The IFCA is an international research reference. Its High Energy Physics projects are developed in association with the most important International laboratories. Within the area of Physical Technologies and Science of the National Research Council, the IFCA is placed among the three with the highest scientific productivity. It has taken part in important findings, such as the discovery of the quark top at the Tevatron (1995), the most significant breakthrough in the field of high energies in the last 30 years. As many as 2000 citations have been made in three different publications; in The Universe’s Furthest Object, published in Nature (in 2009); or in the Oscillations of Bs Mesons. It has received several awards (Tollestrup of the Universities Research Association, USA or the award from the European Physics Society). With permanent international cooperation (Planck mission, LHC,(CERN), CDF of Fermilab (Chicago) XMM space mission), its researchers have published at the highest level (Nature or Science).
The IFCA also provides scientific calculation infrastructures (ALTAMIRA node of the Spanish Supercomputing Network). In the Astrophysics field it takes part in the most important observatories and space missions of the area in cooperation with the ESA and the ESO. In Statistical and Non-linear physics it has a wide range of international collaborations and publications.
Other UC research groups also have international scientific quality with collaborations with more than 300 universities and research centres worldwide, as well as with some of the world´s most important entities (ESA). This is the case of Physics of Materials, with a very important experimental component (High Pressures, Low Temperatures, High Magnetic Fields), and with participation in major international scientific facilities (neutron diffusion centres, ILL, ISIS, or synchrotron radiation centres, ESRF, SOLEIL and DIAMOND). Optical and Plasma Physics also has active groups both in scientific and technical production and technology transfer. Applied meteorology is a highly developed area that combines researchers from Mathematics and from Physics and Engineering, with strong bonds with the AEMET.
In the mathematics field, the groups have evolved towards research mainly based on the relation of Mathematics with Computing and Computer Science. Its international importance also can be seen in fields such as Algebra and Computational Geometry, partial differential equations, numerical calculus, geometric design and CAD/CAM, statistics or scientific calculations. In fact, the UC is the entity managing the CONSOLIDER i-MATH project and coordinating the International Centre for Mathematical Meetings (CIEM) which, like other European centres, organises specialised activities.
One of the preferential actions proposed is the starting up, in accordance with the Operational Plan of CIFMA, of 6 specific research programmes in the above-mentioned fields, with the aim of increasing recruitment of researchers and fundraising by 20% during the period 2009-2012 in each area.
The International Campus of Physics and Mathematics has a calculation centre of reference, one of the nodes in Spain for the data processing of the CMS experiment of the LHC, centre of reference for the analysis of data of the Planck and XMM missions and one of the three initial nodes of the GRID-CSIC project.
Owing to the importance of this infrastructure for Cantabria International Campus, the modernisation of the scientific calculation centre has been proposed in order to improve the performance of the facilities by means of the renewal and maintenance of the equipment.
Another action proposed foresees the expansion and consolidation of the important Network of eleven laboratories attached to this Campus. The creation of a Laboratory for Calibration, Characterisation and Tests, is listed amongst the prospective projects.
The departments involved in this Campus enjoy a high teaching quality, proven by the “Quality Mention” granted to its three doctorate programmes and the adaptation of its five Master degrees to the EHEA. Its graduate programmes have a high internationalisation level. The researchers participate in national and international schools specialised in the fields of Astrophysics, Particle Physics, Neutrons, High Pressures and Computational Theoretical Chemistry. This provides this campus with a great potential for integrating part of its programmes into the International Postgraduate School of the UC/UIMP/CSIC as well as boosting the quality of several of the training programmes associated with other sectorial areas such as the Water and Energy Campus or the Technology Campus.
In knowledge and technology transfer.
The scientific activities have also been paralleled by technological development. The instrumentation developed at the IFCA is installed in space satellites (Planck mission) and in particle detectors (CMS at the CERN, Geneva, or CDF at the Tevatron, Chicago). Several groups of this campus maintain a growing collaboration with companies in different sectors, an outstanding case being the 25 years of cooperation with NUCLENOR for the development of safety applications at the nuclear plant of Garoña. Likewise, it continuously cooperates with the Technological Centre of Components, the Environmental Research Centre, the AEMET and MeteoSwiss (the Swiss equivalent). It has also created four spin-off companies.
One of the main strengths of the Campus is its capacity to establish collaborations with the other strategic areas, in fields such as scientific computing, construction of new space satellites or terrestrial observatories (Technology Campus), studies of biomaterials under extreme conditions (Biomedicine and Biotechnology Campus), meteorology, monitoring, metrology and computing applied to renewable energies (Water and Environment Campus). With this background, the configuration of four fields of development and transfer can be proposed in the following areas:
- Aerospace technology, developing the already existing collaborations in Astrophysics with companies that support the aerospace sector (TTI, ERZIA, ACORDE) and with the CTC.
- Teaching software, developing activities with several companies in the sector and making the most of the resources of the scientific calculation centre.
- Weather forecasting, from which the UC has already created a spin-off company and cooperates closely with the Spanish (AEMET) and Swiss (MeteoSwiss) agencies and, internally, with the Campus of Water and Energy.
- Renewable energies, in collaboration with the Campus of Water and Energy.
This campus already has a high level of internationalisation which will be strengthened by specific research programmes as well as by the improvement of research infrastructures. The definition of specific areas for the transfer of knowledge and technology in collaboration with the other campuses will help the transfer activities to undergo a similar internationalisation process thanks to the activities developed with multinational companies in the sector of renewable energies, biotechnology and computing.
Regarding the transformation of the campus for the development of a comprehensive corporate model.
Apart from the direct contribution which some of the areas included in the CIFMA make towards the productive sector and, therefore, towards social and economic development, this campus plays an fundamental role by supporting other campuses such as Water and Energy, Biomedicine and Biotechnology, and Technology, which will be responsible for most of the activity to promote changes in Cantabria’s productive model.
Interaction between the campus and its territorial environment.
This interaction is articulated through many different scientific dissemination activities, the UIMP’s international workshops and seminars, and the activities of the UC itself: Science Workshop, the Tower of Physics of Cartes and the Senior Programme. Other significant activities are Science Week, which is held every year in collaboration with the National Research Council and the FECYT, and the Astronomy Observatory of Cantabria, in collaboration with the CIMA.