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Research excellence in strategic fields

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Among the agents that are part of the Basque Network of Science, Technology and Innovation (RVCTI) the most remarkable are the Basque Research Excellence Centres (Centros de Investigación Básica y Excelencia, BERCs), associated to the university and aimed at generating knowledge in environments of scientific interest to the Basque Country.

RVCTI is one of the many initiatives implemented in the Basque Country to foster innovation as a key element for business transformation based on the competitiveness our globalised modern world requires.

RVCTI was established in 1997 as an infrastructure that could offer Basque companies sophisticated and comprehensive specialist technology. Besides the technology centres and the Cooperative Research Centres (CIC), RVCTI includes the Basque Research Excellence Centres (BERCs). Their mission is to create knowledge in areas of scientific interest to the Basque Country. These centres do research in cooperation with universities and work attracting and recruiting experts, and offering advanced training to professionals.

The nine BERCs

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The Donostia International Physics Centre Foundation (DIPC) emerged as an open institution associated to the University of the Basque Country. Its primary goal is to promote and catalyse the development of basic research oriented toward applied physics and materials science. With time, it has become an international reference, courtesy of the excellence of its researchers, the international conferences held in its premises and, above all, the relevance of the scientific findings made by the experts working in it.

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The BC3 Basque Centre For Climate Change (BC3) is a research centre which aims to contribute to long-term research on the causes and consequences of climate change in order to generate knowledge in this multidisciplinary field. The scientists working at BC3 focus on the mitigation of the effects of the greenhouse gases emitted in the energy industry, the connections between climate change and natural capital (natural resources and ecosystems), and the benefits derived from them in terms of human welfare, climate and health, and climate policy.

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The scientific programme developed at theBasque Centre for Applied Mathematics (BCAM) covers several areas of applied mathematics: control theory for partial differential equations, computational mathematics, mathematical biology, calculus of variations and materials science, financial mathematics, mathematical modelling and mathematics for network analysis, among others. The centre carries out industrial projects and makes competitive plans for major institutions like the European Research Council (ERC) or the European Science Foundation (ESF).

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Basque Centre on Cognition, Brain and Language (BCBL) is a world-class multidisciplinary research and training centre for the study of neurolinguistics. BCBL mainly aims to understand the mechanisms implemented by the brain in the acquisition, comprehension and production of language, with a particular interest in bilingualism and multilingualism.

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Bizkaia Biophysics Foundation/Biofisika Bizkaia Fundazioa was created to promote biophysical research in Bizkaia. In the university campus in Leioa (Bizkaia), it is devoted to collecting funds for the Biophysics Department, a centre jointly managed by the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and the University of the Basque Country/Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea (UPV/EHU). The Foundation sponsors specific action aimed at training young researchers, awarding undergraduate and graduate fellowships, and offering grants to students initiating their careers or prizes to outstanding students.

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At the Materials Physics Centre (MPC), researchers study the properties of existing materials and design tailor-made materials, even on a nanometric scale. They carry out research into materials science for projects in the Spanish state or at the modern MPC facilities, opened in 2010, which include a low-angle X-ray scattering lab.

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Sponsored by the Basque Foundation for Science Ikerbasque and the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), the Achucarro Basque Centre for Neuroscience Foundation focuses on basic and translational research into glial neurobiology, aimed at finding new therapies to treat brain conditions like Alzheimer’s disease or multiple sclerosis. Another of the primary goals of the foundation is fostering scientific cooperation in the field of neuroscience with universities, research and technology centres, and businesses based in the Basque Country and beyond.

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The Basque Centre for Materials Applications & Nanostructures(BCMaterials) covers virtually every aspect of research activity in the field of functional materials with advanced properties. Its multidisciplinary approach covers smart or multifunctional materials, nanomagnetism and advanced materials for applications in energy, sensors, etc. Special mention should be made of thin film, used at the centre for the preparation of materials, and of the use of large European facilities like neutron and synchrotron radiation sources for the characterisation of materials.

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Established in 2012, the Basque Centre for Macromolecular Design & Engineering(Polymat Fundazioa) expects to become an internationally renowned centre in the study of polymers, the most versatile materials available. Research done here centres on the application of solutions in the fields of energy, electronics, transportation, construction and biomedicine.

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