As Spain’s economy recovers, the strategic application of science could help to stimulate prosperity and to attract much-needed investment. In an unusual move in a world of specialization, the Spanish scientific community has formed a meritocratic, all-sciences advisory council within the Gadea Foundation for Science in Madrid, a non-profit body of leading scientists that works to improve Spain’s science system. The council’s aim is to galvanize politicians and the public into promoting research that will ensure social progress (see www.gadeaciencia.org).
Spain ranks ninth in the world for scientific production and has 58 scientists in the 2017 Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researchers list. The application of research results for the benefit of society is still disturbingly low, however, owing to meagre public support and too few industries based on science and technology.
The advisory council’s first forum was held in October 2017 to develop a strategy for improving this situation. It was framed around four cornerstones: health, life sciences (including philosophy, mathematics and astrobiology), Earth (including materials and water, food and energy, and climate change and biodiversity) and society (including science policy and the economy). The forum’s founding declaration emphasizes the importance for advancing society of knowledge, training, talent and academic–industrial interaction in all of these areas. Our view is that science is not just for scientists — it is a human right.
Nature 556, 31 (2018)