The President of the Donostia International Physics Center (DIPC), Pedro Miguel Etxenike, and the Director of the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (MPQ), Juan Ignacio Cirac, signed a collaboration agreement between the two centres this morning. Both the DIPC (Donostia-San Sebastian, Basque Country, Spain) and the MPQ (Garching, Germany) are research centres for fundamental physics in the fields of condensed matter physics and materials science, and atomic physics and quantum optics, respectively.
The German institute is part of the network of 83 research centres of the Max Planck Society, a scientific society with an annual budget of about 1,500 million euros, a staff of over 21,000 employees of whom about 5,000 are scientists and which has 17 Nobel prize winners to its credit.
The agreement signed between the DIPC and the MPQ ratifies the collaboration that already exists between the two centres. Its main aim is to drive forward new channels for cooperation and deepen the relationship between the researchers at the two centres. The recruitment of research personnel, the exchange of professionals, the organising of conferences, seminars and other activities will be promoted. The agreement also seeks to develop innovative scientific projects that combine lines of research in which the DIPC and the MPQ are already leaders.
Apart from maintaining close contacts, Pedro Miguel Etxenike and Juan Ignacio Cirac share one of the most esteemed awards in the scientific field: the Prince of Asturias Prize for Scientific and Technical Research. Both researchers have received a host of prizes, the most salient ones being the Wolf Prize in Physics, regarded as the threshold of the Nobel prize, awarded to Cirac in 2013; and the Max Planck Physics Prize which Etxenike received in 1998.
This morning’s ceremony marks a new step in the collaboration which has been place for a long time. For example, a publication with the participation of researchers from the two centres was the front page of the prestigious journal Nature in 2007, and recently the researcher Geza Giedke, a close colleague of Juan Ignacio Cirac, joined the DIPC thanks to the Ikerbasque Research Professor programme. In his appearance Pedro Miguel Etxenike stressed the following: “This agreement has come about not before but after actual collaboration. It has emerged with content, because at the DIPC and at the MPQ there are people already collaborating and it is people who collaborate. The institutions add visibility and importance to the co-operation by establishing a stable, long-term framework.”
In his appearance before the media, Juan Ignacio Cirac stressed: “The agreement is going to provide us with the necessary framework to put the existing collaboration on a firm footing and embark on new projects. At the MPQ we are convinced about the success of this co-operation.”
The international co-operation agreement signed today is a clear example of the activity being conducted by the DIPC within the framework of Euskampus, Campus of International Excellence of the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU). Pedro Miguel Etxenike has stated: “at the DIPC we are very proud of participating in this international project led by the University of the Basque Country and headed by its Rector”. In this respect, both Pedro Miguel Etxenike and Juan Ignacio Cirac were keen to point out that “internationality is a central characteristic of research and a key prerequisite for its success”.