MADRID – Engineer Jose Maria Benlloch was awarded one of Spain’s five National Awards for Scientific Research for the year 2014 at a ceremony Thursday presided by Spanish King Felipe VI in the Spanish capital.
Queen Letizia and Economy Minister Luis de Guindos were among those present at the Royal Palace as the reigning monarch called for additional resources to improve the level of science in Spain and urged that “special efforts be made in promoting scientific culture.”
“It has already been some while since Spain got on board the train of scientific research and it is clear that we no longer have the luxury of getting off because that would have extremely negative consequences on our future,” the king said.
Scientific progress requires cooperation between all sectors involved, such as the public administration, universities and the private sector, all of whom, King Felipe said, are “doing whatever possible to enhance the quality and the range of capabilities of Spanish science.”
Spain reinstated its National Awards for Scientific Research in 2014 after having suspended them two years previously as a budget cutting measure.
The prizes are awarded for ground-breaking research in the fields of medicine, biology, engineering, humanities, economics and the social sciences, and each comes with a 100,000-euro cash bursary.
This year’s winners include distinguished professor of medicine Jesus Maria Prieto, biologist Joan Massague Sole, engineer Jose Maria Benlloch, economist Jose Luis Garcia and philologist Violeta Demonte Barreto.
All of them, the king said in his speech, are “outstanding examples of the talent and quality of Spanish researchers” and have done much to help Spain achieve a position of eminence in fields such as innovative health care, rail transport and renewable energy sources.