The award ceremony of the second edition of the CSIC-BBVA Foundation Awards and Grants has vindicated the value of scientific communication to guide society's decision-making process in facing the great challenges of today's world. “Scientific knowledge broadens both individual and collective opportunities, being the envelope or structural foundation of our institutions and social interactions”, said the director of the BBVA Foundation, Rafael Pardo, during the ceremony that was held on last November 6th, in the conference hall of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) headquarters, in Madrid.
The second edition of the CSIC-BBVA Foundation Grants for Scientific Communication was awarded Jon Gurutz Arranz and Iole Ferrara Romeo. The Grants will allow these two young journalists to carry out internships in several CSIC institutes over one year, to learn first-hand how knowledge is generated in different areas, and thus strengthen their expertise in scientific communication. The Margarita Salas Center for Biological Research (CIB-CSIC) is one of the institutes chosen by Iole Ferrara, who began her internship in last October and will stay at the Center until the end of the year.
In their speeches during the ceremony, both Iole Ferrara and Jon Gurutz highlighted their commitment to science journalism, which they consider especially necessary in the current context, following the emergence of irrational currents of denialism that cast doubt on the results of scientific research.
Iole Ferrara –who owns a Ph.D. degree in Molecular Biology from the Autonomous University of Madrid and a master’s degree in Scientific, Medical, and Environmental Communication from the Pompeu Fabra University of Barcelona– pointed out that “scientific knowledge can help society flee from misinformation, fight against fake news, and develop critical thinking, which altogether means to improve people's quality of life”. “Science communicators have a crucial role since our task is creating bridges between who does science and the rest of society, making science accessible, interesting, and attractive to everyone”, she underlined. Her training program began last October at the CIB-CSIC. It will continue at the National Institute of Agricultural and Food Research and Technology (INIA-CSIC), the Institute of Neurosciences in Alicante (IN-CSIC), and the Center for Molecular Biology Severo Ochoa (CBMSO-CSIC). “The professional fields of scientific journalism and science communication and outreach are still complicated. I am sure that receiving this Grant and developing the training program will help me boost my professional career in this field,” she concluded.
Regarding the Awards, the SINC Agency has been awarded in the category aimed at scientific journalism for “an exceptional 15-year career”, in which it promoted “high-quality scientific journalism, always combining reliable sources with attractive and accessible narratives for the general public,” as underlined by the jury. In the category of researchers who work for the dissemination of knowledge to society, two fundamental contributions in the field of scientific communication have been rewarded ex aequo: “the exemplary work carried out in the context of an emergency” by the researchers from the Spanish Geological and Mining Institute (IGME-CSIC), who made an excellent work in informing the society about the volcanic eruption of La Palma island; and “a long history of sustained dedication to the dissemination of knowledge”, represented by the astronomer and science communicator Rafael Bachiller.
Both the two Awards –worth 40,000 euros each– and the two Grants –35,000 euros each– are part of the Promoting Scientific Communication Program, which was created in 2021 by the CSIC and the BBVA Foundation to recognize and encourage the indispensable work of journalists and communicators who report rigorously and attractively on the advances of science, as well as improve training in this decisive field for the scientific culture of society.
BBVA Foundation press release (in Spanish): link.