Awards to a new generation of surgical meshes, a program for designing buildings and the Process Talks spin-off


Researcher Sonia Lanzalaco in the laboratory working on the mesh created under the 4DPolysense project

UPC Research Valorisation Award
The UPC Research Valorisation Award, which held its 14th edition this year, is an initiative of the Board of Trustees of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya - BarcelonaTech (UPC) to recognise the work of the University’s research groups in three categories: best technology transfer project, best invention or patent for its application in the market and best technology-based company or spin-off. The award is supported by Fractus as part of the Fractus Deep Tech Hub. This biennial award carries a 5,000-euro prize for each of the winning projects

The jury of the 14th UPC Research Valorisation Award, promoted by the Board of Trustees, has recognised 4DPolysense as the best technology transfer project, the NECADA program as the best invention or work for its application in the market and the Process Talks spin-off as the best technology-based company. The Nimble Diagnostics spin-off has also received a special acknowledgement.

Sep 27, 2023

In the 14th edition of the UPC Research Valorisation Award, the best technology transfer project category was won by 4DPolysense. The project is led by researchers Elaine Armelín and Sonia Lanzalaco, from the research group Innovation in Materials and Molecular Engineering - Biomaterials for Regenerative Therapies (IMEM-BRT), in collaboration with BBraun Surgical SAU. The researchers have developed a new generation of self-adaptive surgical meshes, which do not require other fixation tools thanks to a self-adhesive thermosensitive hydrogel that wraps the filaments of the mesh. This avoids the need to use biomedical tissue adhesives, plugs, staples or sutures to stabilise the mesh implant and fix it to the tissue walls. Therefore, it reduces inflammatory risks and the patient’s need for recovery.

The best invention or work for its application in the market category was won by NECADA, a program for the sustainable design of buildings or urban areas. It is a hybrid infrastructure that can be run on a cloud or desktop environment. It supports the execution of hundreds of simulation models to optimise the behaviour of a building or urban area. Based on the shape and design of the building, which is modelled in three dimensions, the system proposes optimal solutions depending on several factors. It has been developed by researchers Pau Fonseca, head of the InLab FIB Environmental Simulation Area, and Antoni Fonseca i Casas, a consultant specialised in optimising BIM systems and sustainability who holds a doctoral degree from the UPC.

The best technology-based company category winner was Process Talks, a UPC spin-off founded by four researchers from the research groups Algorithms, Bioinformatics, Complexity and Formal Methods (ALBCOM) and Intelligent Data Science and Artificial Intelligence (IDEAI-UPC). This solution automates workflows with an engine based on natural language interaction to simplify automating operations and repetitive tasks.

In this category, special acknowledgement went to Nimble Diagnostics, the first microwave-based medical device for continuous, non-invasive, non-ionising monitoring of patients with implanted endovascular stents. This spin-off of the UPC, the Institut Germans Trias i Pujol (IGTP) and the University of Barcelona (UB) was founded in March 2022 by UPC researcher Susana Amorós (CTO) together with Oriol Iborra (CEO) and a group of researchers with the aim of bringing the technology to market.