Interview with María Jesús Vicent, researcher at the Prince Felipe Research Center Foundation (CIPF) and ambassador of Valencia Conference Centre, for International Women's Day
Our ambassador Maria Jesús Vicent, Person of the Month for her career as a female scientist
María Jesús Vicent is an all-rounder. She has a flawless CV as a researcher and person, and we have the great honour of working with her in preparations for the 13th International Symposium on Polymer Therapeutics, which will take place in our building from the 23 to 25 May this year. This is not the first time that València Conference Centre hosts conferences for her sector. In 2019, it successfully organised the 46th Annual Meeting of the Controlled Release Society (CRS), one of the leading international scientific societies for drug delivery, which attracted more than 1,200 researchers from all over the world.
Over the course of her career as a researcher, she has called for gender equality in the scientific sphere on more than one occasion. For this reason, on International Women’s Day, we have named her “Person of the Month” and asked her about equality in the research sector.
According to Vicent “girls or young women researchers should not put up barriers for themselves, which is what often happens, we must fight against stereotypes. To avoid this, it is also important that young people have good female role-models so that they understand that if they are interested and want to pursue a scientific career, they can do so”.
“Although things have changed significantly in the last few decades, and research, especially in the biomedical field, has a large number of female scientists, senior positions are only reached by a small number of women. There is a cut-off point as you climb the ladder of responsibility. We need to reach that ideal 50% in higher-up positions such as such as female deans, directors of companies or universities, but we are below 30 %, so it is very important to promote science among girls and young women”.
What actions do you consider essential to encourage interest among girls and young women in a career in science?
“The base for everything is an excellent education, we have to go to schools and communicate that research is necessary to solve many of the problems that we experience today, not only to try to cover unmet medical needs but in all areas that affect our daily lives”.
Currently, Vicent coordinates around twenty people at the Prince Felipe Research Center Foundation and her work focuses in particular on the development of new nanodrug therapies, with applications in metastatic cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. She has also published more than 100 articles internationally, as well as patents, one of which led to the creation of a successful business in Valencia, PTS SL, which currently has more than 80 employees and head-quarters in Valencia and the United States. She is also a member of the Strategic Innovation Committee and the head of the health sector of the Valencian Innovation Agency (AVI).