News Education, Universities and Research

Ikerbasque and the UPV announce three new research centres in neuroscience, new materials and macromolecular design

2012 June 25

The Basque Government Minister for Education, Universities & Research and President of Ikerbasque, Isabel Celáa, and the Chancellor of the UPV/EHU this morning announced three new BERC (Basic and Excellence Research Centres), promoted by the IKERBASQUE Foundation and the UPV/EHU. The three centres will conduct research into neuroscience, nanostructures and macromolecular design, respectively. These three institutes, -named respectively Achucarro Basque Centre for Neuroscience, Basque Centre for Materials, Applications and Nanostructures, and Basque Centre for Macromolecular Design & Engineering-Polymat-, mean that the Basque Country now has a total of nine elite research centres linked to the university environment.

The three new BERCs will focus on research in as many other knowledge areas with huge development potential, and where the Basque Country has proven it can compete with the leading centres around the world. These areas are the biology of the brain, engineering of the smart or functional material and studying polymers without which modern society as we know it would not be possible.

The Achucarro Centre (named in honour of the first Basque neuroscientist, a pupil of Alzheimer and of Ramón y Cajal and the creator of a colouring techniques that is still widely used in neuroscience) will mainly research the biology of the brain to understand how it works and its pathological alterations. Knowledge of the brain mechanisms is fundamental to find new therapies for conditions such as Alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis, brain damage caused by cerebrovascular accidents, etc.

The Centre for Materials, Applications and Nanostructures will focus on the relationship between the structure and properties of Functional Materials (conductors, semi-conductors, dielectrics, magnetic, optic, etc.), a multidisciplinary field with multiple applications in different areas of science and engineering, and which includes smart materials, nanomagnetism and advanced materials for applications in energy, sensors, etc. It will specialise in thin film and nanostructures, and in their use for major European neutron and synchrotron radiation facilities.

The BERC Polymat aims to become a internationally-renowned centre in polymers. Polymers are the most versatile materials that exist and are used in such diverse applications as automotive industry, planes, sports materials, household appliances, household items, construction, contact lenses or artificial hearts. The challenges to improve the performances of those materials are to control the functionality and architecture of the polymer chains, and their interaction with biological and inorganic materials, and to understand their three-dimensional assembly. The research at Polymat will focus on these challenges by looking for applications in energy, electronics, transport, construction and biomedicine.


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