The astrophysicist Rafael Rebolo, the chemist Luis Liz Marzán, the ecologist Pedro Jordano, the computer engineer Ramón López de Mántaras and the physicist Pablo Artal have won the National Research Awards 2018, as reported today by the Ministry of Science. The awards, created in 1982 to distinguish the best Spanish scientists, were eliminated de facto by the Government of Mariano Rajoy and were not granted since 2014. The Executive of Pedro Sánchez he has recovered them, cutting its amount from 100,000 to 30,000 euros.
There is no scientist among the five winners. The Association of Women Researchers and Technologists (AMIT) has denounced on numerous occasions that the great awards, such as the Nobel Prizes, the King Jaime I and the Frontiers of Knowledge of the BBVA Foundation, they ignore women. A report from the Ministry itself reported in 2015 that researchers get 18% of scientific awards in Spain, but the percentage drops to 7% if the prizes have an economic endowment greater than 100,000 euros.
The Ministry itself denounced in 2015 that the great scientific prizes systematically ignore women
In the case of the National Research Awards, candidacies can not be presented by the scientists themselves, but must be the initiative of five prestigious researchers or institutions, such as universities and real academies. In this edition, 87% of the candidatures submitted were from men, according to Ministry sources. 35% of the researchers of the Superior Council of Scientific Research (CSIC) they are women.
The five winners are referents in their fields of study. Rafael Rebolo (Cartagena, 1961), director of the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands, has been recognized with the Blas Cabrera National Prize for Physical, Material and Earth Sciences for "his pioneering contributions in the discovery of giant exoplanets and supertierras, the decay of stars in black holes and detection of the microwave background ", among other merits, according to the jury.
The engineer Ramón López de Mántaras (Sant Vicenç de Castellet, 1952), director of the Artificial Intelligence Research Institute of the CSIC, has been awarded the Julio Rey Pastor National Prize for Mathematics and Information and Communication Technologies, for "his extensive international leadership and service for the community in Artificial Intelligence", According to the jury. "It can be said that he has created a school in Spain in the field of Artificial Intelligence and has placed our country on the international map of that sector," said the court.
The National Awards were eliminated de facto by the Government of Rajoy and were not granted since 2014
The juries of each prize were made up of leading scientists from each area, who rated "the merits of each candidacy in a competitive competition regime and applying the principles of publicity, transparency, equality and non-discrimination," according to the Ministry's statement. 44% of the members of the jury were women.
The ecologist Pedro Jordano (Córdoba, 1957), from the Doñana Biological Station (CSIC), receives the Alejandro Malaspina National Award for Natural Resources Sciences and Technologies for "his robust and constant research trajectory and for the excellent impact of his work, as well as his involvement in the European Research Area ". The jury emphasizes its "study of interactions between plants and animals, using for it the theory of networks, modern molecular tools and novel statistical weapons".
The Enrique Moles National Prize for Science and Chemical Technology is for Luis Liz Marzán (Lugo, 1965), research professor at Ikerbasque and scientific director of the Center for Cooperative Research in Biomaterials CIC biomaGUNE, in Donostia. "His activity has been dedicated to opening new scientific frontiers at the nanoscale from a chemical point of view, with the aim of solving emerging problems of high technological importance, particularly in the biomedical field," the jury emphasizes.
Finally, the physicist Pablo Artal (Zaragoza, 1961), Professor of Optics at the University of Murcia, has been recognized with the Juan de la Cierva National Award for Technology Transfer, "for his pioneering contributions in the use of innovative methods for the evaluation and correction of vision and its impact on ocular health.
The awards National Research have ten categories. The remaining five will be delivered next year. The ten awards are named after ten male scientists.