Uniting Science and Society

May 13, 2024

In a world increasingly shaped by scientific and technological advances, Prof. Dr. Beatriz Roldán Cuenya, Director of the Interface Science Department and currently the managing director at the Fritz Haber Institute, is at the forefront of international efforts to connect scientific research with the broader public and policy makers . Her recent public lectures have highlighted the essential role of science in addressing global challenges and the importance of making scientific knowledge accessible to all.

A Champion for Science Communication

Prof. Roldán Cuenya's approach to science communication is rooted in her belief that knowledge should transcend academic boundaries and reach people from all walks of life. Through her participation in events like the nanoGe Conference – MATSUS (Materials for Sustainable Development Conference) and Spain's Science Week, she demonstrates how scientists can engage with the public to inspire and educate. Her goal is to spark interest in scientific careers among the youth and to ensure that public discourse on critical issues like energy and the environment is informed by facts extracted from reliable scientific data, instead of by non-qualified opinions.

She postulates that informed communities are better equipped to make decisions that affect our collective future, such as the much needed energy transition and de-fossilization of our society. By sharing her work on sustainable technologies and green fuels with both experts and non-experts, Prof. Roldán Cuenya plays a pivotal role in fostering a society that values and understands the contributions of science.

Inspiring Global Solutions Through Science

At the nanoGe Conference in Barcelona, Prof. Roldán Cuenya joined a distinguished panel of scientists, including Nobel laureates, for a plenary lecture that described the potential of nano-catalysts in creating sustainable industrial processes. Her invitation by the Spanish newspaper La Nueva España to give a plenary lecture on “Liquid Sun: How to Make Green Fuels" during Spain's Science Week further exemplified her dedication to making complex scientific concepts accessible and engaging to a broad audience.

In her public lecture at the Science Week, Prof. Roldán Cuenya emphasized the urgent need to act against climate change, not only in politics but in tangible actions. She highlighted:


  • The necessity for a systemic approach in analyzing energy system requirements, pointing out that sustainable energy is unattainable without hydrogen-based liquid fuels.
  • The strategic importance of catalysis science as a foundation for knowledge and technology, with operand analysis of catalyst dynamics being key to optimizing technology performance while minimizing risks and costs.
  • The anticipated doubling of sustainable energy costs, underscoring the need for a fair transition and preparation for rebuilding the planet's largest technological system.
  • The critical need for a solid, rational, and internationally compatible regulatory framework to support new technologies and mitigate economic impacts. Open communication with the public is essential to overcome ideological and misinformed resistance, making the energy transition a collective effort.

Prof. Roldán Cuenya's vision and efforts exemplify the indispensable role of science in society, advocating for a future where scientific knowledge and innovation lead the way in addressing the world's most pressing challenges.Her efforts underscore the importance of scientific innovation in tackling environmental challenges and the role of scientists in guiding public understanding and policy. By advocating for a collaborative approach to science that embraces diverse perspectives and disciplines, Prof. Roldán Cuenya highlights the power of collective international action in addressing global issues.

Fostering a Collaborative Future

With a career that spans across continents, Prof. Roldán Cuenya brings a unique global perspective to her work, emphasizing the value of international cooperation and open dialogue in science. Her operando spectro-microscopy research on the mechanisms underlying complex catalytic processes not only has the potential to revolutionize industrial processes but also to lead to the development of greener, more efficient energy sources. Her ongoing research focus evolves around the fundamental understanding of carbon capture and re-utilization processes as well as green hydrogen production that she considers key to tackle the challenges posed by the accelerated climate change we are experiencing.

Empowering Society Through Science

As Prof. Dr. Beatriz Roldán Cuenya continues her mission to bring science closer to the public, her initiatives serve as a model for how scientists can engage with society to drive positive change. Her next public lecture at the Spanish Embassy in Berlin (May 13th) will continue to promote her ideas that the outcomes of scientific research should be inclusive and accessible. Prof. Roldan hopes that the outreach efforts of scientists like herself will contribute to a world where decisions are made based on knowledge and evidence, paving the way for a sustainable and informed future.

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