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Functional Materials for a Better Future (FUNFUTURE)

Severo Ochoa Project

The ICMAB became a Severo Ochoa Centre of Excellence in 2016, becoming one of the top research centers in Spain in Materials Science, and renewed the seal of excellence in 2020.

The associated research programme brings together the institute’s nine Research Units in five priority research lines (RL):

  • RL1: Sustainable energy conversion and storage systems
  • RL2: Superconducting materials for emerging technologies
  • RL3: Oxides for new generation electronics
  • RL4: Tuneable and low cost molecular electronics
  • RL5: Bioactive materials for thearpy and diagnosis

These 5 RL are integrated into the three social grand challenges of the 21st Century, aligned with the main European Social Challenges in H2020:


The general objectives of the FUNFUTURE Severo Ochoa project are:

  • Achieving a high scientific and technological impact.
  • Strengthening the international ICMAB leadership in the functional materials area.
  • Enhancing the fundraising capabilities of the ICMAB.
  • Enhancing the activities related to outreach and the exploitation of research outcomes.
  • Improving the training and recruiting activities of ICMAB to attract the best talent.
  • Implementing a specific Gender Action Plan aimed to promote gender equality.

Centres and units 2022

Application Areas


The Energy sector is facing a new worldwide paradigm with 20 % renewables and 20 % decrease of greenhouse emission for 2020. This requires new ways of producing, storing, transporting and stabilizing electricity. The ICMAB undertakes this challenge reinforcing our expertise in smart functional materials research and strategically developing cost-effective upscalable technologies, from materials choice all along the value chain process to proof-of-concept devices. Our roadmap promotes greener and cost-effective technologies strengthening materials growth from chemical methods and highlighting additive manufacturing technologies for large area materials at high performance/low cost.


Current needs in big-data handling are demanding new solutions for the dramatic energy consumption of current computing and data storage devices. Power dissipation and miniaturization are fundamental challenges for nanoelectronic circuits. We envisage sustainable and energy-efficiency approaches to electronics by working along two fronts: exploiting dissipation-less storage and information control by electric fields and involving spin-only currents, rather than charge transport. The use of organic materials/molecules in devices will also provide important guidance towards a new-generation of memories. Great perspectives are expected for the development of devices exploiting the charge as well as the spin of the molecules.


Academia and the innovative industry have directed its interests towards nanomedicine, whose technological breakthrough potentiality is widely acknowledged. It is envisaged that the unique properties of nanomaterials will make a strong impact contributing to solve some of the challenges of Health and Societal Wellbeing. FUNMAT will contribution to Nanomedecine, through improvement of drugs and medicines making them more selective, less toxic, and more efficient. It will also contribute to the advance of medical diagnosis by developing new contrast agents for medical imaging techniques. Further, the use of advanced materials and nanotechnology concepts in synergy with molecular biology will allow the generation of new tools for tissue engineering meaning a giant step for regenerative medicine.
Strategic Priority Actions for the years 2020-2023
  1. Formation of a Scientific Advisory BoardScientific Advisory Board (SAB) formed by 12 international experts was formed. The SAB visited and evaluated the research lines and the ICMAB performance on November 2016, 2017 and 2018, and will do so in 2020 in an online meeting. 

  2. Frontier Interdisciplinary Projects (FIPs)
    The FIP are an internal call of proposals for researchers of the Institute aimed for the development of high-risk exploratory projects of interdisciplinary character to generate cutting-edge research in the application areas of clean & secure energy, smart & sustainable electronics or smart nanomedicine.
    FIP projects aim to reinforce the internal links and scientific critical mass of ICMAB's researchers, and to contribute to strenghen the international leadership of the Institute in the area of functional materials.
    The FIP calls were in 20162017 and 2018 and 2020.

  3. Talent attraction and recruiting
    During the Severo Ochoa period, many students and researchers are incorporated in the ICMAB to do their Bachelor or MSc Thesis, as a predoctoral or postdoctoral researcher, and as tenured reseracher. In addition, new incorporations in Communication, Technology Transfer, Administration and Project Managing have started. 

  4. Mobility actions and training 
    Researchers have the opportunity to receive training during their career at ICMAB: workshops, seminars, soft skills training. And they are also encourage to collaborate with international researchers, to attend conferences and meeting and to do secondments or stays abroad. 

  5. Invigorate the Technology Transfer programme
    One of the main missions of ICMAB is to transfer the knowledge acquired to the society. This is achieved by transferring technology to industries, universities and other research centers, through patents, publications, spin-offs, and by establishing different collaborations with them. 

  6. Invigorate the Communication & Outreach programme
    One of the main missions of ICMAB is to encourage scientific vocations and increase the general scientific knowledge of the society. Throughout last year, ICMAB continued to offer public engagement and science education activities. A Communication & Outreach Officer was hired in April 2017 to invigorate the communication program. Its main function is to support the dissemination of the research activity and the impact of the work developed by the ICMAB community. 

  7. Invigorate the Project Managing programme
    We coordinate the first MSCA COFUND project of the CSIC (the DOCFAM), we count with more than 10 ERC, and many other European and National projects. 

  8. Creation of new Committees
    An interesting Severo Ochoa action is the formation of three new committees on Recruiting, Seminars & Training, and Gender Equality. These committees are integrated by members of each research lines and have the support of the Severo Ochoa project managers. In 2017, two other committees were created, the Technology Transfer committee, and the Communication & Outreach committee. These new committees were added to the already existing committees of the Institute: Health & Safety, Computing, Gases and Waste Management 
SOMM Alliance

SOMMa is the alliance of Severo Ochoa centres and María de Maeztu units to promote Spanish Excellence in research and to enhance its social impact at national and international levels. SOMMa was officially launched in October 2017.

SOMMa brings together 25 Severo Ochoa centres and 16 María de Maeztu units accredited through these excellence awards and aims to:

  • Increase the national and international visibility of the SO and MM programme as an “interdisciplinary and interconnedted Spanish research ecosystem of excellence”
  • Promote exchange of knowledge, technology and good practices among its members, the international scientific community and key stakeholders. 
  • Have a voice in Spanish science policy. 
  • Collaborate with other centres and universities to push forward Spanish science.

The alliance’s starting activities comprised the establishment of its own governance, the launching of the website ( and the organisation of task forces to address the different objectives.

SOMMa is organized by a Chair, Co-Chair and Project Manager, and by a Steering Committee (SC) in charge of different work packages.

The ICMAB participates in “Work package 3: Outreach”, and helps in the organization of the 100xCiencia meetings.

  • In 2017, the 100xCiencia.2 meeting was held in Alicante, and its topic was “Co-creating value in scientific research”.
  • In 2018, the 100xCiencia.3 meeting was held in Madrid (CNIO) and the topic was "Bridging science and society"
  • In 2019, 100xCiencia.4 meeting is in Donostia/San Sebastián (BCBL) "Tendiendo puentes entre ciencia y sociedad" 

The ICMAB Communication & Outreach Officer, Anna May Masnou, is also part of the SOMMa Editorial Board, which is in charge of the website and of the press releases of the SOMMa network.