Today marks the opening of the submission period for the fourth edition of the Fundación Occident Research Awards, Grupo Catalana Occidente, directed at young researchers working in research centres, universities and hospitals in Spain in the fields of nutrition and diet with an impact on health.

With a total endowment of €70,000, each year these awards recognise the careers and basic and clinical research projects of two scientists with outstanding contributions towards understanding the impact of diet on the prevention and management of pathologies such as obesity, cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

The Fundación Occident Research Awards are open to researchers of any nationality who have been working in Spain for more than three years and who have not yet reached the age of 46 by the closing date of this call. In this edition, as a novelty, candidates may exceed 46 years of age if they have temporarily interrupted their career as a result of the birth or adoption of children, and their care during the first months of life. In this manner, the Fundación Occident reaffirms its commitment towards gender equality, facilitating work-life balance and ensuring equal opportunities for all individuals.

Researchers of any nationality working in Spain and who have not yet reached the age of 46 on the closing date of this call are eligible to apply. There are two categories, basic and clinical, with a total endowment of €70,000 annually.

According to Federico Halpern, chairman of the Fundación Occident: “Supporting research, especially young talent, is a priority for the Foundation. With these awards we want to emphasise the importance of diet and nutrition in our health, because their potential to prevent and treat diseases is not only growing stronger every day, but also includes more and more conditions“.

The chair of the jury and director of the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), María Blasco, declared: “When it comes to health, it is as important to treat as it is to prevent disease. We know that a healthy and balanced diet undoubtedly contributes to prevention, but we are also understanding its role in the management of pathologies. That is why these Awards are so necessary, because they not only encourage research, but also help to raise awareness about how important our diet is for our health“.

The deadline for submitting nominations for the Jesús Serra Research Awards extends from 17 January to 1 April 2022. The application must be made via the website, in English or Spanish, and must be endorsed by project managers, centre directors, or other renowned professionals associated with universities, hospitals or research centres and networks in Spain. The jury’s decision will be announced in June 2022.

About the Fundación Occident Research Awards

Since its first edition in 2018, the Fundación Occident Research Awards aim to encourage basic, clinical, epidemiological and technological research at the junction between nutrition and diet with an impact on health.

In recent years, numerous scientific studies have confirmed the impact of healthy lifestyles and eating habits on disease prevention and the clinical treatment of cardiovascular, neurological and metabolic diseases or cancer.

As in previous editions, the jury includes leading figures in the field of biomedicine who work at some of the best national and international research centres. In addition to María Blasco, Director of the CNIO and chair, the jury also includes Lina Badimon, Director of the Spanish National Centre for Cardiovascular Research (CSIC-ICAC); Mercedes Rincón, professor of the Department of Immunology and Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine at the University of Colorado; Carlos Macaya, Chairman of the Spanish Heart Foundation; and Pedro Mata, Chairman of the Familial Hypercholesterolaemia Foundation. They are joined by the winners of the third edition of these Awards: Maria Carmen Collado, scientific researcher at the Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology (IATA-CSIC); Borja Ibáñez, cardiologist at the Fundación Jiménez Díaz Hospital in Madrid and Director of Clinical Research at the Spanish National Centre for Cardiovascular Research (CNIC); and Rubén Nogueiras, researcher at the Centre for Research in Molecular Medicine and Chronic Diseases (CIMUS), University of Santiago de Compostela.

In addition to these Research Awards, the Foundation supports the National Centre for Biotechnology (CNB-CSIC) in research projects with the participation of pre-doctoral and post-doctoral researchers; collaborates with the Spanish National Centre for Cardiovascular Research (CNIC), the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre of Madrid (CNIO), and the Canary Islands Institute of Astrophysics (IAC), through the Fundación Occident Visiting Researcher Programme; and with the Institute for Biomedical Research of Lleida (IRB Lleida) with a programme to accompany young scientists in the preparation of health research projects.

The progress of the Fundación Occident Research Awards can be followed on social media via the hashtag #PremiosInvestigaciónFJS.