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Annual Report: The CNIO publishes its 2019 major scientific and institutional achievements


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The Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) has just released its Annual Report 2019, with the major achievements by the Centre and its research teams last year.

CNIO’s scientific output in the field of cancer research continued to be outstanding. In 2019, 230 studies were published – 33 of them in journals with an impact factor of 10-15 and 24 with an impact factor above 15. These research contributions in the area of health and life sciences have secured for CNIO the second place among cancer research centres in Europe according to Nature Index. In Spain, this level of excellence is reflected in the fact that CNIO is a member of the Severo Ochoa Centres and María de Maeztu Units of Excellence Alliance (SOMM), where CNIO Director Maria Blasco is Vice-Chair.

In 2019, Felipe Cortés and Eva González-Suárez joined CNIO as leaders of the Topology and DNA Breaks Group and the Transformation and Metastasis Group, respectively. These new groups are meant to boost CNIO’s remarkable international leadership in two critical areas in cancer research: genomic integrity and metastasis. Other newcomers were Solip Park and Geoff Macintyre, as leaders of the Computational Cancer Genomics Group and the Computational Oncology Group, respectively. Both groups are part of CNIO’s strategy to boost research in the field of computational cancer biology, a key area when addressing the genetic complexity of tumours.

In 2019, CNIO also welcomed Eva Ortega-Paíno as Director of the Biobank.

International cooperation and collaboration networks play a very important role in the advancement of science. By virtue of an agreement with the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, in 2019 we held a symposium in Israel, organised by CNIO, the Weizmann Institute and Ramón Areces Foundation. It shed light on science as a means of building bridges that connect countries and cementing long-term international cooperation. Moreover, CNIO continues to be a big player in the planning of international scientific events thanks to the CNIO-La Caixa Foundation Frontiers Meetings. In 2019, the Meetings included Structural and Molecular Biology of DNA Damage Response and Heterogeneity and Evolution in Cancer, exploring how cellular nanomachines work to develop new strategies to fight cancer and the potential of big data and the multidisciplinary approach in cancer research.

CNIO’s leadership in innovation remained unchallenged. In 2019, collaboration with industry yielded 1.7 million euros in the form of research agreements and two patent applications with international biotech firms.

A good deal of CNIO’s work has to do with outreach activities that stress the relevance of science in society. On the occasion of World Cancer Research Day, we held an event for the general public – New Horizons in Cancer Research: From Bench to Bedside, at CaixaForum Madrid. In it, scientists, doctors and cancer patients discussed the key milestones and future of cancer research, the latest developments in the study of metastasis, common cancer myths, and the process from discovery in the lab to clinical application.

The Office of Institutional Image and Outreach at CNIO strove to bring science closer to society and emphasise the role of science among citizens. This Office’s most relevant activities included CNIO Arte, an art and science project that in 2019 brought together Ignacio Cirac, physicist, and Chema Madoz, photographer; the CNIO Workshop on Philosophy and Biomedical Sciences, whose first edition was held last year; and Books’ Night, which revisited Victor Frankenstein’s figure in 2019.

In the area of gender equality, the Women in Science Office (WISE) continued to promote the empowerment of women and fight the gender stereotypes that stop women from breaking the glass ceiling. In 2019, WISE was part of the launch of the CNIO Equality Plan, along with the Board of Directors and the Works Council. The Equality Plan contained over 60 measures aimed at promoting gender equality in researchers’ recruitment, training, promotion and salaries, and conciliation between work, family and personal life. In addition, WISE coordinated the 1st SOMM Alliance Meeting on gender equality policies. Finally, on the occasion of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, CNIO launched a campaign, #YoRompoTechoCristal (#IBreakGlassCeiling), raising awareness of the obstacles faced by girls and women when they choose to follow a scientific career path.

In September 2019, CNIO established the Philanthropy and Development Office, aimed at identifying and providing new funding sources that may contribute to the sustainability of the Centre, as well as involving all of society in the mission and activities of the CNIO. The Philanthropy Office manages CNIO Friends, a funding initiative that earned CNIO 515,000 euros in the form of donations and 284,000 euros from legacies and bequests. The Office seeks to build new collaborative partnerships with corporate partners, individuals and philanthropic foundations.

For further information about CNIO’s activity and results in 2019, you can read our 2019 Annual Report in the following link: https://www.cnio.es/en/research-innovation/annual-report/

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