Esther Koplowitz, the Spanish environmental services magnate and one of Europe’s wealthiest women, has donated €15 million to boost biomedical research in Spain. The donation is being touted as the largest individual donation to scientific research in Europe. It will go towards the establishment of the Esther Koplowitz Centre, a €60 million public-private partnership with the European Union, the Spanish government and the regional government of Catalunya. The centre is scheduled to open today (4 October) in Barcelona.
The significance of the gift is heightened by the fact that it is made at a time of government retrenchment. Professor Andreu Mas-Colell, Secretary General of the European Research Council, the EU’s science funding agency, described it as ‘an extraordinary injection of resources in difficult times’. He added that progress in biomedical research in Spain risks ‘going backwards … and will not be sustainable unless private support comes to the rescue and significant private-public partnerships emerge’.