Sarah Sherwood, IRB Barcelona: “We wanted to do it in a different way, and chose to dance.”

[CRASTINA SHORTS] Scientists at IRB Barcelona wanted to raise awareness and support for research into cancer, Alzheimer’s and diabetes. The result: a very professional and captivating video, full of happy dance moves.

Sarah Sherwood is Head of the Office of Communications and External Relations in the IRB Barcelona.


Tell us a little about IRB Barcelona (Institute for Research in Biomedicine) and your decision to make a video!
IRB Barcelona is still a relatively young institute, founded not even ten years ago. We wanted to make a video to raise awareness about our research in biomedicine to contribute toward finding cures for diseases suh as Alzheimers, diabetes and cancer and metastasis. At the same time, we wanted to advance our recruitment efforts of new scientists and graduate students, and to attract philanthropic support—something which is not yet common in Spain. We wanted to do it in a different way, and chose to dance.

Why should this concern the young scientist?

  1. A career in science means a lot of hard work and dedication. It can be a very rewarding career, but also very demanding. It’s important for young scientists to know that researchers are also humans, and they do know how to have fun. We wanted to ‘demistify’ a bit the image of the serious scientist.
  2. Being a successful scientist also means being able to work in a team and share ideas and inspiration. One of our goals was to show this team spirit.
  3. And finally, because they need to know that there are great places like IRB Barcelona that need talented, passionate young scientists to join them—they are the science of the future.

Give three pieces of advice to the person who wants to create a promotional video!

  • Look at what makes your institution unique, what makes it special, and find creative ways to highlight that.
  • lay to the strengths that you have. At IRB Barcelona we have a young, vibrant international community that has a particularly good spirit, and knew that we needed to involve them and feature them prominently. We also knew we have a great director who is a strong believer in promoting science and scientists. He’s also fun and playful, so we asked him to put that side to good use.
  • Think very carefully about the messages that you want to convey with your video – with this type of video, you want to leave your viewers with a good fun feeling, but also with some serious things to think about after the video is over.



Founded in 2005 by the Government of Catalonia and the University of Barcelona, the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) is “Severo Ochoa Centre of Excellence”, since 2011. The 23 groups hosted by the institute are devoted to basic and applied research at the interface between molecular and cellular biology, structural and computational biology, and chemistry, with experts in proteomics, genomics, biostatistics, and advanced digital microscopy. The research at IRB Barcelona is organised into five programmes, which work together with the common goal of conducting multidisciplinary projects that address important biomedical problems affecting our society, with special emphasis on cancer, metastasis, Alzheimer, diabetes and rare diseases. The institute is home to more than 400 employees from 36 countries. IRB Barcelona’s ultimate objective is to translate research results to the clinic and has already established three biotechnology spin-off companies to this end. More than 25% of its scientists receive funding from the European Research Council. The institute is located in the Barcelona Science Park (PCB), in the Diagonal Campus of the University of Barcelona. Director: Dr. Joan J. Guinovart. /@IRBBarcelona /

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