Ximo Puig affirms that the ValER Foundation of Excellence will be the ‘new figurehead’ to attract top-level research talent to the Valencian Region

  • The president took part in the presentation of ValER, the research foundation based in Castelló de la Plana that seeks to spread its scientific activity throughout the region.

  • The head of the Consell is committed to an alliance for science with “new generation” institutions such as this one, which “knows no legislatures”.

  • The Councillor for Innovation stresses the importance of a social, business and political pact for science in order to move towards a change in the production model.

Castelló de la Plana. The president of the Generalitat, Ximo Puig, has indicated that the Excellence Research Foundation (ValER), based in Castelló de la Plana, will be the “new figurehead” to attract top-level research talent to the Valencian Community.

This was stated during the presentation of ValER, which, from its headquarters in the old Post Office building in the capital of La Plana, will radiate its scientific activity of excellence to the entire productive fabric of the Valencian territory.

The foundation will operate in all the universities and research centres of the Valencia Region and represents a “turning point” in the promotion of science, “a fundamental pillar of the welfare state”, as has been demonstrated with the pandemic, said the president, who stressed the importance of scientific developments in areas such as vaccines.

Furthermore, as the head of the Consell defended, this “new generation” institution whose mission “knows no legislature” is a demonstration of the importance of making a “pact for science” a reality.

As he pointed out, ValER, which will have a budget of more than two million euros for its first call for excellence, is born with the ambition of creating and training new research teams, registering patents and transferring knowledge, all “with the absolute complicity of the universities”.

In addition, Ximo Puig stressed that the initiative represents the consolidation of a line of support for research that has borne fruit with the Gen-T programme for the attraction and return of talent, which in just three years has led to the registration of 20 new patents, generated 34 large transfer contracts and created 260 skilled jobs.

Social, business and political pact

The Regional Minister for Innovation, Universities, Science and the Digital Society, Carolina Pascual, stressed the importance of developing “a social, business and political pact for science to achieve a global involvement in changing the production model”. In this way, the aim is to promote the transfer of knowledge that will enable traditional productive sectors to improve their competitiveness, respect for the environment and the generation of qualified employment.

As he indicated, ValER aims precisely to ensure that research “can be developed and transferred to the productive fabric to achieve a full knowledge society and place the region at the forefront”. Pascual stressed that research plays a “fundamental role” in the recovery from the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Councillor for Innovation also stressed that science is also a “driving force” behind the projects presented by the private sector to obtain Next Generation funds in all its areas, which is why, she emphasised, it is “the time for the business sector and the scientific world to come together and recognise each other”, she said.

Pascual also recalled that the Government scientific strategy is based on three pillars: talent, knowledge transfer and the structuring of the territory through science and innovation.

Objectives of ValER

ValER seeks to promote career development support mechanisms for the incorporation and retention of scientific personnel of international excellence.

The strategic objective focuses on contributing to the impulse, promotion and development of scientific, humanistic and technological research and knowledge for the benefit of society, universities, research centres and the scientific community in general.

In this sense, the Foundation may participate in the promotion of lines of research in universities, public or private research centres or institutes, as well as establish collaborations with national and foreign institutions and organisations.

It will also act in all the universities and research centres of the Valencian Region, with the aim of promoting the production of scientific knowledge, strengthening research groups and establishing scientific and academic collaborations with national and international universities and research centres, as well as with the private sector.

Scientific Council

The foundation will have a scientific advisory board, with Rosa Llusar Barelles, professor of Physical Chemistry at the Universitat Jaume I in Castellón, as scientific director. She holds an honorary doctorate from the Nikolaev Institute, part of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Siberia, and was elected member of the European Academy of Sciences in 2018. She currently leads the molecular materials research group at the UJI.

The other members of the scientific council are María Vallet Regí, professor of Inorganic Chemistry at the Faculty of Pharmacy of the Complutense University of Madrid, National Research Award in Engineering in 2008 and King James I Award for Basic Research in 2018; Xavier Querol, CSIC research professor at the Institute of Environmental Diagnosis and Water Studies (IDAEA), King James I Award for Environmental Protection in 2013 and National Research Award in the area of Sciences and Technologies of Natural Resources in 2020; Reinhilde Veugelers, Professor of Economics and Business at the Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium); Edgar Chambers, Distinguished Professor in the Department of Food, Nutrition, Dietetics and Health at the University of Kansas and member of the Scientific Committee of the Spanish Agency for Food Safety and Nutrition; and Nekane Balluerka, Professor in the area of Methodology of Behavioural Sciences at the University of the Basque Country and Rector of the University of the Basque Country from 2017 to 2020.