Antoni Plasència

Director General (2014-2023)

Looking back on 2023, it’s clear that this has been a pivotal year in setting the course of our future endeavours. With the launch of a new strategic cycle, significant leadership transitions, and the groundwork laid for the renewal of our Severo Ochoa accreditation, 2023 marks the start of an exciting new phase at ISGlobal.

Charting our course

The formulation of our strategy to 2027 lays the foundation for our continued impact in the evolving global health landscape. Through collaborative efforts and insightful discussions at the International Global Health Partnership Forum, we have reinforced key priorities such as equity in pandemic preparedness, access to innovation, and the intersection of climate and health.

Research excellence

In 2023, we reorganised our research department, driven by the growing need for collaboration and interdisciplinarity to tackle global health challenges. Our nine research programmes were consolidated into five programmes, and we launched two new cross-cutting knowledge hubs (one on pandemic preparedness and response, and at the end of the year one on health data analytics) to facilitate the integration of cutting-edge methods and approaches. The three Severo Ochoa groups (Health Impact Assessment, Data Analytics and eHealth) are now fully consolidated and integrated, successfully contributing to ISGlobal’s broader mission.

ISGlobal was among the five research centres in Catalonia that attracted most Horizon Europe funds. We take pride in two prestigious ERC grants awarded – one investigating the role of asymptomatic tuberculosis infections, and the other on forecasting health effects of air pollution. Our dedicated staff engaged in 254 projects, collaborating with partners from 53 countries. Notable research achievements include new insights into the scaling up of malaria prevention and surveillance strategies in pregnant women in sub-Saharan Africa, as well as improved assessments of the health impacts of heat and urban exposures in European populations. Innovative solutions in progress include tools for the early detection of tuberculosis, meningitis, or febrile patients at risk in low-resource settings, as well as nature-based solutions to help communities better cope with climate change.

Consolidating partnerships

Our network of international partners and alliances continued to grow, including exciting new partnerships with the Oswaldo Cruz Institute in Brazil and Hiroshima University in Japan, and our longstanding alliances in Morocco, Bolivia, Paraguay and Mozambique, where we organised our joint scientific retreat with the Manhiça Health Research Centre (CISM). We also continued to work with national organisations and authorities to accelerate progress towards the SDG targets and maximise Spain’s impact and influence on the global health agenda.

Empowering future leaders

Through our growing range of courses and training initiatives, we have reached an increasing number of students from all over the world, especially in low and middle-income countries. The success of our online Severo Ochoa Spring and Summer Schools, particularly the introduction of Spanish-language modules to reach Latin-American students, underscores our commitment to accessibility and inclusivity .

Welcoming new leadership

After nine years of merger, collective success and consolidation, I (Antoni Plasència) stepped down as Director General of ISGlobal at the end of 2023. I was succeeded by Quique Bassat, who was unanimously elected by the Board of Trustees after a rigorous international selection process. We are confident that Quique will contribute to a period of new progress and recognition while keeping with the centre’s ‘science with heart’. Our External Advisory Committee also saw a change in leadership, with Annette Peters as the new Chair, supported by deputy Chetan Chitnis. We are extremely grateful to Marcel Tanner and David Savitz for their invaluable contributions over the years, and welcome them as our first new Honorary Professors.


Last but not least, we express our sincere appreciation to all our stakeholders, trustees, partners, funders, and the entire ISGlobal community for their unwavering support and commitment to our shared vision of a healthier, more equitable world.

Finally, we wish to pay tribute to the cherished memory of Pascoal Mocumbi, founder and first president of the Manhiça Foundation, and a dear ally and friend of ISGlobal.

Denise Naniche

Scientific Director