Editorial from our Director

More than ever, research!

The results that you can review in this 2019 annual report prove that Vall d’Hebron Institute of Research (VHIR) had an extraordinary year and reaffirms its position as one of the leading biomedicine centers linked to a hospital in the South of Europe. This feat has been possible thanks to the hard work of our researchers with the help of our support teams. This report summarizes, for instance, our five top scientific advances of 2019. Advances in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), Parkinson, neuroblastoma, multiple sclerosis or Fanconi anemia are a very good portrait of the variety of acknowledged publications made by our groups and researchers.

This is the 2019 report but, as you know, I’m writing this during 2020. Usually, this editorial doesn’t refer to the present facts, but let me do an exceptional remark in this opportunity due to the COVID pandemia that has changed all our lives and activity and will influence our present and future. The COVID has proved that research has been and should be forever a crucial part of the solution to these and possible future pandemia and that the cooperation among research institutions is mandatory. Governments around the world must learned this lesson, and those who haven’t done it should change their perspective about the importance of research in the functioning of a country according to its economical, industrial and knowledge results. We will detail it in the 2020 annual report next year, but our researchers, clinical and basic, are full devoted to look for any possible project, clinical trial or treatments in the fight to stop COVID and face the future with a better perspective.

Coming back to the past and present, that always marks the future, we are very proud of our achievements in terms of scientific production, European projects and technology transfer. As one of the highlights of this report explains, we have confirmed our important role in the development of the European research strategy, being part of continental consortiums that will lead the future and also coordinating key projects. Our institution, 25 years after its creation, has become part of the reference European sites that will work to find better solutions in difficult times.

Vall d’Hebron, now more than ever, has to co-lead the fight to advance in the research, together with the partners of our nearest environment, as we do in the IRISCAT project for Catalan health research centers related to hospitals, but also in the cuttind edge of the European and world forum. Our partners are the rest of the research centers and hospitals here and around the world, of course our local, national and European authorities that need us and should help us too, but also the farmaceutical industry, which during the last years have seen in the research of Vall d’Hebron the ideal home to progress in their clinical trials.

There is still, at least, one more important kind of agent that is and must be between our principal partners. The innovation agents, institutions and enterprises that share our way to the excellence and solutions through their innovative and technology in order to improve our patient’s lives. We are also becoming a reference for them, not only national but international partners that invest in our research and in the future. Vall d’Hebron in general, and in particular some of our researchers, have received last year the technological and financial support thanks to very profitable alliances with the innovation agents.

All these partners in several fields believe in us and in our future, a future that will have, as you know, a new home. Fortunately, we had good news in the last year regarding the construction of our new building. The Catalan authorities supported our project and will help us with a loan that proves that we are a center in which they can trust. The next steps will be the beginning of the works that, if COVID can be under control soon, will be a reality during 2020 and the first part of 2021.

We have the people, our researchers and the support staff, we have the partners, we will have the house, so we have the future in our hands, even with COVID, to transform our society with the unstoppable and most than ever necessary force of the research.