“The possibility of seeing what no one has seen before in what everyone has already looked at”: Prof. Javier LLorca is awarded the National Research Prize in Engineering and Architecture

  • Prof. LLorca received the award in recognition of his pioneering advances in computational materials engineering.
  • He is the Scientific Director and leader of the Bio/Chemo/Mechanics of Materials research group at IMDEA Materials Institute, and a Full Professor at the Technical University of Madrid.

The possibility of seeing what no one has seen before in what everyone has already looked at. That is a large part of what drives Prof. Javier LLorca to continue his pioneering work after nearly four decades among the best in Spanish science and research.

Scientific Director of IMDEA Materials Institute, Prof. LLorca, was recently awarded the 2023 National Research Award Leonardo Torres Quevedo in Engineering and Architecture by the Ministry of Science and Innovation of Spain.

In announcing the award, the Ministry recognized Prof. LLorca “for the pioneering nature and leadership of his research in the field of Computational Materials Engineering.” His contribution to the development of novel multi-scale modeling strategies, which have had a tremendous impact on various industrial sectors, was also highlighted.

“I feel very grateful for my country’s recognition of the research work I have carried out throughout my career,” said Prof. LLorca upon receiving the award.

“Alongside this gratitude, I am also aware of my debt to all the colleagues in the Department of Materials Science at the Technical University of Madrid (UPM) and at the IMDEA Materials Institute.”

“Their efforts and initiative have made an essential contribution to all the results we have achieved.”

As well as his as positions as Scientific Director and leader of IMDEA Materials’ Bio/Chemo/Mechanics of Materials research group, Prof. LLorca is also a Full Professor of Materials Science at the UPM.

Throughout his decorated research career, Prof. LLorca has emerged as the most-cited Spanish researcher in the field of structural materials engineering and is considered among the fathers of computational materials engineering.

He has proved a pioneer in the systematic application of advanced computational tools and multiscale modelling to establish the links between the processing, microstructure and mechanical behaviour of structural materials.

The implementation of these advances has proved of great importance in the development of optimised materials for applications in the transport, health and energy sectors. All of which have had a notable impact on meeting the challenges posed by the ongoing transition to more sustainable development.

This year’s National Research Prize is the latest award to be bestowed on Prof. LLorca. He has previously been honoured with a Research Award from the Spanish Royal Academy Sciences, a Gold Medal of the Spanish Society of Structural Integrity as well as Distinguised Scientist and Structural Materials Division awards from The Minerals, Metals and Materials Society (TMS).

Prof. LLorca was the first director of IMDEA Materials Institute for 10 years from 2007-2017, during which time the Institute developed into a world-renowned research centre in materials science. He has also led the UPM’s ‘Advanced Structural Materials and Nanomaterials’ research group since 2012.

A Fulbright Scholar, he has been a visiting professor at Brown University in the United States, the Indian Institute of Science as well as the Shanghai Jiaotong, Central South and Yanshan universities in China. From 2018 to 2023 he has been the President of the European Mechanics of Materials Conference.

In total, Prof. LLorca’s 350 scientific articles published to date have received more than 21,000 citations.

But despite having such a distinguished career behind him, Prof. LLorca said he has no plans to slow down his research in the near future.

“I am one of those fortunate people who enjoys doing their job, whether it’s teaching, mentoring a young researcher, or trying to see what no one has seen before in what everyone has looked at,” he said.

“Being able to share my knowledge with my colleagues and learn from their wisdom, and striving to help those around me reach the highest possible point in their careers, I believe these are enough motivations to continue researching.”