Back Four new ICREA-UPF researchers to conduct research in the departments of Economics and Business and of Translation and Language Sciences
Four new ICREA-UPF researchers to conduct research in the departments of Economics and Business and of Translation and Language Sciences
Antonio Penta and Ruben Durante, who were already members of the Department of Economics and Business and of the Barcelona GSE, and Martina Wiltschko and Marco Baroni, who are to join the DTCL from the universities of British Columbia and Trento, respectively.
Pompeu Fabra University has four new ICREA research professors. Antonio Penta and Ruben Durante, who were already members of UPF’s Department of Economics and Business and of the Barcelona GSE and are now changing their association; and Martina Wiltschko and Marco Baroni, from the universities of British Columbia (Canada) and Trento (Italy), respectively, who are to join the Department of Translation and Language Sciences (DTCL) during 2019.
With these four people, 49 ICREA research professors are now linked to UPF
With these four people, 49 ICREA research professors are now linked to Pompeu Fabra, since the first announcement by the Catalan Institute for Research and Advanced Studies in the year 2000.
Antonio Penta, who in 2017 obtained an ERC Starting Grant as a researcher in the Department of Economics and Business, bases his research on a number of areas within game theory and the design of the mechanism (especially with regard to the problems of robustness) and behavioural economics, based on a combination of a variety of techniques and methodologies.
Within behavioural economics, his research focuses mainly on the understanding and modelling of individual reasoning processes, taking into account the interaction between the individuals’ incentives and their cognitive skills.
“I have recently been involved in more applied research to understand the impact of digital marketing agencies on the auction formats used to sell advertising space online. I focus both on the new opportunities of the agencies to generate surplus for their clients and to affect the income of the vendors”, he says.
Studying the relations between the media and politics
Ruben Durante is an applied microeconomist working in the fields of political economics, public economics and economic development, and joined the Department of Economics and Business at UPF in 2016.
His research focuses on the operation and the impact of traditional and new media, both in mature democracies and in those that are in the process of consolidation. Specifically, he investigates various aspects of the multifaceted relationship between the media, voters, politicians and special interests.
“My research has contributed to several important debates in the literature on political economics, such as the influence of corporate interests on the process of public policy formulation”, explains Ruben Durante. During his career at UPF he has already received various prestigious awards and scholarships, such as a European Research Council Starting Grant.
Exploring the building blocks that make up human languages
The research by Martina Wiltschko explores the building blocks that make up human languages and how they are constructed, as well as how the blocks of the various languages of the world relate to each other and how they differ.
To do so, she focuses mainly on two empirical domains: the categories of traditional grammar and the categories that belong to the language of interaction that include emotive language.
In fact, Wiltschko starts from the idea that emotion is expressed through language and is therefore restricted by grammar. “For me, joining UPF’s DTCL research area is a great intellectual opportunity in the consolidation of my professional career”, she states.
Analysing the combination of the meanings of the words in a sentence
Marco Baroni’s research plan will examine compositionality, one of the main features of language that deals with the mechanisms whereby the meanings of the words that make up a sentence are combined. His research plan involves three main projects.
The first project focuses on computational modelling for the development of models of neural networks that are able to learn how to understand compositionally; the second will consist of making computational simulations to train and test the models of neural networks developed.
Thirdly and finally, conclusions will be drawn about real compositional skills in humans from their behaviour in comparison with the computational simulations. As Baroni says, “I am very familiar with the research that is being done by the DTCL at UPF given that in the last ten years I have worked very closely with its researchers”.
ICREA, the Catalan Institute for Research and Advanced Studies, is a foundation funded by the Catalan Government, and is governed by its Board of Trustees. It was conceived in response to the need for new recruitment formulas that allowed competing on equal terms with other research systems, aimed at the recruitment of the most talented scientific and academic staff. It currently has more than 250 researchers from all fields of knowledge, who carry out their research in 48 institutions across Catalonia.