Biomedicine in the city for everyone

Poster announcing the science outreach activities organised by IRB Barcelona and the ENABLE symposium for young scientists on the occasion of Science Week 2017
Poster announcing the science outreach activities organised by IRB Barcelona and the ENABLE symposium for young scientists on the occasion of Science Week 2017

IRB Barcelona proposes activities targeted to a wide public audience during Science Week 2017.

The programme includes a visit by more than 100 school children to the centre, microtalks in pubs and debates on hot topics with well-known figures such as Andreu Mas-Colell and Isona Passola.

The activities offered by Science Week are included in the programme of the 1st ENABLE Symposium, aimed at young biomedical scientists, which will be held in Barcelona from 15 to 17 November.

From 15 to 17 November, Barcelona will host the ENABLE event (EuropeaN Academy for BiomedicaL SciencE), the first European symposium organised for and by young biomedical researchers. This initiative is coordinated by the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) and funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Programme *(see press release attached about the symposium).

One of the objectives of ENABLE is to establish dialogue with society. Devised by the local organisation committee of ENABLE, which is formed by PhD students at IRB Barcelona, the programme includes multiple public engagement activities around Barcelona. These will take place mainly on 14 and 15 November and coincide with Science Week in Catalonia.

+ 100 school kids to visit IRB Barcelona

On 14 November, IRB Barcelona will open the doors of its labs to 126 school kids from four state schools in Catalonia, which were selected from a list of applicants. The 66 primary school kids will be divided into two groups and will be asked to tackle two scientific challenges, namely to discover a new disease and to identify a new animal species. During this activity, they will learn about the scientific method and basic concepts of evolution DNA and infection.

The 60 secondary school kids will have a tour around the labs and will talk to PhD students about what being a scientist is like. They will also learn about “citizen science” and how it furthers science through play and active participation. In a workshop, the kids will use a mobile phone app called MalariaSpot Bubbles, which is based on a game, to diagnose malaria.

Cancer, leadership and a taste of science in pubs

The following *activities are open to the public:

Ask the scientist: ethics and cancer. On Tuesday 14 November at 19:00, the Palauet Casades (C/ Mallorca, 283) will host a debate on ethical limits in the fight against cancer. The debate will involve: Elena Sancho, reseacher at IRB Barcelona; Jaume Mora, Paediatrician at Hospital Sant Joan de Déu; Miquel Porta, MD PhD Institut d'Investigacions Biomèdiques Hospital del Mar; and Maria Casado, UNESCO Chair in Bioethics at the University of Barcelona). The session will be chaired by the journalist Michele Catanzaro. (session held in Spanish)

Crossdisciplinary session: leadership and success. On Wednesday15 November at 19:00, also at the Palauet Casades, there will be a roundtable discussion on leadership and success involving three well-known figures from various fields. The speakers will be: Andreu Mas-Colell, ex-minister of the Economy and Knowledge of the Catalan Government; Isona Passola, president of the Academy of Catalan Cinema; and Núria López-Bigas, group leader at IRB Barcelona and awardee of a European Research Council grant. The session will be chaired by Jaume Vilalta, director of the programme “Què Qui Com”, broadcasted on TV3. (session held in Catalan)

To attend the debates, please send an email to

Microtalks. Also on Wednesday 15 November from 19:30 till 21:30, four pubs in Barcelona will host 10-minute educational talks by young researchers participating in ENABLE Symposium. The following pubs are involved:

Mau Mau. C/ Fontrodona, 35 (Poble Sec) – six talks in English; Glups! Passeig de Sant Joan, 7 (Arc de Triomf) – six talks in English; Bacanal Café. C/Sepúlveda, 164 (Eixample) – six talks in English/Spanish; and La Iguana. C/ de Rosés, 46 (Sants) – six talks in Catalan/Spanish

*Admission to all the activities is free. Number of seats limited.

Workshops in the “Mare de Déu de Montserrat” state school in Cornellà

From 13 to 17 November, IRB Barcelona has organised a variety of scientific workshops for children aged between 3 and 12 years of age at the “Mare de Déu de Montserrat” state school in Cornellà. These activities form part of a three-year project called Tàndem that IRB Barcelona is undertaking jointly with Catalunya La Pedrera. This programme seeks to boost academic performance, the standing of the school, and social cohesion by innovating the way science is taught in schools.

(The activities included in the "Tàndem" project have been designed exclusively for this school and are not open to the general public)

About IRB Barcelona
Created in 2005 by the Generalitat de Catalunya (Government of Catalonia) and University of Barcelona, IRB Barcelona is a Severo Ochoa Centre of Excellence, a seal that was awarded in 2011. The institute is devoted to conducting research of excellence in biomedicine and to transferring results to clinical practice, thus improving people’s quality of life, while simultaneously promoting the training of outstanding researchers, technology transfer, and public communication of science. Its 25 laboratories and seven core facilities address basic questions in biology and are orientated to diseases such as cancer, metastasis, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and rare conditions. IRB Barcelona is an international centre that hosts 400 employees and 32 nationalities. It is located in the Barcelona Science Park. IRB Barcelona forms part of the Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology (BIST) and the “Xarxa de Centres de Recerca de Catalunya” (CERCA).