European Funding


El objetivo temático de este tipo de actuaciones es promover el desarrollo tecnológico, la innovación y una investigación de calidad (OT.1)

Ayudas destinadas a financiar planes estratégicos y programas estratégicos de investigación ejecutados por las estructuras de investigación de excelencia en el marco de la Estrategia regional de investigación e innovación para una especialización inteligente (RIS3) de Castilla y León 2014-2020, cofinanciadas por el Fondo Europeo de Desarrollo Regional “Escalera de Excelencia” Ref. CLC-2017-01

Years: 2018-2022

Funding Entity: Consejería de Educación / Junta de Castilla y León

IP: Dr. Xosé R. García Bustelo

Funding: 2,100,000.00 €

Summary Strategic Plan:


The Centro de Investigación del Cáncer-Instituto de Biología Molecular del Cáncer of Salamanca (CIC-IBMCC) started in 2000 as a multi-institutional initiative supported by the Fundación para la Investigación del Cáncer de la Universidad de Salamanca (FICUS), the University of Salamanca (USAL), and the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC). The CIC-IBMCC integrates under the same roof basic, translational, and clinical groups at the forefront of research lines focused on the understanding and treatment of cancer. Due to this, the CIC-IBMCC has been specifically included in the description of capacities of the Castilla y León (CyL) Specialization Patterns within the overall strategy of the RIS3 for Health and Quality of Life by our regional government. We summarize below our mission, strategic research program for the near future, and our vision.


Following the new regional RIS3 policy, the CIC-IBMCC plans to become further focused on performing basic research of excellence in cancer and to cover the entire value chain of R&D (basic research, translational research, technology transfer, and commercial exploitation of our scientific output.) Within this framework, our guiding principles are:

  1. Without losing our focus on research of excellence, to put emphasis on performing market-oriented collaborative research in cancer, a key and singular scientific-technological domain that is strategic for CyL according to its RIS3 policy. To this end, research projects will be developed through our own groups in close collaboration with other researchers from academic centers, hospitals, and the biopharmaceutical industry. We will also encourage the training and mobility of researchers as well as the coauthorship of our scientific and technological outputs (publications, patents) along the lines set forth by the 3 strategic lines of the CyL RIS3.
  2. To focus on the commercial exploitation of our research through the generation of patents, their licensing, and the creation of technology-driven spin-offs. A new figure of project manager will be created to drive this specific action. These activities will allow us to deal with one of the key weaknesses listed in the CyL RIS3 regarding the protection of research results and their use. Indeed, according the data provided in RIS3, the “Patent Application in CyL are less than the national and European average”.
  3. To foster high quality training and education of the next generation workforce at different stages of their scientific careers (graduate, postgraduate, MIR). Such a training will emphasize scientific excellence as well as future potential for mobility among basic, translational, and industrial settings. It will be also in line with the changing needs of the society, the scientific technological advances, and the market.

The consolidation of these initiatives will allow us to achieve the long-term mission of our center: to build an European Union-reference point in cancer research in our region that, in turn, will enable the long-term development of emerging sectors in the cancer field, become an attraction pole for the pharmaceutical industry, and enhance the competiveness of the biotech and biopharma sectors in our city and region through the development of new technologies, diagnostic methods, and therapies. In this context, the CIC-IBMCC will act with a strong commitment of collaboration with all possible social, sanitary, and academic sectors (Hospital, Health Institute, University, Scientific Park, existing start-ups and established companies) to optimize existing capacities and, following a fully synergistic approach, favor the generation of a highly integrative offer of scientific excellence that, in the long run, must boost the evolution of knowledge-based economy by increasing its intrinsically high added value.



