Pompeu Fabra has achieved eight industrial doctorates in the 2017 call

Pompeu Fabra has achieved eight industrial doctorates in the 2017 call

Six such grants were awarded at the last resolution, within the framework of this initiative of the Generalitat (Government) of Catalonia, shared across UPF doctoral programmes in the fields of biomedicine, ICT and communication.


UPF has obtained eight industrial doctorate grants as a result of the resolutions for the 2017 call of the programme managed by the Agency for Management of University and Research Grants (AGAUR), which seeks to promote knowledge transfer to the productive sector.

Six of these grants correspond to the last resolution, which was released in January 2018 and are linked to the areas of biomedicine (3), ICT (2), and communication (1).

With these eight projects achieved during the past year, submitted by the Doctoral School, the University has reached a total of 26 success stories since 2013 when the Industrial Doctorate Plan was launched.

The 26 projects funded to date are divided among the following doctoral programmes of the University: Information and Communication Technologies (10), Biomedicine (9), Law (4), Communication (2), and Translation and Language Sciences (1).

Four co-funded projects, three of them in Biomedicine and one in Communication

If we focus on the group of projects funded in the last resolution of 2017, both those pertaining to the Doctoral Programme in Biomedicine and the one linked to the Doctoral Programme in Communication have a duration of three years. All are endowed with 33,960 euros and fall in the co-funded category, which includes the doctoral student’s mobility and registration costs and funding for the research group.

The three new projects of the Doctoral Programme in Biomedicine

“AppSalut” is a project that will be carried out within the TICSalut Foundation. The doctoral student will be Francesc López, and he will have as his thesis supervisor Vicente Ortún, professor at the Department of Economics and Business and researcher at the Centre for Research in Health and Economics (CRES-UPF).

The portal AppSalut is a showcase for health and social welfare applications to help the public make itself jointly responsible for its health. The project will consist of ascertaining the effect of the use of these apps on the health of users through the relationship of the information gathered with the data of the public data analytics program for research and innovation in health (PADRIS).

Play Molecule: Developing a web platform for biomedical applications” will be carried out by doctoral student Alejandro Varela, whose thesis supervisor is Gianni de Fabritiis, ICREA-UPF research professor and director of the research group in Computational Biophysics at the DCEXS.

The project, which will be in partnership with the company Acellera Labs, will be to develop new structural bioinformatics tools and implement them in, an online platform that offers bioinformatic solutions to common problems in this field.

Pau Rodríguez , under the supervision of professor Luis Pérez Jurado, researcher with the Human Genetics Research Group of the DCEXS, is the doctoral student who will be developing the project “Development of hypersensitive next generation sequencing methods for the detection of ultra-rare genetic variants in blood plasma”, within the company qGenomics.

The research proposes developing methods that allow identifying mutations at very low frequency by suppressing the noise associated with the mass sequencing techniques in use today. To achieve this goal new protocols and reagents need to be developed, and libraries and new bioinformatic programs must be prepared.

Research on personalization, the project of the Doctoral Programme in Communication

With regard to the Doctoral Programme in Communication, the only project awarded is entitled “The autobiographical account in electoral campaign”. It will be carried out by Santiago Castelo who will have Carles Pont, professor with the Department of Communication and researcher with the Political Communication, Media and Democracy (POLCOM) research group, as thesis supervisor.

Together with the company Ideogram, the research will revolve around the study of the autobiographical account, one of the most common trends that assumes self-referential personalization, incorporated by political leaders in their speeches and communications strategies. It concerns narratives on the private and intimate that invade the public sphere and dominate a great deal of the communications strategies of electoral candidates.

Two new projects on ICT in the specific grants category

The two new projects granted to the Doctoral Programme in Information and Communication Technologies are in the specific grant category (including funding for the student for mobility and registration). Both are endowed with 8,472 euros and have a duration of three years.

The first project is “Contributions to the understanding of tumor eradication by electroporation-based points”, which will be carried out by doctoral student Nina Klein, with Antoni Ivorra, professor of the DTIC and researcher with the research group in Biomedical Electronics (BERG), as thesis supervisor.

In the framework of the Institut für Bildgebende Diagnostik, the research project aims to better understand the mechanisms of tumour eradication by therapies based on the electroporation (a biophysical phenomenon in which the cell is exposed to high electric fields) and focuses on achieving knowledge applicable in clinical settings.

The last project on ICT is “Deep Lung”, by doctoral student Xavier Rafel, who will have as his thesis supervisor Miguel Ángel González Ballester, ICREA-UPF research professor of the DTIC and head of the Simulation, Imaging and Modelling for Biomedical Systems (SIMBIOsys) research group.

The project, which will be carried out between the Eurecat Health Unit and the SIMBIOsys research group, aims to develop a tool for diagnosing lung cancer based on the implementation of an automatic system for the detection of lung nodules. This tool aims to improve the productivity of radiology services and increase the rate of cancer detection.

In addition to these six projects are the two obtained in the 2017 call, achieved in the first resolution, in June 2017: “An optimized post-editing strategy through controlled language and MT customization”, which will be developed within the Doctoral Programme in Translation and Language Sciences, and “Interactive Machine Learning in online professional networks”, in the framework of the Doctoral Programme in ICT.