The UPC is Spain’s top university in raising funds for European research and innovation projects

The UPC is Spain’s top university in raising Horizon Europe funds for research and innovation projects in 2021-2022, having raised 42 million euros for 66 projects already signed. It is also Spain’s third organisation, behind the Spanish National Research Council and Tecnalia.

Mar 22, 2023

The participation of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya - BarcelonaTech (UPC) in Horizon Europe is included in a report on the Catalan contribution to this European programme for research and innovation. Recently published by the Agency for Management of University and Research Grants (AGAUR) of the Government of Catalonia, the report details the fundraising data between 2021 and 2022 based on the information published by the European Commission. It highlights that the UPC has raised 41.9 million euros and has signed agreements for 66 projects—coordinating eight of them—although the University has received funding for 88 projects under the European programme.

Horizon Europe is built on three main pillars. The UPC is a key actor particularly in the first two—Excellent Science and Global Challenges and European Industrial Competitiveness—although it also participates in projects related to the third pillar, Innovative Europe. Under Pillar 2, the University has signed 17 projects within the Digital Industry and Space cluster, with funding of almost 9 million euros, and another 15 projects within the Climate, Energy and Mobility cluster, with funding of 20.5 million euros.

One of the big projects, focusing on research and innovation on climate change adaptation, is CLIMAAX, for which the UPC has funding of 13.3 million euros. It is co-coordinated by the Centre of Applied Research in Hydrometeorology (CRAHI). The Centre also participates in another European project, RESIST, (read the news)which also addresses climate change and has funding of almost 900,000 euros.

The UPC’s Centre for Technological Innovation in Static Converters and Drives (CITCEA) significantly contributes knowledge and innovation in the fields of energy, industry and mobility. It participates in eight Horizon Europe projects, with overall funding of 4.3 million euros. One of the most outstanding projects signed is FLEX4FACT, with funding of 1.3 million euros. Other projects already signed include iPLUG (coordinated by CITCEA), AGISTIN, H-HOPE, OMEGA-X and MAXIMA, among others (read the news).

The Advanced Broadband Communications Centre (CCABA) participates in six relevant projects, with funding of 2.7 million euros, to promote 5G deployment and achieve Europe’s technology sovereignty in 6G. The projects are VERGE, BeGREEN, DESIRE6G, HORSE, PREDICT-6G and SEASON (read the news).

Another outstanding project with Horizon Europe funding is RHODaS, coordinated by the Motion Control and Industrial Applications Research Group (MCIA). It aims to accelerate the transition towards zero-emission vehicles. This EV development project has received funding of one million euros.


Excellent research

The UPC also stands out in Pillar 1, Excellent Science, having achieved five awards from the European Research Council (ERC) to develop cutting-edge and frontier research projects on the following topics: revolutionary treatment for bone cancer, infections and bone regeneration, faster and more efficient processors, new chiral metamaterials, and energy conversion systems and aerospace propulsion technologies.

Accounting for over 5.5 million euros, the ERC grants awarded to the UPC are: an Advanced Grant to researcher Maria Pau Ginebra, from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering for BAMBBI  (read the news); a Starting Grant to researcher Sergi Abadal, from the Department of Computer Architecture, for WINC  (read the news); another Starting Grant to researcher Lluís Jofre Cruanyes, from the Department of Fluid Mechanics, for SCRAMBLE (read the news); a Proof of Concept to researcher Cristina Canal, from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, for TRANSFORMER; (read the news), and a Consolidator Grant to researcher Justin Zoppe, also from the same Department, for CELICOIDS.

The University has also achieved nine projects—coordinating three of them—under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA), with total funding of 2.8 million euros. Recently, another eight new projects have been granted in the last call for Marie Curie Doctoral Networks (DN) actions, which will receive funding of 4 million euros.

Five projects under the WIDERA programme

In addition to its main pillars, Horizon Europe also includes a cross-cutting funding programme called Widening Participation and Strengthening the European Research Area (WIDERA). Here the UPC has received 1.3 million euros for five research projects.

The University is one of the key players in Catalonia’s knowledge ecosystem and in attracting European funds for research in Spain and Catalonia. The Catalan community has raised almost 493 million euros (29.4%) in the first year of Horizon Europe and is thus Spain’s top fundraising region, with 3.1% of the funding granted. Catalonia is ranked ahead of Finland and Denmark, closing in on countries with a similar population, such as Austria.