The award was established in June 1926 by King Alfonso XIII to recognize major contributions to the Spanish nation and to honor those who strive to improve the quality of life for all Spanish citizens. The award is reserved for those who have “rendered outstanding service to the state of Spain through exemplary initiatives and distinguished service."
The MIT-Spain Program connects MIT faculty and students with research and innovation in Spain. The program places close to 50 MIT students annually in internships and research in leading Spanish companies and labs. Participants receive rigorous language and cultural training and are individually matched with internship opportunities that are closely aligned with their MIT course of study. The MIT-Spain/Cambra de Barcelona Seed Fund helps MIT faculty and researchers launch early stage international projects and collaboration with Spanish counterparts. Since its creation in 2007, MIT-Spain has brought together more than 300 companies, institutions and individuals in Spain and more than 250 researchers and students from MIT.
In receiving the Cross of Spanish Order of Civil Merit, Balcells and Perez-Breva were recognized for their efforts to gather the support that led to the creation of the MIT-Spain Program, as well as to strengthen ties with Spain through symposia, events and initiatives emerging from their research in health sciences and technology and global innovation.
The MIT-Spain Program is a part of the MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI) in the Center for International Studies.