Letter from the Director



Emilio Palomares

Dear friends,

Thank you for expressing your interest in the 2021 ICIQ Scientific Report. I trust that you will find the information provided to be valuable.

2021 has been my second year as the Director of the Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia (ICIQ). It is truly an honour to lead such an outstanding research institution. Since July 17th, 2020, I have had the privilege of working alongside with the best colleagues and the finest team. Together, we are creating a legacy of excellence, guided by our inclusive international programme based on four pillars: Cooperation, Education, Knowledge and Innovation.

Following the unprecedented challenges of 2020, the year 2021 has been a time of returning to normality. The COVID-19 pandemic showed us different ways of working and taking care of ourselves and our team. Nowadays, we continue putting into effect the knowledge acquired over these months, and we continue improving day by day to optimize the collective efficiency of ICIQ.

This 2021 ICIQ continues its status as an accredited “Severo Ochoa Centre of Excellence” by the Research State Agency/Ministry of Science and Innovation (AEI/MCIN). This represents an annual allocation of one million euros for a four-year period to implement an ambitious project on sustainability through advanced catalysis. With three more years of funding ahead, ICIQ is committed to driving innovative research in this critical area.

Pointing out the research projects awarded in 2021, it must be mentioned the two AEI/MCIN grants awarded from the subprogram Research Infrastructures and Scientific-Technical Equipment. One to get the first ED electron diffractometer outside Japan and the other to acquire an Ion mobility and Mass Spectrometry with ESI/MALDI ionization sources. Both singular apparatuses will be available for the research community in addition to the current external services offered by the center. It is also worth to highlight the two collaborative projects awarded within the AEI/MCIN call “Proyectos de I+D+I en líneas estratégicas”: SOL-Future, coordinated by IMDEA Energy (Prof. V. de la Peña) with the participation of E. Palomares and P. Ballester research groups, and PHOTORED, coordinated by ICIQ (E. Palomares research group). Finally, ICIQ will also participate in a CSA (Coordination and Support Action) called SUNER-C, powered by the SUNERGY community, a European grant to promote and accelerate the fossil-free fuel research and implementation.

About our research outputs, the institute has been very active, publishing 138 high-quality scientific papers during the year (75% in the first quartile publications) with an average impact factor of 11,61.

Our commitment lies in contributing through our research to the energy transition that our society urgently needs. As active participants in the South Catalonia Green Hydrogen Platform, led by the Universitat Rovira i Virgili, we are dedicated to promoting the adoption and consolidation of Renewable Hydrogen as a sustainable fuel to combat climate change. Our researchers are developing innovative technologies that can efficiently convert solar energy into electricity and/or fuels, reducing our reliance on fossil fuels. Additionally, we are actively working on strategies and devices for splitting water into its essential components: hydrogen and oxygen.

2021 has been the International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development. We envision a green future playing a key role in driving change through our research, and raising awareness among society, about the critical role of science in creating a more equitable and sustainable planet for all.

Kind regards,

Emilio Palomares

ICIQ Director