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IRB Barcelona ups its presence in Japan thanks to its Alumni Network



Section Head of International Strategic Support
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The Institute has signed a 5-year collaboration agreement to promote the exchange of faculty members and scientific collaboration with the Hokkaido University.

This month, the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) and the Graduate School of Life Science at Hokkaido University, Japan, have signed a scientific collaboration agreement for an initial period of 5 years through which to foster the exchange of faculty and explore joint scientific interests.

This particular alliance came about from conversations between the IRB Barcelona Alumni Office and alumna Fayna M. García.

Fayna M. García (Las Palmas 1979), former PhD student of the Chemistry Programme, currently holds an Assistant Professor post at the Hokkaido University of Life Science in Japan. When she left the Institute, García took away some good memories of her training period at IRB Barcelona and has actively sought to conserve her relationship with the institute. During one visit to IRB Barcelona some time ago she approached to Sara Martorell, IRB Barcelona Alumni Relations Officer, with the idea of establishing an agreement between her current centre and the Institute. Several months down the line and these initial ideas have now taken shape in the form of a “Memorandum of Understanding” between Hokkaido University and IRB Barcelona.

Clara Caminal, the person responsible for International Strategic Support at IRB Barcelona says, “This is yet another example of the international dimension being gained by the Institute, but perhaps more importantly an extraordinary example of an initiative that has been promoted from the bottom up.”

The potential of the Alumni Network

Martorell highlights the role that García has played in this initiative and the vast potential of the Alumni network. “With such talented alumni around the globe, the scope for internationalisation is incredible. From the Alumni Office, we will provide support to other alumni thinking of approaching us with ideas for international collaborations.”

The Alumni Network figures highly among the strategic lines pursued by the IRB Barcelona’s Internationalisation Office. “It is hope that this new collaboration with the Hokkaido University will be one of many more to come through this channel,” says Caminal.


About IRB Barcelona

The Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) pursues a society free of disease. To this end, it conducts multidisciplinary research of excellence to cure cancer and other diseases linked to ageing. It establishes technology transfer agreements with the pharmaceutical industry and major hospitals to bring research results closer to society, and organises a range of science outreach activities to engage the public in an open dialogue. IRB Barcelona is an international centre that hosts 400 researchers and more than 30 nationalities. Recognised as a Severo Ochoa Centre of Excellence since 2011, IRB Barcelona is a CERCA centre and member of the Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology (BIST).