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Letter from the Chairman
of the Board of Trustees

At the time of writing this letter, our country and the rest of the world are experiencing one of the direst pandemics in recent human history.

Therefore, I want to start expressing our deepest sorrow for all those families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and our gratitude to the healthcare professionals, security forces and volunteers who are helping to overcome this situation with their sacrifice and work.

The crisis caused by the coronavirus has revealed the transcendental value of scientific research.

Mr. Ramón Areces placed scientific research and knowledge at the core of our Institution 44 years ago with a desire to contribute to human well-being, and in order to shorten the distance with our neighboring countries. Mr. Isidoro Álvarez, who continued the work of Mr. Ramón Areces, proved his ability to move forward this great objective until today, when our Institution is finding an important place, both nationally and internationally.

In 2019 we have maintained and expanded our research aid programs, as well as postgraduate and postdoctoral scholarships abroad. Research grants are particularly intended to support the talent, skills and work of young Spanish scientists and professionals. Last year we had 126 active projects 600 researchers were working on. Research topics went from rare diseases to cancer, food security, sustainable development, highly current infectious diseases or new materials.

This Report shows in detail some of the outcomes of the projects we have participated in, and the high level of research carried out in our country. The selected lines of work have generated a significant number of articles in prestigious scientific publications and national and international conferences.

Our human capital training programs aim to give opportunities to the best talent. The scholarships to expand studies abroad are aimed at programs of excellence in top ranked centers. Harvard, Oxford and Cambridge Universities, the London School of Economics or the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are some of the destinations of the 64 fellows who expanded their studies in 2019.

Our Institution also sponsored excellence training programs offered by Spanish research centers and universities. Among others, the Luis de Camoens Chair at the Carlos III University of Madrid, the Alfredo Kraus Chair in Singing at the Reina Sofía School of Music or the Chair in Commercial Distribution at the University of Oviedo, to name only a few examples.

We continue to bring the Spanish society to the forefront of knowledge. In 2019, we held more than 100 events addressing relevant questions for society, and that we widely include in this Report. More than six hundred experts from different fields, doctors, physicists, astrophysicists, chemists, mathematicians, economists, neurobiologists, historians or writers, participated in the conferences, workshops, round tables or symposiums that were celebrated during the year.

A significant number of these events were carried out in collaboration with the International Monetary Fund, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Nobel Foundation, the London School of Economics, as well as with major Spanish universities and research centers.

As a result of the collaboration agreement signed with the Nobel Foundation, we are pleased to have hosted at our headquarters the first Nobel Prize Dialogue held in Europe outside of Sweden. In this internationally recognized event the Nobel Laureates Finn Kydland, Edmund Phelps, Edvard Moser, Ada Yonath and Mario Vargas Llosa; and the Princess of Asturias Awards winners Valentín Fuster and Michael Sandel, together with more than twenty experts of recognized world prestige, exchanged their views on the most pressing scientific, economic, sociological, philosophical and cultural questions posed by our aging population.

We have co-hosted with the National Cancer Research Center Outside of Spain a relevant scientific meeting on the latest advances in cancer at the headquarters of the Weizmann Institute, in Israel.

We have co-sponsored and supported activities of the Spanish scientific communities in Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, the United States, Japan, Australia and up to a total of sixteen countries. We work so that the Fundación Ramón Areces becomes the reference center for these communities in Spain.

In the field of Social Sciences, we want to highlight our participation in the celebration of the Pidalino Biennium 2018-2019, sponsoring exhibitions and conferences that commemorate a key figure in Spanish philology such as Mr. Ramón Menéndez Pidal. The most relevant event of this commemoration took place at the National Library with Two Spaniards in History, an exhibition where the figures of Menéndez Pidal and El Cid were confronted.

At the the institutional level, I want to highlight the awards given to the Fundación Ramón Areces in 2019. The Carlos de Amberes Foundation, chaired by Mr. Miguel Ángel Aguilar, awarded us his Medal of Honor in a solemn act attended as guest of honor by His Royal Highness the Grand Duke of Luxembourg.

We also received the 77 Society Medal from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and our Institution was inscribed on the Wall of Benefactors of the Weizmann Institute of Sciences of Israel. We are most pleased by these recognitions. They encourage us to continue working with enthusiasm on what constitutes the aims of the Foundation.

We want to offer our most sincere congratulations to Professors Roberto Serrano and José García Montalvo, former fellows of ours at Harvard University. The first was awarded an Honorary Doctorate degree in 2019 from the Complutense University of Madrid and the second was awarded the King Jaime I Prize for Economics.

With deep sadness and sorrow, we have to inform of the recent and unexpected passing of Mr. Antonio Hernández-Gil Álvarez-Cienfuegos, Secretary of the Board of Trustees of our Foundation. We will always remember him with gratitude and affection for being an excellent collaborator as well as a brilliant jurist, writer and humanist. May these brief and heartfelt words serve as a tribute to his figure and his person.

To conclude, I want to thank the Members of the Board of Trustees, of the Councils, and of the Management, and to the team of professionals and all those who have collaborated with their work and dedication to make it possible for another year for this Institution to successfully achieve its foundational purposes.

Today more than ever, as a Foundation with a scientific vocation, our Institution must continue contributing, to the extent of its possibilities, to the strengthening of science, education and culture in our country, with our own programs, but also in collaboration with other prestigious institutions, because the sum of efforts and common objectives allows tackling more complex and ambitious projects for the benefit of society.

That has been, is and will continue to be our commitment.

Florencio Lasaga Munárriz
Chairman of the Board of Trustees

"The crisis caused by the coronavirus has revealed the transcendental value of scientific research"

"We are pleased to have hosted at our headquarters the first Nobel Prize Dialogue held in Europe outside of Sweden"

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