We are sure that this report will help to spread the vitality of ICMABers, to widely transmit the many new ideas and achievements that we have made and our passion for progressing towards a better future
Welcome to the ICMAB Annual Report 2018!
This annual report corresponds to that of the third year of our Severo Ochoa “Center of Excellence” called “Smart FUNctional MATerials for social grand challenges” (FUNMAT). The Research Program includes several scientific and technological actions addressing three very timely social grand challenges: Clean and Secure Energy, Sustainable and low cost electronics and Smart Nanomedicine. The R&D activities are organized following 5 different Research Lines (RLs): RL1: Sustainable energy conversion and storage systems; RL2: Superconductors for power applications; RL3: Oxide electronics; RL4: Molecular electronics; RL5: Multifunctional nanostructured biomaterials. I’m sure you will enjoy reading the provided summaries of our research and the different activities providing evidence of the ICMAB enthusiasm and effectiveness in advancing knowledge and address the critical goals of these challenges.
One of the priorities of our FUNMAT project was the attraction of new talent. The success in this issue has been overwhelming as demonstrated by a huge increase of the total personnel at ICMAB: 80 more people since starting FUNMAT, i.e. 65 % increase of non-permanent people, reaching a total of 340 people. We had in 2018 a total of 113 PhD fellows (47 % of them from abroad, from 24 different countries), 58 postdoctoral researchers, 34 undergraduate and master students and we also assured 3 new permanent scientists reaching a total of 61. The availability of new spaces in the neighboring MATGAS building has been essential to properly accommodate this outstanding staff growth.
The R&D activities and projects where our researchers have been engaged are surely deeply diversified. For instance, we have been awarded up to 2018 with a total of 9 ERC Grants (2 more will start soon), additionally, we were also awarded with several new outstanding European research projects. Overall, during 2018 a total of 35 European or international projects were alive which have provided to ICMAB a total budget of 22.2 M€. The total budget for 2018 is similar to 2017 (14.7 M€) and consolidates a 34 % growth since starting FUNMAT thanks to a competitive funding of 64 %. The success in attracting and managing competitive funds strongly relies on the international leadership of our researchers and also on the support of the Strategic Project Managing Unit build up in the scope of FUNMAT and the general administration and maintenance staff. It is also worth to mention that FUNMAT has strongly promoted the internal synergy among research groups, for instance through the allocation of 24 Frontier Interdisciplinary Projects (FIP).
The scientific production of ICMAB researchers continues to be outstanding and of high quality, a total of 226 articles were published, reaching an average impact factor of the journals of 6.30 in 2018. As an indicator of our outstanding impact we should also mention that ICMAB reached the highest CSIC Nature Index per researcher and the second position in absolute values. We continue also to increase the total number of citations (> 145.000 at the end of 2018 from 5,223 publications). Our researchers are widely selected to lecture in international conferences as reference speakers and they receive awards and recognitions.
The scientific highlights that we selected for this report correspond to outstanding publications of the different Research Lines. I’m sure you will enjoy reading these presentations about the diverse topics investigated at ICMAB. They cover contributions at the frontiers of materials research. You will see how we envisage novel research opportunities to make synthesis and processing of materials, how we use or develop new advanced tools to characterize or simulate properties of materials and also how these materials are integrated into devices or adapted for competitive practical applications, bringing appealing opportunities for technological innovation. You will see how we tune optical properties of sustainable cellulose through plasmonics, of low cost photovoltaic cells or inorganic nanotube heterostructures, you will further understand how complex is the chemistry of batteries and supercapacitors and how we can make them more competitive. Multifunctionality of complex oxides remains a topic where ICMAB is extremely active: new magnetic, ferroelectric or superconducting epitaxial thin films with controlled nanostructures and defects show a plethora of attractive properties useful for information technologies or power applications. Understanding and controlling the electronic properties of molecular materials at the nanoscale is shown to be a very rich source of appealing properties which the ICMABers know how to design and use in electronic devices. Finally, remarkable and very promising advances on materials for nanomedicine are demonstrated, spanning from nanoparticles, nanovesicles, metalorganic frameworks and molecules which help to grow cells, deliver drugs for specific therapies or create biomarkers for improved imaging.
Overall, you will be able to realize that these advances are expected to contribute to address the three social challenges of FUNMAT.
The international evaluation of the ICMAB activities by our Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) was celebrated through a third edition which focused particularly this year on three Research Lines: RL2 “Superconductors for power applications”, RL4 “Molecular electronics” and RL5 “Multifunctional nanostructured biomaterials”. The members of the SAB strongly appreciated the high quality and excellence of the research being performed and they provided useful advice for the future strategies of ICMAB.
The success in increasing the ICMAB visibility is a remarkable success of our new Communication and Outreach office. A strong increase of the number of outreach activities developed by the ICMAB researchers and technicians has been registered, together with an enhanced impact in the social media, for instance the ICMAB web site reached the highest visibility of CSIC in 2018. An external evaluation of the knowledge transfer capabilities of ICMAB was performed during 2018 which is being extremely useful to focus our goals and promoting our interaction with external stakeholders, and starting to give fruit.
In conclusion, we are sure that this report will help to spread the vitality of ICMABers, to widely transmit the many new ideas and achievements that we have made and our passion for progressing towards a better future.
For more information about the ICMAB activities you can access the website version of our report (https://resources.icmab.es/annualreport2018/).
Enjoy the tour!
Director of ICMAB