Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad Gobierno de Canarias Universidad de La Laguna CSIC Centro de Excelencia Severo Ochoa

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The Obra Social "la Caixa" and the CajaCanarias Foundation award doctoral studentships at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias

Feb. 4, 2016

These banking foundations will contribute the sum of €454,000 to fund four doctoral studentships of 4 years duration in two consecutive announcements. The grants are intended to promote excellence in research carried out in the I Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias

The Obra Social “la Caixa” and the CajaCanarias Foundation will award a total of four studentships to do the PhD at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC). The project is for students of any nationality, with the objective of promoting research of excellence in Spain. This important initiative in support of training in scientific research was presented this morning at the Headquarters of the IAC in San Cristobal de La Laguna, in the presence of its Director, Rafael Rebolo, the Territorial Director of CaixaBank in the Canaries, Juan Ramón Fuertes, and the Director General of the CajaCanarias Foundation, Natalia Aznárez.

“The support of our institution, and in general of the scientific field in the Canaries, by the CajaCanarias Foundation and the Obra Social “la Caixa” puts them in the position of being the major private patrons in the IAC, and shows their firm commitment to a knowledge-based society and to the improvement in the research area,” declared Rafael Rebolo in his speech, “we are satisfied with the support which this initiative offers to the new generations of researchers as they take their initial steps”.

Juan Ramón Fuertes began his address by applauding the existence of the IAC, which is a centre of reference at international level in its field. The Director General of the CaixaBank in the Canaries gave an assurance of the firm commitment to maintain and give an impulse to this project and, jointly with the CajaCanarias Foundation, to try to augment the initiative. Because, in the view of Juan Ramón Fuertes, “supporting frontier science offers important economic incentives to the community, because it produces the development of applications of interest to companies, it provides locally researchers at world level, and gives rise to scientific results of considerable importance”.

 “The Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias is an example of the surest way to work efficiently and with excellence in order for the Canaries to continue advancing when faced with the challenge of a well-grounded knowlege-based society” said Natalia Aznárez, who also made a note of the firm backing of the CajaCanarias Foundation, in the framework of the present programme, of the new researchers who can improve their capabilities in the islands. “With this initiative we open a door to the world, bringing in new scientific talent in disciplines which transcend national boundaries”. Thanks to this opportunity, in the words of the Director General of the CajaCanarias Foundation, “based on the specialized work within the IAC, talented researchers have emerged who are now directing important projects in different parts of the world”.

Finally there was an address by one of the students who is presently benefitting from this initiative, Francesca Pinna, who since October last year is carrying out research at the IAC on the formation and evolution of nearby galaxies, based on observational work, and with cutting-edge technology in the field. For Pinna, “In the IAC we have the possibility of using the best observatories and the most advanced tools of informatics to evaluate the data obtained, as well as a top level specialized library:” Francesca Pinna, who believes that she is in the company of great professionals, emphasized the importance of this initiative of the Obra Social “la Caixa” and the CajaCanarias Foundation.

Contents of the programme

The objective of this funding is to finance the hiring of researchers in training for a period of up to four years, covering the Social Security payments, a monthly salary, and an annual assignment to cover special expenditures. The total cost of a studentship is €113,500, so that the Obra Social “la Caixa” and the CajaCanarias Foundation are granting €454,000 to cover the four studentships at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias.

This initiative is part of an international programme for doctoral studies at Spanish research centres which have been awarded the Severo Ochoa seal of excellence. This distinction, which is granted by the Ministry of Economics and Competitivity, is for those research centres and research units which carry out frontier research and are among the best in the world in their respective fields. This is the framework of operation within which, since 2015, the Obra Social “la Caixa” and the CajaCanarias Foundation work jointly to provide major funding for predoctoral contracts for high level researchers in different branches of scientific training.

The IAC provides its doctoral students with informatics and bibliographic material, access to all the telescopic and supercomputing installations within the Canary Islands, and to other Spanish and European installations, participation in its own research projects and in those of international institutions, as well as the funding needed to carry out the research effectively. The students are also provided with supplementary funds for stays, during their period of predoctoral training, at other centres of R+D, including companies, in order to carry out activities which strengthen their specialization and internationalization, and permit them to acquire new techniques and share knowledge.


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