Barcelona, ​​capital of international scientific debate

Microbioma, bioengineering for healthy aging, female cancer and Zika virus are some of the issues that, in 2017, once again made Barcelona the center of international scientific debate under B·Debate - International Center for Scientific Debate Barcelona. This Biocat initiative with the support of the “la Caixa” Foundation, aims to organize high-level international scientific meetings to promote dialogue, collaboration and open exchange of ideas, initiatives and knowledge among renowned national and international experts.

In 2017, a total of 10 scientific meetings were held as part of the B·Debate initiative, which brought together 1,159 attendees and 250 speakers, 53% of whom were international. These meetings were co-organized with 60 research entities, 45% of which were international.

Also participating were benchmark scientific entities such as the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), Molecular Biology Institute of Barcelona (IBMB), Artificial Intelligence Research Institute (CSIC), Center for Genomic Regulation (CRG), Broad Institute, ISGlobal, IrsiCaixa, Institute of Evolutionary Biology (UPF-CSIC), Institut Guttman, Josep Carreras Institute (IJC), Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC) and the Catalan Institute of OncologyBellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (ICO-IDIBELL). Other reference entities such as IRB Barcelona, Institut Germans Trias i Pujol (IGTP), Vall d'Hebron Research Institute (VHIR) and the Spanish National Cancer Research Center (CNIO), also collaborated, among others.

The B·Debate sessions have their own dedicated website, redesigned in 2016, where users can consult in Catalan or English the various material generated by the events. B·Debate also disseminates the knowledge and results emerging from the debates via the News and Synopsis sections of the site.

The following B·Debate sessions took place in 2017:

Industrial Biotechnology. Questions Today for Tomorrow's Needs (14-15 February)

Artificial Intelligence: Dreams, Risks, and Reality (7-8 March) 

The Genotype Tissue Expression (GTEx) Project Community Meeting. Enhancing the Usage of Human Genomics for the benefit of all (20-21 April)

Zika virus and other mosquito-borne viruses. Science for preparedness and response in the Mediterranean region (23-24 May)

The Barcelona Debates on the Human Microbiome 2017. From Microbes to Medicines (29-30 June)

Natural Selection in Humans: Understanding our adaptations (17-18 July)

Integrative Societies and Disability: Open and Smart cities from social sciences (5-6 October)

Epigenetic Mechanisms in Health and Disease. Barcelona Conference on Epigenetics and Cancer (25-26 October)

Women's Cancer (16-17 November)

Bioengineering for Healthy Ageing. Adding Life to Years (9 November).

B·Debate: "The Barcelona Debates on the Human Microbiome 2017. From Microbes to Medicines"

B·Debate: "The Genotype Tissue Expression (GTEx) Project Community Meeting. Enhancing the Usage of Human Genomics for the benefit of all"

Cinema, science and future

Scientific debate can take place in many scenarios, not just in conference halls, and movie theaters is just one of these. Thus, in November, and to coincide with Science Week, Biocat, the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) and the Phenomena movie theater in Barcelona organized the Cinema, science and future season. Will artificial intelligence dominate the future? What consequences might genetic experiments have? These and other questions asked by scientists every day also featured in the scripts of some of the most controversial classic science fiction movies in the history of cinema. The season included five of these movies, followed by a discussion amongst film critics and scientists in each area.

Biocat organized the selection of the scientists and the themes for the sessions: a scientific expert in the theme of each movie took part, with the aim of generating an open debate with viewers and further exploring the questions arising from each movie. The sessions were moderated by film critic Jordi Sánchez Navarro, director of Information and Communication Sciences Studies and the Master's degree in Fantastic Film and Contemporary Fiction at the UOC.

Poster of cinema cycle "Cinema, science and future"