“The CRG has organized its first project of citizen science ‘Put your tongue out’”


Interview with MICHELA BERTERO
Science and International Affairs of the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG)


“The Severo Ochoa programme has also allowed us to set up pioneering cross-disciplinary initiatives”


The Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) is a biomedical research institute which was born in the year 2000, a foundation created by the Ministry of Economics and Competitivity of the Spanish Government, the Autonomous Government of Catalonia (the “Generalitat”) and the “la Caixa” Bank Foundation, with the participation of the Pompeu Fabra Universtiy. The mission of the CRG is to make discoveries and advances in knowledge to benefit society, public health, and economic prosperity. Michela Bertero is responsible for Science and International Affairs at CRG, and participated in the “100XCIENCIA” forum where she was able to share experiences with the other directors of the centres which have been granted the Severo Ochoa Award of Excellence.

“The Severo Ochoa award”, said Bertero, “has given us a strong impulse to create new lines of research and innovation and to reinforce the international position of the centre in the study of genomics and its impact on human health via a number of interdisciplinary approaches and state of the art technology”

“The Severo Ochoa programme has also allowed us to set up pioneer cross-disciplinary initiatives, such as an advanced training programme for our younger researchers and for the scientific community, innovative collaborations between the public and private sectors, new initiatives to support young women scientists, the first project in the field of citizen science for our centre, “Put your tongue out” , the founding of an association of alumni of the CRG, and programmes to stimulate initiatives by companies, among others”.

But this institute does not let matters rest there. It takes on the challenges for the present and future “to continue promoting interdisciplinary research, and collaboration with different actors in the areas of health and private companies, to transform the knowledge won by our scientists to generate added value for medicine and society”. The other challenge, shared with other Severo Ochoa institutes is the ambition to “succeed in attracting talent not only from Europe but from all the continents, to establish the CRG as a world reference centre in integrated biomedicine” explains Bertero.

The centre is convinced of the need to popularize science and to create a climate favouring science culture, as is being proposed in a forum such as “100XCIENCIA”. In our case the centre has a “Unit of Scientific Culture and Innovation”. From the CRG we promote a wide range of activities with the aim of creating a dialogue with society. “Our programme includes workshops, lectures, and role-playing games for students of all ages (primary and secondary education, and the pre-university years), talks, and scientific cafes for the general public, training and retraining courses for teachers, exhibitions and many other activities,” explains Bertero.  

“Furthermore” she adds, “thanks to the support of the Severo Ochoa, we have been able to go one step further, and tackle our first project of citizen science “Put your Tongue Out”, where not only do we share our knowledge with society, but society participates actively in our research. In the future we hope to be in a position to maintain this ample and ambitious programme, and even to augment it with new ideas which will let us take science to new sectors of the general public, with original proposals such as a show with dancing, among others”.


Coordination of interviews: Verónica Martín


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100xCIENCIA Communicating Frontier Science. La Palma (Canary Islands, Spain), October 2015
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