A future built on science and technology

The European funds "represent an opportunity and a challenge," says Javier García Martínez, professor of inorganic chemistry and president of IUPAC.

Javier García presents Spain for Certain at the University of La Rioja

The president of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), Javier García, told Efe that "European recovery funds can put science and technology at the centre of Spain's political and economic agenda".

García (Logroño, 1973), who is the first Spanish-speaking president of IUPAC, gave a lecture in Logroño entitled 'España a ciencia cierta' (Spain for sure), which inaugurated the 1st Science, Technology and Innovation Conference of La Rioja 'Building the future together'.The event will be held at the University of La Rioja (UR).

The professor of Inorganic Chemistry explained that in this session he will present the work carried out in the Rafael del Pino Foundation's Chair in Science and Society, which has just been published by Planeta with the same title as the conference, '...'.Spain in Scienceand which he has coordinated.

He pointed out that the European funds "represent an opportunity and a challenge because it is a lot of money that has to be executed in three years, so it is very easy for these funds to be taken advantage of opportunistically without a great plan, but rather for each company, community and town council that wants to apply to do so on its own initiative".

However, he assured that "it would be very appropriate to have a strategy and to see what specific technologies could help these funds to have the greatest possible impact on the productive system" in Spain in such a short time.

Since 1 January, García has been president of IUPAC, which is "an opportunity to think about how La Rioja can take advantage of this opportunity", and so yesterday, 21 January, he told the president of the Government of La Rioja, Concha Andreu, about the "effort" being made by this organisation to translate the main chemical texts into Spanish. "The whole issue of science in Spanish is a priority for me and I believe that (being president of IUPAC) is an opportunity for the main chemistry texts to also be available in this language", he stressed.

Public health and scientific research

He pointed out that, "when Spaniards are asked what they want their taxes to be spent on, the two categories that receive the most support are public health and scientific research, which has not yet translated into the levels of investment required".

For the professor, the pandemic has put "science in the spotlight and has shown that those countries that not only had good research groups, but also companies capable of bringing these results to the market, were the ones that were able to develop vaccines".

"Science and technology are not a luxury of rich countries, they are a matter of national security," he stressed, and, "when we have had to face a great threat, those countries that were at the forefront of science have been able to develop the solution from which those of us who have not been able to develop it are benefiting.

García stressed that "if Spain is not one of the countries that develops solutions, implements them and brings them to the market, it will be dependent on others, which was already warned of in the 'silver age' of Spanish science, and this puts the country in a very weak position".

Sergio Jiménez Foronda (nuevecuatrouno)/EFE