The elected academician Margarita Salas becomes the first Spanish woman to receive the European Inventor Award
Margarita Salas, honorary academician of the Royal European Academy of Doctors-Barcelona 1914 (RAED), considered as the great reference of female scientists in Spain, received on 20 June in Vienna the European Inventor Award 2019, awarded by the European Patent Office, in its Lifetime Achievement category. The jury recognizes her research in different lines of biochemistry and, in particular, her method to amplify DNA and study it more easily. The patent of this method, which uses the enzyme phi29 DNA polymerase, is the most profitable in the long history of the Spanish Higher Center for Scientific Research, the body that protects her research. Salas thus becomes the first Spanish scientist woman to achieve it. The renowned Asturian scientist also won the Popular Award, granted by open voting.
At 80 years old, the elected academician of the RAED continues to investigate in her laboratory at the Severo Ochoa Molecular Biology Center, an organization founded in 1975 as a consortium between the Higher Council of Scientific Research and the Autonomous University of Madrid under the initiative and tutelage of the Spanish Nobel prize in Medicine or Physiology Severo Ochoa. Doctor in Sciences since 1963, Salas herself was a disciple of Ochoa, with whom she worked in the United States, and actively participated in the development of this international reference research center.
The researcher also presides the Severo Ochoa Foundation and conducts annually the course of the School of Molecular Biology Eladio Viñuela, within the summer courses of the International University Menéndez Pelayo in Santander. She is a member of the Spanish Royal Academy of Exact, Physical and Natural Sciences, of the Royal Academy of Spanish Language, of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts, of the American Society of Microbiology and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, among other international institutions of first level.
Salas claims the need for Spain to invest more in research and defends the role of women in science and scientific bodies. “Science funding in Spain is really bad, an important fact is that our country occupies the 9th place in terms of research results, however, we are in the 30th position in terms of funding”, she said recently in the newspaper “El País”. ” “Now we have many women who start research, doing doctoral theses, and I think they will continue their research career and will come to occupy the positions that correspond to them according to their ability and their work, but today it still isn’t like that”, added in “El Confidencial”.