Five young Marie Curie researchers will join the UPC with European funding

Projects of the Horizon 2020
With these actions, the UPC now has a total of 32 MSCA projects that have received grants totalling €8.9 million. The UPC participates in 147 projects of the Horizon 2020 European research programme (in 40 of which it is the coordinator), with a total funding of €53.3 million.

Four new UPC projects were selected in the latest Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) call for Innovative Training Networks, and will allow five young researchers to be contracted for a period of three years. The aims of these projects are to train a new generation of researchers specialised in new robotic surgical techniques, in the prediction of extreme meteorological phenomena, in the adaptation of optical fibre communications to deal with increasing data traffic, and in the development of bimetallic catalysts.

Jul 11, 2018

The European Commission (EC) has awarded new MSCA grants to four projects in which the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) is participating. The projects were submitted to the Innovative Training Networks MSCA call under the European Horizon 2020 research programme, which aims to train a new generation of creative and innovative researchers through an international network of public and private institutions. These grants will be used to hire, for a maximum of three years, five early-stage researchers (who have not obtained a doctoral degree and are in their first four years of full-time research) from all over the world who want to specialise in the knowledge area of the funded projects. The programme covers the hiring of the researchers on competitive salaries and allowances to fund their training (enrolment fees, mobility stays, trips, etc.). The amount granted is €250,904.88 for each researcher.

The four latest Marie Curie projects in which the UPC is participating are related to the fields of Information Science and Engineering, Environment and Geo-Sciences, and Chemistry. They were selected from among more than 1,600 proposals from all over Europe that were submitted to the call. The four projects are described below:

  • The ATLAS (Autonomous IntraLuminAl Surgery) Consortium, coordinated at the UPC by Alícia Casals , a researcher at the Department of Automatic Control, aims to train a generation of European researchers who will develop robotic skills and techniques to automate complex intraluminal surgical therapies. In surgical procedures, body lumens are increasingly being used as a path to regions that are difficult to access. However, navigation through narrow, and mostly fragile and deformable lumens requires considerable dexterity and concentration, because the visualisation is very poor and the surgical risks—internal bleeding, tissue damage, puncture and rupture—are great. The consortium wants to train researchers in robotic surgical techniques and to develop a rigorous unitary framework and guidelines for implementing techniques adapted to each specific therapy. The ATLAS consortium, coordinated by KU Leuven (Belgium), is made up of the main European centres in the field of automation and design of circuits and control of flexible instruments, and is supported by a broad set of clinical and industrial partners who want to put the results into practice.

  • The CAFE (Climate Advanced Forecasting of Sub-Seasonal Extremes) project, coordinated at the UPC by Cristina Masoller, a researcher at the Department of Physics, will train a team of interdisciplinary researchers who will be experts in atmospheric and oceanic processes and extreme meteorological phenomena, and in tools for predicting them. The starting point for the project is the fact that phenomena such as heat waves and tropical storms have a great social and economic impact in the countries where they occur. Forecasting these extreme phenomena on a sub-seasonal time scale (from 10 days to 3 months) is a challenge that requires experts in the atmosphere and the oceans, which are coupled systems of enormous complexity. The project is coordinated by the Center for Mathematical Research consortium and the participants include public entities and companies in the sector.

  • The REAL-NET (Real-Time Monitoring and Mitigation of Nonlinear Effects in Optical Networks) project, coordinated at the UPC by Luís Velasco, a researcher at the Department of Computer Architecture, is based on the exponential increase in data traffic caused by the growing use of online services that require broadband connection, such as cloud computing, streaming of HD video on demand and sensor networks. This increase is leading to problems with the speed (capacity) and quality (bit error rate) of these services. As the data traffic in fibre optic communication systems is rapidly approaching the limit of current transmission technologies, there is a need to develop different methods for coding, transmitting and processing information that take into account the nonlinear properties of optical fibre, and to train a new generation of engineers with experience in optical communications, non-linear methods, digital signal processing and algorithm design. The project is coordinated by Aston University in the United Kingdom, and the participants include Télécom ParisTech and the companies Coriant and Orange.

  • The BIKE (Bimetallic Catalyst Knowledge-Based Development for Energy Applications) project, coordinated at the UPC by Jordi Llorca, a researcher at the Department of Chemical Engineering and the Institute of Energy Technologies (INTE), is a network for training young scientists to develop bimetallic catalysts for energy purposes and, in particular, for hydrogen production. Hydrogen production has increased in recent years due to its importance in the environmental and energy fields, creating a strong need for qualified research and management staff in both the public and private sectors. The project aims to address this need by training young scientists in the preparation and characterisation of catalysts, in modelling and in industrial applications, allowing them to interact with all the stakeholders working in this field. The participants include academic institutions, research centres and industrial partners, and the project is coordinated by the Consiglio Nazionale delle Richerche, Italy.