Esther Koplowitz, the Spanish environmental services businesswoman who is one of Europe’s most generous philanthropists, has donated €15 million to boost biomedical research through a new Barcelona-based center linked to some of Europe’s most prestigious research institutions. The donation by Ms. Koplowitz, the principal shareholder in the Spain-based company FCC, has been hailed as the largest private donation ever made by an individual in Europe in the field of scientific research. It will go towards the establishment of the Esther Koplowitz Center, a €60 million public-private partnership with the European Union, the Spanish government, and the regional government of Catalunya. Ms. Koplowitz’s gift adds to a total of €90 million that she has contributed to social care and medical research projects through her Foundation over the past 15 years.
The Esther Koplowitz Center opens on 4th October 2010 and is set to be the icon of Barcelona’s burgeoning biomedical hub. Professor Andreu Mas-Colell, Secretary General of the European Research Council, the EU’s science funding agency, noted the importance of Esther Koplowitz’s initiative amid government-wide austerity measures in Spain as “an extraordinary injection of resources in difficult times.’’ Professor Mas-Colell 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. Because of this, the exemplary initiative of Esther Koplowitz in launching the Center has to be enthusiastically applauded.”
The state-of-the-art €60 million Center will be one of the first disease-oriented biomedical research centers in Spain and one of the few centers in the world to be physically connected to a prominent hospital. It will be annexed to the Hospital Clínic Barcelona and linked to IDIBAPS – one of the leading European institutes in scientific output. In this regard, Cristina Garmendia, Spain's Science and Innovation Minister said, "I am sure that its [Esther Koplowitz Center] proximity to the Hospital Clínic will encourage it to become one of the most important centers on the international scene.” Through the Center, Esther Koplowitz is facilitating research into some of the most pressing diseases such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and malaria among others. Once the Center is fully operational it will host around 400 researchers.
In addition to her philanthropic work, Esther Koplowitz, is one of Spain’s most prominent businesswomen - a majority shareholder in one of Europe’s largest environmental services, infrastructure and green energy companies, FCC. Ms. Koplowitz has received scores of awards for her philanthropic work and business acumen, most notably: Business Leader of the Year by the Spain-US Chamber of Commerce and the Gold Cross for Social Solidarity from Spain’s Queen Sofia.