. Top drawer scientists and oncologists of the future come to learn at the Centre. Over 60%of our research associates are under age 40 and over 20% of the young people awarded post doctoral contracts come to us from universities outside Spain. It can hardly be emphaszied enough that the scientific advances that emerge from the CNIO are largely the work of women, who account for 68% of all scientists. That said, it should be noted that the percentage of women in charge of research projects is under 50%. Accordingly, in 2012 the Office of Women in Science (WISE) was established by the CNIO, aimed at countering the gendered stereotypes we see as the source of the inequality of opportunities between men and women, and from which scientific research is not exempt.
Funding for our research is obtained competitively, rivalling with some of the world’s best and most prestigious institutions, as a guarantee of its quality.
We also partner with a number of hospitals and pharmaceutical companies. That close association not only enriches the excperiecne of our personnel but also creates an income stream that helps finance our research. Taken altogether, no less than 47% of the funding needed to carry out that research is obtained competitively. Of the remainder, 18% comes from, royalties, sales and licensing agreements with private sector entities. We remain strongly convinced that scsientific research is everybody’s business and so have set up the CNIO Friends programme (Come and join with us!) that is making it possible for us to carry out more and more research initiatives. That is why we are constantly organuising educational programmes and events, and from time to time, even artistic initiatives.
Science is a big part of our common culture and so we want the CNIO to be a venue for stimulating people and ideas, together with an array of lectures and educational presentations, many of which are open to the public. The reason why is simple: a society that stays in contact with its culure, and so becomes more diverse, more egalitarian, is also a healthier society.