“After 10+ years at IRB, the idea of 'together we can make great things happen' is going to stick with me,” says Francisco Lozano

Francisco Lozano at the International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization in Lyon (France).
Francisco Lozano at the International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization in Lyon (France).

Many moons have passed since 2006 when Francisco Lozano (b. Madrid, 1968, better known as Curro) moved to a recently launched IRB Barcelona to head the Information Technology Services. Thanks to Curro and his team's contributions over eleven years, IRB Barcelona now boasts developed IT strategies and state-of-the-art, competitive technologies and clusters. He has recently embarked on his next career move: the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the World Health Organization in Lyon (France) has hired him as their Head of Information Technology Services. 

After working at such prestigious research centres as the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva (Switzerland) as a systems engineer and the EMBL in Heidelberg (Germany) as a systems manager, he decided to continue his career at IRB Barcelona. Here he faced the challenge of setting up and managing an ITS department that could efficiently meet the complex and ambitious technical needs of the research facilities and groups that were joining a fast-growing institute. Now, as he takes up his new position at IARC and becomes a member of the IRB Barcelona Alumni Network, he has found the time to take stock of all these years with us. 


What was your first day like at IRB Barcelona versus your last one?

On my first day in March 2006, there were only 5-6 people in the Administration team. My 'office' (just a table and a couple of chairs) was in the 'barracks' between the Cluster building and what is now the current Cluster II. I spent the day introducing myself to some of the 100 or so researchers that had already started at the Institute. It was a very small community indeed! The IT services were also completely dependent on the Barcelona Science Park at that time, so there was a lot to do to get us up and running.

My last day was spent preparing the handover to my successor and it was a nice opportunity to reflect on how far we had come, in terms of building a complete IT infrastructure, as well as seeing how the community had grown. My last day coincided with IRB Barcelona’s Kids’ Day, too, so I had fun taking my three girls around the labs.


Does any IRB Barcelona project or experience deserve a special folder in your “good memory file”?

One of the most exciting and useful projects I took on was integrating Google Apps into the IT infrastructure at IRB. We made a strategic decision early on to host the collaboration suite on the cloud. The cloud was not only about easy management but also fast deployment, mobility, performance, etc. No other research centres had done this at the time, so we were quite brave in taking the jump. It turned out to be a great solution, high-quality, scalable, and cost effective. Apart from this, participating in the IRB Barcelona dance video is also something I'll always have fond memories of.


Can you tell us about something you learnt at IRB Barcelona that is particularly useful for your new position?

So many things! There’s a lot you can learn over 10+ years. I particularly value the project management skills I gained, how to identify and emphasize the value of IT contributions, and the idea of 'together we can make great things happen'.


What attracts you most about working in IT management in the biomedical/healthcare sector?

The mission of advancing cutting-edge research in biomedicine is something I fully support. It's something important for society and it's very necessary. Along the way, it also presents exciting challenges for technology, which really motivates me. I love a good tech challenge.


Challenge: 11 years in 11 words.

Barcelona, opportunity, build, team, challenge, trust, cost-optimization, growth, family, cooking, end.


We wish Curro the best of luck in this new stage of his career and are pleased to welcome him to the IRB Barcelona Alumni Network!

(Written by: Sara Martorell)