The new CIC-IBMCC Strategic Plan (SP) has been designed to provide further impetus to our novel institutional strengthening process and mission. To this end, it aims at the following short-term goals:

  • To increase the scientific and social impact of our science through the consolidation and expansion of our research programs and technological platforms
  • To strengthen the impact of technology transfer actions
  • To intensify high quality training activities
  • To expand the current institutional actions and to develop new ones to overcome current weaknesses
  • To increase social awareness on biomedical research and its value for society via the strengthening of our communication and outreach activities

To favor the consecution of these goals, the SP has reshuffled the overall organization of our research structure into two mutually complementary Research Programs (RPs):

  1. The Molecular Mechanisms of Cancer (MMC) Program
  2. The Translational and Clinical Research in Cancer (TCRC) Program

The basic core of these RPs is the human force of our principal investigators (PIs) that participate in this application together with the extensive number of transversal technological facilities and service units that the CIC-IBMCC has developed during these last years. These two RPs currently cover essential areas of cancer research, including basic, translational and clinical research. They also include multiple experimental models that cover gene characterization, genome-wide high throughput techniques (sequencing, transcriptomal profiling, proteomics), cellular models, animal models, and clinical models (patient-derived xenografts, cancer samples). Topics currently covered include genomics, signal transduction, metastasis, cell signaling, chromosomal stability, apoptosis, autophagy, systems biology, bioinformatics, diagnostics, drug testing, and clinical trials. In the MMC Program, groups cover different pathobiological programs and tumor types. In the TCRC Program the main focus is on hematological and mammary tumors. In addition to further expand and consolidate these programs, we plan to carry out new and transversal scientific objectives that would allow us to get further information on the mechanisms of cancer with a high potential to be transferred to both the clinic and the industry.

Specific goals have been established towards the implementation of Big Data-based precision medicine in the clinic and to the identification and validation of new drug targets, diagnostic signatures, and therapies (both single and combinatorial). These research goals will be combined with outreach activities and collaborative research projects with hospitals and industry. Moreover, we will aim at extending these collaborations to both national and international groups and companies. As a result, these actions will significantly contribute to the increase of the international grant success rate and the overall leadership of our Center in R&D. These two objectives are widely recognized weakness of our regional system according to strategic analysis made during the implementation of the CyL RIS3-p21 program.

These RPs, along with new management and organizational structures that will be specifically implemented during our SP 2018-2021, will also allow to carry out with a firmer basis the training, outreach, and dissemination activities associated with the both the CIC-IBMCC long-term mission and the CyL RIS3 strategy.


All our activities will be carried out taking into consideration the following commitments and values:

  • Projects will be conducted with the firm believe that scientific excellence can only be fostered in a free, tolerant, and fully cooperative environment
  • Actions will aim at promoting human and professional development of each and all of the trainees, researchers, and technical personnel that are involved in achieving our goals




  • Top basic and clinical research groups with ability to establish synergistic interactions inside and outside the center
  • High visibility at local and regional level
  • Good managerial and administration practices
  • Core facilities with top-class professionals and equipment
  • Wide network of international collaborations
  • Clearly defined underlying strategic goals, research lines and priorities, which will allow to create considerable synergies.
  • Good funding from competitive regional and national sources
  • Good quality of training of PhD and MD students as well as postdoctoral researchers


  • Lack of PIs in key research lines. Limited spectrum of tumor types studied at the clinical level
  • Lack of fund for new talent recruitment
  • Low ratio of international and female PIs
  • Lack of ERC funding
  • Limited success with the coordination of H2020 projects
  • Limited international visibility
  • Dispersion of research activities


  • Incorporation of new, internationally competitive research lines
  • Increase in the total number of high impact publications
  • Capacity to attract funding from European and other international granting agencies
  • Taking advantage of governmental programs for research centers (CyL RIS3 initiative, Severo Ochoa and María de Maeztu Programs)
  • Traslational potential of work that will foster collaborations and transfer of R&D outputs to the biopharmaceutical industry
  • Increase in total number of internal and international collaborations
  • Creation of Alumni network
  • Expansion of our capacity to obtain philanthropy-based funding


  • Lack of recycling of Center due to aging, ability to retain groups, and lack of enticing offers for new candidates
  • Negative international perception of the Spanish scientific system, which limits recruitment of foreign PIs, postdoctoral fellows and students
  • Risk associated with the loss of productivity in research due to excessive dedication to administrative, managerial, and fund-rising tasks.
  • Risk associated with lack of proper on-time renovation of key infrastructures and equipment, especially at the core facilities




ACTION A1. New governance and management structure of the Center

  • SA 1.1. To create the figure of the Scientific Program Director (SPD)
  • SA 1.2. To establish specific committees to promote in a day-to-day basis group cohesion, team building, and a high sense of institutional belonging.
  • SA 1.3. To create the figure of the Program Manager (PM)
  • SA 1.4. To renew and consolidate the FICUS External Scientific Advisory Board (ESAB)
  • SA 1.5. To consolidate the Communication & Marketing Unit (CMU)
  • SA 1.6. To adapt the administration structure of the FICUS to the new demands of SP

