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Letter from the Chairwoman

In the year 2021, to which this Report of Activities refers, the Ramón Areces Foundation has maintained, with the same commitment and enthusiasm as always, its commitment to society by promoting medical and research, social and educational initiatives, at a time that is especially complicated because of the health situation. We have achieved everything without deviating from our basic action plans, which are embodied in the promotion of scientific research, the promotion of talent, and the dissemination of knowledge.

In 2021, we have launched a total of 95 research projects. About 500 scientists work in Spanish universities and pioneering research centers in the search for treatments against cancer, rare diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, or aging. We also promote projects on pressing problems such as food security, climate change, and the fight against inequality or poverty. The quality of the research is evidenced by the 325 articles published in prestigious international scientific journals and the 570 communications presented at national and international congresses.

The development and advancement of science, one of the founding purposes of our institution, requires constant cooperation and exchange of information between the different scientific communities. Therefore, from the Foundation we support RAICEX, the Network of Associations of Spanish Researchers and Scientists Abroad, which allows these professionals working abroad to share experiences and knowledge while supporting each other.

Our vocation for excellence education constitutes the second action point of the Foundation. This translates into a scholarship program to expand studies abroad that aims to strengthen the community of highly qualified Spanish professionals and scientists. Thanks to this program, a total of 66 young graduates and PhDs were able last year to complete their training in some of the best centers in the world.

Convinced that education is the basis for future development, a total of 4,293 study grants have also been granted to children of employees of the El Corte Inglés Group. They reward the academic excellence of students who are pursuing Professional Training, High School, and University Studies.

The third action point of the Foundation is the dissemination of knowledge since it constitutes one of the bases of human development. Through this program, we provide a platform for scientists and thinkers from all over the world to explain to the Spanish society the fundamental role that science has in improving the quality of life. Every year we invite national and international experts from different disciplines to share their talent and knowledge with us through conferences, workshops, debates, and round-table discussions.

Through these lines, I want to convey my own gratitude and that of the Board of Trustees of the Ramón Areces Foundation, to the more than 200 speakers who have participated in the 90 online activities we organized in 2021. Among them, the Nobel Laureates in Physics Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz; recipients of the Fields Medal for Mathematics Alessio Figalli and Efin Zelmanov; the neuroscientist Alon Chen, president of the Weizmann Institute of Sciences in Israel; and the director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, Eric D. Green, to name a few.

In addition, and to get that knowledge to as many people as possible, the Foundation has strengthened and promoted its video channel and YouTube profile, with very satisfactory results. In 2021, our audiovisual platform registered 55,000 users and the YouTube channel reached 4.5 million views, which proves the interest and topicality of the topics addressed, and the prestige and recognition of the speakers.

The great challenges facing society require joint social co-responsibility from both the public and private spheres. Great scientific and social projects need the sum of efforts. For this reason, we support prestigious institutions or research centers in Spain and collaborate closely with them. The Complutense, Carlos III and Autonomous Universities of Madrid; the Pompeu Fabra University of Barcelona; the National Cardiovascular Research Center (CNIC) and the National Cancer Research Center (CNIO), are some of them. We have also renewed our alliances with the Nobel Foundation, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel or the London School of Economics, institutions that have excellence as a norm and with which we carry out research projects or joint activities.

The Ramón Areces Foundation has fulfilled, one more year, with its founding objectives of service to society from a future perspective. Our main commitment continues to be offering value to the different groups that, with generosity, vocation and talent, work for the progress and well-being of the country. In this way we try to return the trust placed in us by the clients of the El Corte Inglés Group.

I would also like to acknowledge the effort and commitment of the work carried out by all the professionals and collaborators of our institution and, especially, the members of our Advisory Boards, for their valuable support and collaboration with the Foundation.

Finally, my sincere gratitude to the Board of Trustees for their invaluable contribution to continue contributing to the strengthening of Science and Culture in our country and to the dissemination of knowledge in society. I am aware of your generosity and commitment in this task.

Marta Álvarez

The Ramón Areces Foundation has fulfilled, one more year, with its founding objectives of service to society from a future perspective.

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