Foreword of the Director

ICMAB has been a very active and enthusiastic research center in advanced materials during our already long history, more than three decades.

Xavier Obradors
ICMAB Director

Welcome to the Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona (ICMAB) Annual Report 2016! We have always distinguished ourselves by a hard working profile and a search for excellence and international leadership in the materials research field. The year 2016 has been, however, a very special one which marks an important milestone in our history: we have been recognized with the label “Center of Excellence Severo Ochoa” by the Spanish Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness. Our research program and strategic plan defined for the 2016-2019 years is centered on “Smart FUNctional MATerials for social grand challenges” (FUNMAT). The Severo Ochoa recognition is now certainly helping us to further boost a future where brilliant young scientists are taking over a renewed leadership at ICMAB. Our commitment is to further enhance the international leadership and visibility, as well as to increase our success in transferring to the society the generated knowledge and technologies. We are sure that our work will benefit people to face social challenges, such as the transition towards a clean and secure energy and the implementation of smart and sustainable electronic technologies or smart nanomedicine.

This Annual Report 2016 summarizes the research and institutional activities, the financial status of our Institute for the year and a list of the main indicators. For instance, you will know that ICMAB publishes more than 220 articles per year (165 of them in Q1 journals) with an average Impact Factor of 6.26, that ICMAB articles receive more than 12.000 citations per year and that we have accumulated more than 120.000 citations since we started our research life. The ICMAB researchers made key contributions during 2016 which are expected to have high scientific or technological impact. For instance, we have developed a new class of Calcium-based batteries, we have defined how to increase photovoltaic efficiency of organic solar cells, we have discovered new intricate interplays between superconductivity and ferromagnetism, we have shown that novel magneto-optic effects in ferromagnetic oxides may lead to novel information storage routes, we have fabricated by self-assembly new types of organic electronic transistors of potential interest for biochemical applications and we have used carbon nanotubes to encapsulate chemicals for biomedical imaging and therapy.

During 2016 we celebrated our first evaluation meeting with the new appointed Scientific Advisory Board, which highlighted the efficiency, the excellence and the enthusiasm of the ICMAB staff. The remarks and advices of this Board are of a great support to manage successfully the ICMAB and to establish priorities in our Strategic Plan. These evaluation meetings will be celebrated on a yearly basis covering the general evolution of ICMAB with specific emphasis to several of the 5 Research Lines every two years. 

The support of the Severo Ochoa action is certainly being very helpful to foster our international competitiveness. Several institutional priority actions have been implemented during the first year and are being developed during the second year. I would like particularly to mention the strengthening of the “Strategic Managing Unit” and the Communication and Technology Transfer activities of ICMAB. This helps to be more successful in being engaged in EU Horizon 2020 projects. It is also becoming very encouraging the success in promoting the “Frontier Interdisciplinary Projects” as internal actions, which help to further enhance the  synergy among research groups, to strengthen scientific careers and to make the groups more competitive in external competitive calls. 

I would like to stress, as a very remarkable sign of our success in attracting talent and our international competiveness that 8 of our scientific staff has been awarded with 9 ERC grants. This is really an outstanding indicator taking into account that ICMAB has 57 permanent scientists. Actually, all the 5 Research Lines of FUNMAT have at least one ERC project associated besides other national and international projects. It is also particularly remarkable that our ERC grants are associated to three different research areas, thus signaling our broad and interdisciplinary approaches: “Products and processes engineering”, “Synthetic chemistry and materials” and “Condensed matter physics”. The deployment of these new research initiatives has been made possible thanks to the agreement of CSIC, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) and Air Products, in the scope of the common initiative MATGAS. New laboratories and office space has been achieved allowing to expand the ICMAB activities through this agreement.

Finally, I would like also to mention that we are very proud of exhibiting very active outreach and training policies. About half of the 295 total personnel of ICMAB are engaged at different levels to our training programmes (undergraduate, PhDs, postdoctoral) and about half of them are foreigners, an indication of our international attractiveness. Our voice and our research activities reach many people through visits, secondary school stays, open activities, organized events, etc. You will find in this report many examples of outreach activities carried out during this year. We also mention several initiatives denoting our success in generating innovation. The positive and active commitment of ICMAB researchers and support personnel is a hallmark of our success and we will continue to do our best to continue this path.

We hope you enjoy the tour!             

Xavier Obradors
ICMAB Director

Institut de Ciència de Materials de Barcelona
Campus de la UAB 08193 Bellaterra, SPAIN
Tel: +(34) 935 801 853
Fax: +(34) 935 805 729
Alejandro Santos 
Anna May-Masnou
Graphic Design
José Antonio Gómez

José Antonio Gómez 
Albert Moreno