ACTION A2. New organization of our research activities in synergistic Research Programs

ACTION A3. Creation of new research lines and attraction of new talent

ACTION A4. Policies to increase the collaboration and synergies accross our RPs and groups

  • SA 4.1. To promote initiatives to foster the cooperativity and synergisms between the RPs
  • SA 4.2. To consolidate the competitiveness and cooperativity of our research groups
  • SA 4.3. To organize horizontal activities to prompt the cooperation among research groups

ACTION A5. Maintain and further expand the technical capacity of the CIC-IBMCC core facilities

ACTION A6. Implementation of criteria of excellence for CIC-IBMCC IP, RPs, and core facilities

ACTION A7. Increase funding from both Spanish- and EU-funded networks

  • SA 7.1. To recruite a professional Project Manager (PM)
  • SA 7.2. To invest in sub-contractors to help the PM
  • SA 7.3. To invest part of the indirect cost in the consolidation of a Program Management Unit

ACTION A8. To improve knowledge-transfer

ACTION A9. Expand our collaborations to third parties



ACTION B1.1. Establishment of the Training Committee

ACTION B1.2. Internationalization of our Master and Ph.D. programs

  • SA B1.2.1. To entice foreign students to our programs
  • SA B1.2.2. To promote stays of our trainees at the premises of other research institutions form public and private sector

ACTION B1.3. Creation of a Former Alumni Network

ACTION B1.4. Administrative support


ACTION B2.1. To internationalize the CIC-IBMCC scientific personnel

ACTION B.2.2. To implement star-up packages for junior PIs

ACTION B.2.3. To implement measures to facilitate participation in ERC calls

ACTION B.2.4. To implement a PI-oriented tutoring plan




ACTION C1. To strengthen collaborations with top research institutions and large scale international consortia

  • SA C1.1. To strengthen the international seminar program
  • SA C1.2. To organize international conferences, seminars and workshops
  • SA C1.3. To organize international workshops on technological platforms
  • SA C1.4. To use the Former Alumni Network to foster interconnections with top international research centers
  • SA C1.5. To promote short working visits of potential collaborators and consortium leaders to the Center

ACTION C2. To improve returns from the H2020 program and other international sources

  • SA C2.1. Recruitment a Program Manager (PM)
  • SA C2.2. To provide individual counseling services for ERC project applications
  • SA C2.3. To increase funding from international sources, with especial emphasis on coordination roles and joint programming intiatives

ACTION C3. To achieve the HR Excellence in Research award


ACTION D1. Management of the Center’s research outcomes

ACTION D2. Knowledge transfer and collaborative linkages with the business sector, research centers and other relevant stakeholders

  • SA D2.1. To increase the institutional visibility of the Center to biopharmaceutical companies
  • SA D2.2. To increase our capabilities to set joint projects with industry

ACTION D3. Outreach and knowledge diffusion

  • SA D3.1. To focus the Communication & Marketing Unit on general society-oriented activities
  • SA D3.2. To further expand existing outreach activities with society
  • SA D3.3. To increase our participation in media
  • SA D3.4. To increase more philantropic and private funding to support outreach actions

ACTION D4. Open access policies for publications and datasets from public-sponsored funding


Results Biennale Report Strategic Plan Execution

During the period October 2018-September 2020, we have carried out the following actions in accordance to the Strategic Plan of our application:

ACTION A1. New governance and management structure of the Center

  • Changes in both the governance and management structures of the Center. Those included: (i) Appointment of the Scientific Program Director (Action A1.1). (ii) Creation of the Strategic Plan Internal Scientific and Training Committees (Action A1.2). (iii) Hiring of the Program Manager (Action A1.3). (iv) Renewal of the External Scientific Advisory Board (Action A1.4). (v) Consolidation of the Communication & Marketing Unit (Action A1.5) and day-to-day managing structures (Action A1.6).

