Research news

List of news published in the Press Room on research and innovation

  • Researchers from BASF, the ALBA Synchrotron and the UPC propose a methodology to increase the strength of concrete

    Researchers from the UPC, the ALBA Synchrotron and the chemical company BASF have established how clays and superplasticisers interact in cement pastes using synchrotron light. These results pave the way for improving the design of new superplasticisers with enhanced tolerance to the clays contained in the sand used for concrete production.

  • Some piezoelectric materials may be ‘fakes’

    A team of researchers has discovered that the most widespread technique for characterising piezoelectric properties—the ability of some materials to generate electricity when subjected to mechanical stress—can yield ‘false positives’ due to flexoelectricity. The study, which is the result of the collaboration between the Numerical Methods Laboratory (LaCàN) at the UPC and the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2), will facilitate research of the application of these materials in pressure sensors and electric nanogenerators.

  • A study led by the UPC and the IEEC has determined the mass and radius of one of the oldest stars in our galaxy for the first time

    A study led by the researcher Alberto Rebassa-Mansergas, from the UPC and the IEEC, has determined the mass and radius of one of the oldest stars in our galaxy for the first time and validated the theoretical mass-radius relations for such stars. The results of this study are published in the journal Nature Astronomy.

  • A thesis on Paulista Avenue in the Brazilian city of São Paulo was awarded the Manuel de Solà-Morales European Prize in the field of urbanism

    The architect Renata Priore Lima, a professor at the Architecture and Urbanism College of São Paulo (Brazil), received the Manuel de Solà-Morales European Prize in urbanism in its second edition for her doctoral thesis “Plugin: interfaces urbanas en los nuevos centros lineales: el caso de la Avenida Paulista”, defended at the UPC. Three additional awards were also given to finalist projects at the award ceremony, which took place on 19 March at the UPC’s Barcelona School of Architecture (ETSAB).

  • A new study shows that chimpanzee gestural communication and human language follow the same linguistic patterns

    The researcher Ramon Ferrer, from the Relational Algorithmics, Complexity and Learnability Laboratory (LARCA) at the UPC, participated with foreign researchers in a study on linguistic laws in chimpanzees’ gestural communication. The study revealed that data compression underpins animal gestural communication.

  • Researchers have identified a plastic crystal that could be used as an eco-friendly coolant in refrigerators and air conditioners

    In a joint research project, researchers from the UPC’s Department of Physics, the University of Cambridge and the University of Barcelona have identified an eco-friendly solid that could replace hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and hydrocarbons (HCs), which are highly toxic and flammable. These two types of gases are currently used in the vast majority of refrigerators, air conditioners and cooling systems. The research was recently published in Nature Communications.

  • The analysis of a meteorite reveals secrets about the birth of the solar system

    The study has been carried out by an international team of cosmochemists and astrophysicists, including researcher Jordi José, from the Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia (IEEC) and the Department of Physics of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya - BarcelonaTech (UPC). Encapsulated in a meteorite collected in Antarctica, the tiny grain – only a few microns in size – has shed new light on the terminal phases of the star’s life and how stars sow the Universe with the building blocks for new stars, planets and life.

  • The brain as an inspiration for future processors

    Researching the design of new intelligent computing systems inspired by the human brain is the goal of the “CoCoUnit: An Energy-Efficient Processing Unit for Cognitive Computing” project, led by Antonio González, a researcher from the Department of Computer Architecture at the UPC. He has received an Advanced Grant, the highest award granted by the European Research Council to investigators pursuing groundbreaking high-risk projects.

  • Maria Pau Ginebra, Eduard Alarcón, Marcel Guardia and Maria Teresa Martínez-Seara receive the 2018 ICREA Acadèmia distinctions

    UPC researchers Maria Pau Ginebra, Eduard Alarcón, Marcel Guardia and Maria Teresa Martínez-Seara are four of the forty-five researchers who received the 2018 ICREA Acadèmia distinctions on 30 April at the Palau de la Generalitat. The event was chaired by the minister for Business and Knowledge, Àngels Chacón, and attended by the minister for Universities and Research, Francesc Xavier Grau, and ICREA director and UPC professor Antonio Huerta.

  • STAT-ON, a new device that helps monitor the symptoms of patients with Parkinson’s

    Developed of the UPC, the Sense4Care spin-off and the Centro Médico Teknon – Quirónsalud

  • A UPC researcher in Terrassa creates the first tomography map for diagnosing glaucoma

    Pablo Amil, a researcher from the research group in Nonlinear Dynamics, Nonlinear Optics and Lasers (DONLL) at the ESEIAAT, has created an objective model that classifies the degrees of the iridocorneal angle, a key element for assessing the severity of glaucoma. With this model, ophthalmologists will have a tool to help patients make a decision when considering surgery. The method has been developed in the framework of the European project Be-Optical and published this year in the journal Scientific Reports, from the publishers of Nature.

  • The BSC-CNS will be home to one of the largest European supercomputers: MareNostrum 5

    The Barcelona Supercomputing Center–Centro Nacional de Supercomputación (BSC-CNS) will host one of the pre-exascale supercomputers in the high-performance computer network promoted by the European Commission, namely MareNostrum 5. It will be a heterogeneous supercomputer adapted to the new requirements of supercomputer users that will emphasise artificial intelligence and will have a peak performance of 200 petaflops

  • Testing a drone to save lives in the Mediterranean

    Three students from the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya · BarcelonaTech (UPC) are participating, together with the Hemav Foundation, in the FREEDA project, in which they are developing an offshore reconnaissance drone to search for people and boats. The aim is to improve Proactiva Open Arms rescue missions. The first test to check the operation of the drone on the NGO’s ship was recently carried out offshore from Borriana (Castellón).

