2 years of the María de Maeztu Strategic Research Program – attracting and supporting top class staff

A specific objective of the María de Maeztu Strategic Research program on data-driven knowledge extraction was to consolidate our existing research teams and programs by

1) co-funding early-state researchers at PhD or early postdoc level,

2) supporting different technical and administrative roles that can support the increase of impact of the scientific results, as well as its transfer,

3) involving MSc and BSc students in the research activities of the department

The distribution of funding has been organised around calls for projects that allowed to compile the different proposals of the faculty members to contribute to the different objectives of the program, in the context of its general internal procedures:

- Calls for 2-year research projects - with funding to PhD positions extending to 3 years (call 1 at the beginning of the program and call 2 in September 2016), targeting the main policy objectives of the program (such as collaboration among staff and increase in the impact of results)

- Innovation program, focused on open-science based model of transfer

- Cooperation with the María de Maeztu Unit CEXS-UPF. 2 calls for projects (call 1 in January 2017 and call 2 in November 2017)


The resources used to cofund personnel have reached 575K EUR in 2016-2017, 69,5% of the total direct costs (and roughly mobilising an equivalent amount in own funds, especially by the cofund provided by the PhD fellowships of the Department). For the period 2018-2019, the expected amount in personnel covered by the MdM program will reach up to 725K EUR.


- 69,5% of total direct costs used for personnel

- 40 people cofunded (with different durations)

   - 18 PhD students (4 women)

   - 2 postdoctoral researchers (1 women)

   - 19 other profiles for research support (annotation, developers, MSc students, etc - 3 women)

   - 1 manager (0 women)

- 13 out of 20 research positions (pre- and postdoctoral) granted to foreign researchers (4 women)

- In addition, 3 PhD students (3 women) and 1 postodoctoral position (0 women) in programs associated to the María de Maeztu accreditation joined the department.

- Finally, 2 tenured positions (0 women) were awarded in this period.

The specific personal co-funded by the program during 2016-17 has been:

PhD students:

- Cofunded by the DTIC PhD program

Ahmed Aburaed, Víctor Casamayor, David Cabrera Dalmazzo, Cristina González, Antoine Grimaldi, Rasoul Nikhbat, Enric Perera Bel, Jordi Pons, Diana Ramírez (starting in 2018), Batuhan Sayis, Olga Slizovskaia, Francesc Wilhelmi


- Additional PhD students:

Pablo Accuosto, Ishari Amarasinghe, Pablo Aragón, Guillem Francès Medina, Federico Franzoni, Minz Won


Postdoctoral fellows:

Jens Grivolla, Chong Zhang


MSc and BSc students:

Joan Bas Serrano, Siddharth Bhardwaj, Beatriz Cabrero Daniel, Albin Andrew Correya, Pablo Fernández Blanco, Albert Marín, Alberto Martínez Rodríguez, Araceli Morales, Guerau Pasola, Jordi Soler


Other profiles:

- Developers: Pablo Abenia, Alex Bravo, Andrés Ferraro, Daniel Furelos (blog entry on his work), María Pilar García, Daniele Pezzatini, Carlos Yagüe Méndez

- Research assistants: Juan Pedro Benítez, Eva Zaczyk

- Experimental subjects in some projects

- Management: Aurelio Ruiz García


Additional funding possibilities have emerged following the accreditation as María de Maeztu Unit of Excellence:

PhD positions

- Until now, 8 vacancies associated to the program “Ayudas para contratos predoctorales para la formación de doctores”, two calls launched in 2016 and 2017. Awarded candidates (supervisors in brackets): Pablo Accuosto (Horacio Saggion), Ishari Amarasinghe (Davinia Hernández-Leo and Anders Jonsson), Federico Franzoni (Vanesa Daza),  Álvaro López (Boris Bellalta and Anders Jonsson), Enric Perera Bel (Miguel Ángel González Ballester and Antoni Ivorra), Diana Ramírez (Ricardo Baeza and Ana Freire), Minz Won (Horacio Saggion and Xavier Serra), , 

- Additional PhD students are hired via the "La Caixa" INPhINIT PhD program:

   2017 Call: Andrea Urru (Miguel Ángel González Ballester), Milica Vujovic (Davinia Hernández Leo), Amelia Jiménez (Gemma Piella). 2018 details in our blog.

   2018 Call: waiting for the final confirmation, three grants have been awarded to work with research groups at DTIC (information to be updated soon)

Junior Leader Retaining Fellowship "la Caixa" to Gergely Neu, who will continue his work at the Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Group



Although not driven by the execution of the program, a junior tenure-track position has been awarded to Vicenç Gómez (Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Group) and a senior position to Carlos Castillo, to lead the Web Science and Social Computing Research Group.


Finally, the program has contributed to travel and publication costs of the personnel hired by the program, but also of other personnel not directly funded by the program but taking part in its projects (list of publications available here, around 100K EUR devoted to publication and travel costs in 2016-2017):

Sergio Barrachina, Juan José Bosch, Mónica Domínguez, Georgi Dzhambazov, Rong Gong, Luis Espinosa, Ana Freire, Vicenç Gómez, Miguel Ángel González Ballester, Glòria Haro, Gabriel Martins, Marius Mirón, Sergio Oramas, Francesco Ronzano, Horacio Saggion, Xavier Serram Julián Urbano,


to the costs associated to some visitors to the Department for activities linked to the program:

Rakesh Agrawal, Christian Barillot, Carlo Beretta, Ekart Castillo, Ferrán Diego, Patricia Horrillo, Anna Kreshuk, Matteo Signorini, Peter Sloep, Victoria Stodden, Pablo Zinemanas


and to the payment of the external services provided by idLaw partners, for consultancy work on several projects about data management.


The faculty members directly involved in the execution of the MdM projects are (without any financial complement to this contribution): Ralph Andrzejak, Ricardo Baeza Yates, Boris Bellalta, Marcelo Bertalmío, Xavier Binefa, Bart Bijnens, Josep Blat, Óscar Cámara, Víctor Dalmau, Vanesa Daza, Vladimir Estivill, Héctor Geffner, Emilia Gómez, Vicenç Gómez, Miguel Ángel González Ballester, Gloria Haro, Davinia Hernández Leo, Antoni Ivorra, Anders Jonsson, Jorge Lobo, Àngel Lozano, Narcís Parés, Rafael Pous, Gemma Piella, Rafael Ramírez, Horacio Saggion, Xavier Serra, Leo Wanner. In addition, Albert Guillén i Fàbregas acts as member of the Scientific Board.