Interview with Dr. Albert Barberà, the New IDIBAPS Research Coordinator

The last meeting of the IDIBAPS governing body, with the support of the DIUiE research director’s department, opened up the post of IDIBAPS Scientific Manager, a figure that already exists in other international institutes. The aim of the position will be to develop the task of manager of scientific policy and, therefore, provides direct support for the director. After a public tender, applications for the post were received from four qualified candidates and the selection committee, presided by Dr. Joan Rodés, decided to appoint Dr. Albert Barberà, who had been working as the manager of CIBERDEM.

Dr. Albert Barberà is a pharmacist and chemist and holds a doctorate in biochemistry from the University of Barcelona, with extraordinary mention. He was a post-doctoral researcher at the Rockefeller Institute in New York and trained in economic and research management at Pompeu Fabra University. He has experience in project management gained at the headquarters of the EU in Brussels.

In this interview, he tells us what his job will consist of.

What will your tasks be as Scientific Manager?

From now on, I will be the link between management and research within IDIBAPS. There are many functions, but one of the main objectives is to ensure that the needs of the researchers are answered by the services we provide.

We must also carry out the political decisions taken at the board meetings. For example, tenders for IDIBAPS personnel require closer follow-up. We are working to ensure that the tenders put out and the candidates that apply can be handled in a more personalized manner.

Following the accreditation of IDIBAPS as a health care research institute, we now need to realize the potential that having been accredited has given us. My job, therefore, will provide support to Dr. Joan Rodés, Dr. Ramon Gomis and all the IDIBAPS researchers. We need someone who understands scientific language, is familiar with the institutional business model and can ensure that decisions taken are carried out and that the big strategic projects are catalyzed.

What do you see as the main challenges of this new position?

Research management needs to be put in order. IDIBAPS has grown exponentially in recent years and we are now at a point where we need to think about restructuring and improving our internal functioning. The procedures that have worked until now may be insufficient for the volume of projects and requirements that we currently have. Now, with my appointment, it is a good opportunity to get to work on this.

We also have to improve institutional promotion. We have to continue to be one of the best centers in Spain and become a real reference standard at international level. We have the potential to do this but we need to attract new talent and take care of the good researchers we already have.

And what should we expect in the long term from the changes you bring in?

We want our researchers to feel that being part of IDIBAPS is an added value. They should feel proud to be part of this institution. Our sphere of action is research and we will focus our efforts on ensuring that this activity can be developed under optimum conditions. This includes research management services, ensuring the availability of the necessary facilities and making it possible to attract and train quality research personnel.

We cannot forget that research is intimately linked to innovation and technology and knowledge transfer. We therefore need to ensure that researchers have access to the tools they need to create value from their research.

IDIBAPS should be a place where novice and senior researchers want to come and stay.