Chief Executive Officer of the Rey Jaime I Awards Foundation: Javier Quesada: "Great countries are not the ones who have the oil, but the ones who have the science and technology"

Chief Executive Officer of the Rey Jaime I Awards Foundation: Javier Quesada: “Great countries are not the ones who have the oil, but the ones who have the science and technology”

this Rey Jaime I Awards is a tribute. at the moment Science, very valuable since March 2020. Also to anyone who focuses their daily efforts on life that continues to evolve. And this year, more than ever, Santiago Grisoliafounder of these awards and deceased months ago.

hours after the surrender ceremony in the presence of officials kings of spain, Javier Quesada, Executive Chairman of the Rey Jaime I Awards Foundationtakes care Discussion.

How do you welcome the award ceremony?

–With great excitement because it is a very emotional and exciting event. All the people who will be in Lonja deserve to be there, but those who wanted to be there unfortunately failed to do so. It will be very musical, we will sing the anthem… And finally we will see our faces because we really want to get to know each other. There are also previous winners and two Nobel Prize winners who have been there to represent the juries exceptionally.

–What is the key to making these Awards gain more prestige every year?

-It is very important that the candidates are strong, which they are. In addition, everyone wants to be the Jaime I Prize winner, there are more and more people, and above all, with the presence of Nobel, the juries continue to be exceptional and independent as they have been until now. Award winners and many researchers and businessmen from both Spain and the rest of the world. This is a guarantee that they are always right in their decisions.

– The jury will have more difficulty choosing the winners each year. What criteria is it based on?

–Nobel prizes tend to look at discoveries, the idea that something is new because nobody had done it until then, whether they discover something specific or lead to a series of publications that continue the winner’s contribution. They seek influence either because they solve a technical problem or because they open a scientific line that has been followed for years.

Having Felipe VI as Honorary President of the Foundation is the greatest appreciation we can have.

In 2020, the premiere was held in the midst of a pandemic and with various restrictions in 2021. Finally a normal ceremony…

-You’re right. It will be a completely normal gala. We are lucky to be in the presence, which is always much more exciting than being far away. In addition, we can always host more people within the security limit. Even so, we’d like it to be a ten times bigger market to fill it up, but it’s from the 15th century and pretty big for when it was built (laughs).

What are the achievements of this year’s winners?

– In Fundamental Research, the application of mathematics to solve all kinds of problems. In the case of the economy, the use of new data sources, big dataallows to analyze, judge and evaluate public policies very quickly. Regarding medicine, I would like to highlight the practice of non-invasive surgery on the digestive tract, which is an extraordinary benefit for humanity. In terms of the environment, remote sensing, a fire method that quickly analyzes where fires occur, their causes and consequences. And we have a very rare case in Entrepreneurship because she is not only a businesswoman but also a scientist and that is very difficult. He founded several companies that are very young and of exceptional value.

–What does it mean that the Foundation’s Honorary President is King Felipe VI?

–Since the Royal House accepts the Honorary Presidency, it has always been for us the greatest appreciation a country can have. This year also comes with Her Majesty the Queen. What more do we want?

In 1990, the ceremony was presided over by the Prince of Asturias. Will we soon see Princess Leonor do this?

–It is not up to us, of course, but time passes. Prince Felipe was very young when he arrived and perhaps one of the first plays he celebrated as Prince, Severo Ochoa was on the jury and it was very exciting. Time is ticking and Doña Leonor will come to represent the Royal House at any moment and we will be delighted to welcome her.

Santiago Grisolía always had a Spanish Nobel in mind to reward the effort made in our country.

– What do you think is the context of science in Spain and what kind of future does it predict for him?

I like to be optimistic. What the juries are telling us is that science has developed a lot in our country. As Ramón y Cajal said, “Spain was a scientific wasteland.” He wrote it almost a hundred years ago, but forty years ago it was a wasteland. But things have changed a lot: there are great centers, there are great scientists. There are also foreigners in Spain and Spaniards abroad, so we are increasingly integrated into the world’s science and technology systems.

What about work?

– Exactly the same thing happens. We have Spanish companies that operate international airports, build facilities, bridges, highways in America… We also have foreign companies in Spain. We integrated it, and while doing this, we also did it in the fields of science and technology. But since we started late, we still have to catch up with the rest: France, Germany or the UK take us a long way. Oddly enough, the big countries are those with science and technology, not oil.

– A few months ago, Santiago Grisolía passed away. How do you evaluate your figure as the organizer of the awards and your contribution to the Foundation?

–As you said, he was the main sponsor of these Awards. He always had in mind a Spanish Nobel, who would first of all reward the efforts made in our country. We currently have 34 publications, and as such, we are a public speaker, explaining that we should never neglect or interrupt aid to science, neither in the public nor in the private sector. Therefore, Santiago Grisolía also aroused the interest of Valencian businessmen to enter the Foundation and give it a special arm to make it stronger.

Will they talk about it?

– A special commemoration ceremony will be held in the first part of the ceremony. His memory will be present in our minds. Life is too much. He wanted to come by January but failed. He lived intensely, and we will remember the main episodes of his life.

What challenges does the Foundation face in such an uncertain and changing context?

–Sometimes it is something that is undervalued, namely to maintain. Everyone wants to do new things, but the greatest virtue is to keep what’s worth it. These Awards have been worth many years and many more should continue. Without making major changes, we want to continue this line of excellence and perhaps increase public recognition so that the loudspeaker’s voice is heard and we continue to seek support from the private sector.

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