The European Research Council is to promote two of the University’s research projects

The European Research Council is to promote two of the University’s research projects

The projects of Gemma Boleda, member of the Formal Linguistics Group, and of Giacomo Ponzetto, of the Centre for Research in International Economics, have obtained two Starting Grants to carry out their projects and set up their own research teams.



At the call for research grants for 2017, the European Research Council (ERC), in the ERC Starting Grant programme, has decided to support 325 projects by young researchers with a total budget of 485 million euros.

Two researchers linked to Pompeu Fabra University (UPF) are among the distinguished young Catalans: Gemma Boleda, researcher of the Formal Linguistics Group (GLiF), of the Department of Translation and Language Sciences; Giacomo Ponzetto, researcher at the Centre for Research in International Economics (CREI) and professor of the Department of Economics and Business at UPF, both within the field of Social Sciences & Humanities.

Gemma Boleda will be conducting “A distributional MOdel of Reference to Entities (AMORE)”, a project that straddles linguistics and artificial intelligence in which she will develop a model based on “deep learning”, a machine learning technique that is revolutionizing this field of knowledge as it learns as it processes data. Gemma Boleda’s field of research is semantics. She works with computational models, like “deep learning”, which are capable of inducing very rich and flexible semantic representations based on natural language. “I am currently working on the reference, or how we use language to talk about the world that surrounds us”, Boleda explains. “I’m building computational models that are able to understand referential expressions, just as humans do”, she added.      

Giacomo Ponzetto will be working on “Citizens, Institutions and Globalization”, which will focus on the interactions that occur between the citizenship, political participation, the politics of institutions and globalization. The project aims to study which conditions democratically provide support to trade and the policies that enhance productivity, as well as when and why voters support certain economic and social policies, and how governance architecture should react towards globalization.

At this call, the  leading European countries in obtaining grants are Germany (61), the United Kingdom (59) and France (46). As in previous calls, Catalonia is at the forefront of the Spanish State as it has received funding for 7 of its 19 projects, followed by Madrid (5), the Basque Country (2), Galicia (2), the Valencian Community (1), Andalusia (1) and Aragon (1).

The ERC Starting Grants programme targets the best young researchers (the average age is 35) to develop ideas on the boundaries of current knowledge and set up their own research teams (an estimated incorporation of about 1,000 pre-doctoral and post-doctoral researchers). The beneficiaries of these excellence grants (the success rate this year has been 11%) receive a maximum of 1.5 million euros to carry out projects of up to 5 years.