ACTION A2. New organization of our research activities in synergistic Research Programs

  • Implementation of the proposed research programs of our Center: (i) The Molecular Mechanisms of Cancer Program. (ii) The Translational and Clinical Research in Cancer Program.
  • Appointment of the coordinators of those Programs.
  • Establishment of two levels of positions in the research career ladder of our Center: (i) Principal Investigator (PI). (ii) Tenured R3 positions (TR3P).

ACTION A3. Creation of new research lines and attraction of new talent

  • We have set up a policy of “start-up packages” for new young PIs.
  • We have successfully started the recruitment of 5 new (and young) PIs to the Center. Two of them are already working at the Center with allocated start-up packages.

ACTION A4. Policies to increase the collaboration and synergies across our RPs and groups

  • Appointment of coordinators of our two Research Programs to initiate activities.
  • Set up internal seminars to favour exchange of information and foster collaborations.
  • Provided support to several CIC PIs to strengthen both their international competitiveness and the consolidation of the new Research Programs.
  • Set up policies for granting “start-up packages” to new young PIs.
  • Provided advice and administrative assistance to apply for collaborative projects that already resulted in two granted international projects led by CIC-IBMCC PIs.

ACTION A5. Maintain and further expand the technical capacity of CIC-IBMCC core facilities

  • Actions made to incorporate new technical staff to our Core Units.
  • Purchase of new equipment to foster the activities of specific Core Units.

ACTION A6. Implementation of criteria of excellence for CIC-IBMCC IP, RPs, and core facilities

  • Appointment of the External Scientific Advisory Board (ESAB)
  • Carried out the first face-to-face meeting of the new ESAB to evaluate: (i) Evaluate our Strategic Plan. (ii) The scientific performance of the stablished PIs. (iii) The potential of the new young PIs recruited to the Center.

ACTION A7. Increase funding from both Spanish- and EU-sponsored projects

  • Set up contract with a company (SILO), to provide advice and administrative support to apply to international, EU-sponsored grants.
  • Application (unsuccessfully) to 2 ERC Advanced and 2 Marie-Curie grants.
  • 5 international multi-center grants have been obtained during this period.
  • Funding obtained from both regional and national calls as well.

ACTION B1. High quality training and mentoring

  • Appointment of the Coordinator and members of the Training Committee (Action B1.1).
  • Establish English as main scientific language in our training programs and started both dissemination activities and inter-university collaborations to favour internationalization of our training programs (Action B1.2).
  • For graduate students, set up “Introduction to Research” and “Bridge Research” contracts to favour incorporation into CIC-IBMCC research groups (Action B1.2).
  • For graduate students, set up the “Extension Research” contract to help finishing the publications derived from their Ph.D. thesis work and foster their future postdoc training in top foreign laboratories (Action B1.2).
  • For postdocs, set up specific contract calls to favour incorporation into the young PIs recruited to the CIC-IBMCC (Action B1.2).
  • Provided administrative support to Training program members (Action B1.4).

ACTION B2. Recruitment of new talent

  • In order to increase the incorporation of international researchers, all our job offers are now published at the European EURAXESS portal (policy initiated in Feb 2019 (Action B2.1).
  • Start-up packages for newly recruited young PIs (Action B2.2).
  • Set up contract with a company (SILO), to provide advice and administrative support to apply to international, EU-sponsored grants (Action B2.3).

ACTION C1. To strengthen collaborations with top research institutions and large scale international consortia

  • Consolidation of the international seminar program, with 34 scientific seminars being held during this period. (Action C1.1)
  • Organization of several international conferences and workshops. (Actions C1.2 & 3)

ACTION C2. To improve returns from the H2020 program and other international sources

  • International funding has been obtained for 5 projects (Actions A7 & 2.3)

ACTION C3. To achieve the HR Excellence in Research award

  • Strategy HRS4R award obtained on September 30th 2019

ACTION D2. Knowledge transfer and collaborative linkages with the business sector, research centers and other relevant stakeholders

  • CIC-IBMCC website and logo have been updated (Actions D.2.1 & 2.2)
  • Established higher numbers of agreements (MTAs, CDAs. RSAs, CRAs, etc.) than expected with pharmaceutical, biotechnology companies, hospitals as well as public and private stakeholders.

ACTION D3. Outreach and knowledge diffusion

ACTION D4. Open access policies for publications and datasets from public-sponsored funding

  • 1% of our scientific publications have been published in open access format as of today.