The Miquel Barceló UPC Science Fiction Award call for entries underway until 1 April

Miquel Barceló

The award has been renamed to pay tribute to late professor Miquel Barceló.

Over 2,200 works presented

In April 1991, on the occasion of the UPC’s 20th anniversary and for the first time at a Spanish university, the Board of Trustees launched the first UPC Science Fiction Short Novel Award within the framework of the cultural and artistic promotion programme. The competition was open to any kind of unpublished story in Catalan or Spanish that would fit in the science fiction genre. The short novel format (about 100 pages) was chosen to attract entries.

That first edition was a success and in 1992 the University decided to internationalise the competition and accept works in English. It was held annually without interruption until 2010, when it became a biennial event.

The UPC Science Fiction Award has become one of the most important science fiction events in Spain. Since its inception, the award has received over 2,200 entries. There is a growing interest in this genre, as evidenced by the fact that the 2020 edition had a record-breaking number of 136 entries.

The UPC’s Board of Trustees announces the 26th UPC Science Fiction Award, an international competition that from this edition on is named after late professor Miquel Barceló, the promoter and soul of the award. The deadline for submitting works is 1 April 2022.

Mar 18, 2022

The 26th Miquel Barceló UPC Science Fiction Award, announced by the Board of Trustees of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya · BarcelonaTech (UPC), is intended for unpublished works of science fiction in Catalan, Spanish, English and French. The deadline for submitting original documents is 1 April 2022 at 2 p.m.

The award consists of a 2,000-euro prize and, if applicable, a special mention to the best story by a member of the UPC community. In addition, the winning work will be published on paper and digitally in a joint edition by the UPC and the publishing house Apache Libros within the collection Biblioteca de Ciencia Ficción en Español. The jury is mainly composed of people linked to the UPC and related to the science fiction genre. 

Rules for the 2022 Miquel Barceló UPC Science Fiction Award

Tribute to Miquel Barceló
From this edition on, the UPC Science Fiction Award will be named after Miquel Barceló, a professor of the Barcelona School of Informatics (FIB) who was the promoter and soul of the award. The late professor fostered the science fiction genre at the University and in Catalonia over three decades.

Barceló had a doctoral degree in Informatics Engineering, a degree in Aeronautical Engineering and a degree in Nuclear Energy. He was the coordinator of the UPC’s doctoral programme in Sustainability, Technology and Humanism. He was also an outstanding editor, translator, writer and science communicator.

In 1991, Barceló and other members of the UPC promoted a series of actions to “bring the world of literature closer to UPC students”, in his own words. And, to do so, “the most natural way was science fiction”, he explained. This gave birth to the UPC Science Fiction Award, the UPC’s science fiction collection -currently made up of over 9,500 documents, including novels, comic books and films- and the student association Units per la Ciència-Ficció (United by Science Fiction).

Since then, the UPC has become a pioneering university in using science fiction to complement and strengthen scientific and humanistic training. The award is one of the University’s most consolidated initiatives in this field. It has been subsequently complemented with the massive open online course Tecnociència i Ciència Ficció: de King Kong a Einstein (Technoscience and Science Fiction: from King Kong to Einstein) and the book Física i ciència-ficció (Physics and science fiction). The repercussion of the award is also evidenced by activities such as the participation of the UPC in the 33rd Barcelona International Comic Fair in 2015 and the collaboration with the Sitges International Film Festival of Catalonia Foundation in the 2018 edition.