Back UPF representative Alicia Sánchez Arroyo wins the “Present your thesis in 4 minutes” competition

UPF representative Alicia Sánchez Arroyo wins the “Present your thesis in 4 minutes” competition

Yesterday the final of the competition was held in which doctoral students from twelve Catalan universities explained their research to the general public in four minutes.



The “Present your thesis in 4 minutes” competition poses the challenge to PhD students in any scientific discipline of explaining their research in a maximum of four minutes in simple, easily understandable language to the general public.

The final of the competition, organized by the Catalan Foundation for Research and Innovation (FCRi), with the support of the Government of Catalonia, took place yesterday, 6 June, in the Movistar Centre Barcelona auditorium. Twelve representatives of the different Catalan universities presented their research on a variety of topics such as narrative journalism, the cardiovascular risk of sleep apnoea, drug use among adolescents, and new systems to filter irrigation water. 

During her presentation, Alicia Sánchez Arroyo, a PhD student at UPF with the Multicell Genome Lab of the Institute of Evolutionary Biology (IBE: CSIC-UPF), was chosen as the winner of first prize awarded with €3,000.

In her presentation “In search of the lost species. Biodiversity and DNA”, she explained that between 60 and 70% of our planet’s biodiversity is still undiscovered and the majority of these unknown organisms are extremely small: they are only made up of one cell. Her research seeks to discover part of this diversity. To achieve this she is using a technique called metabarcoding in which a DNA sequence works like a bar code identifying each species.

“The experience has been amazing, I loved seeing the public pay attention to my explanation, smiling. I’ve worked hard on the presentation with the help of my supervisor, Iñaki Ruiz-Trillo, Emma Rodero, a lecturer with the Department of Communication at UPF, and Maria Ferrer, from my laboratory; they have helped me to improve and polish everything down to the last detail. I am very happy with the result and with the support I have received at UPF and I hope this is the beginning of a career in the world of scientific communication”, said the winner. 

The second prize, of €2,000, went to Gabriela Montiel, a PhD student at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) reading Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering. In her presentation she talked about research into polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA), biodegradable plastics with very interesting applications.

Also, PhD student Abril Sánchez of the International University of Catalonia (UIC) won the prize granted by the public, worth €1,000, for her presentation on cyclins as inducers of tumour development.

The jury consisted of Rafael Marín, general manager of the FCRi, Tomàs Molina, meteorologist and television presenter, Elsa Velasco, scientific journalist at La Vanguardia newspaper, Mercè Jou, general secretary of the Interuniversity Council of Catalonia, and Sonia Fernández-Vidal, researcher and science writer. The actors of the theatre company Enjòlit presented and compered the event most entertainingly.

Finally, Rafael Marín and Mercè Jou closed the event highlighting the high level of all of the presentations. They explained how UPF was a pioneer in organizing the first competition of its kind at Catalan universities, Rin4’. They rounded off by stressing the importance of the dissemination of research so that the general public can understand what researchers are doing and its importance.




SDG - Sustainable Development Goals:

Els ODS a la UPF