  • Microchips manufactured at the UPC will measure the wind on Mars

    The UPC’s Micro and Nanotechnologies Research Group has participated in the design, manufacture and calibration of the wind sensor of the MEDA instrument, which will travel to Mars on board NASA’s Mars 2020 mission to measure wind direction and speed, relative humidity, pressure and properties of suspended dust on the Red Planet. It will be the third time that UPC technology travels to Mars. On this occasion, it is 60 silicon dice that make up the heart of the sensor and that were recently delivered to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

  • A new H2020 project led by the UPC aims to improve the production of hydroelectric power

    Xavier Escaler, a researcher at the UPC’s Centre for Industrial Diagnostics and Fluid Dynamics, is leading the European project AFC4Hydro, which aims to design and validate an active flow control (AFC) system for hydraulic turbines to monitor the structural health of turbines in real time and improve their performance. The idea is to develop technologies that allow the growth of renewables in the European integrated electricity generation system.

  • The UPC is still the top Spanish university in obtaining funds from the H2020 programme

    The Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) continues to be the first Spanish university in raising funds from the European framework programme for research and innovation Horizon 2020 (H2020), according to the provisional results of the latest reports by the Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI) for the period 2014–2018.

  • The UPC selected by the European Commission to build the new European university UNITE!

    The University Network for Innovation, Technology and Engineering - UNITE! is now a fact. The new technological university campus promoted by the European Commission with the participation of the UPC, the Instituto Superior Técnico in Lisbon, the Grenoble Institute of Technology, the Politecnico di Torino, TU Darmstadt, the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm and Aalto University is an alliance that aims to create a common space for multidisciplinary training, cooperation in teaching and research, and knowledge transfer between regions.

  • Acoustic map of underwater noise pollution made by the crew of the Fleur de Passion

    The Ocean Mapping Expedition, which has returned to Seville after a four-year world tour aboard the Fleur de Passion sailing boat, mapped acoustic pollution in the ocean. The research project was led by the UPC’s Laboratory of Applied Bioacoustics (LAB).

  • ICFO researchers design new health monitors that are flexible, transparent and based on graphene

    Researchers at the Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO) have developed a new class of flexible, transparent and low-power wearables based on graphene to monitor multiple vital signs, such as heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pulse oxygenation and exposure to UV radiation. The study has been recently published in the Science Advances journal.

  • The UPC co-drafts a pilot plan to improve tuberculosis control in Nigeria based on mathematical models

    Researchers from the Barcelona School of Agricultural Engineering (ESAB) on the Baix Llobregat Campus in Castelldefels are co-drafting a pilot plan to improve the diagnosis and control of tuberculosis in the city of Gombe, north-east Nigeria. The project, lasting ten months, received funding in the latest call for grants from the UPC’s Centre for Development Cooperation (CCD).

  • ANYWHERE successfully develops tools and services to tackle the climate emergency

    ANYWHERE’s tools and services for preventing and managing extreme weather phenomena are now available in Europe. They were created in the framework of a European project coordinated by the UPC’s Centre of Applied Research in Hydrometeorology (CRAHI) and presented on 29 and 30 October in Brussels to an audience of 200 experts and European civil defence officers.

  • The new European university UNITE! takes off

    The first joint meeting of UNITE!, the University Network for Innovation, Technology and Engineering, will be held in Darmstadt (Germany) on 5 and 6 November. UNITE! is the new technological university campus promoted by the European Commission with the participation of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya · BarcelonaTech (UPC), the Instituto Superior Técnico in Lisbon, the Grenoble Institute of Technology, the Politecnico di Torino, TU Darmstadt, the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm and Aalto University.

  • The UPC and the BSC-CNS on the first Spanish map of technological capacities in artificial intelligence

    The Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities has drawn the first map of artificial intelligence capacities in Spain, with public and private institutions that work and conduct research on this area. The map features both the UPC and the Barcelona Supercomputing Center – Centro Nacional de Supercomputación (BSC-CNS).

  • Two researchers from the UPC’s ESEIAAT simulate polar storm formation on Saturn

    The research is part of an international scientific collaboration that has observed multiple storms at different latitudes on the second largest planet in the solar system

  • A study on transforming waste paper into secondary raw materials has received the Best Innovation prize

    A scientific study on transforming waste paper into secondary raw materials, presented by a UPC team in collaboration with ACCIONA Construcción’s Technology Centre and TECNALIA, has been awarded the Best Innovation prize by the World Road Association.

  • Launch of EIT Urban Mobility in Barcelona to transform European cities into liveable spaces

    The city of Barcelona launched the European initiative EIT Urban Mobility at the Smart City Expo World Congress. The event marked the official start of the EIT Innovation Community, which aims to finance projects that contribute to mobility solutions that accelerate the transition towards more liveable urban spaces.

  • The VIMAC virtually reproduces the architectural evolution of the medieval complex of Barcelona’s Palau Reial Major

    The UPC’s Virtual Innovation Laboratory for Modelling Architecture and the City (VIMAC) has performed laser scanning and drawn up the plans of Barcelona’s Palau Reial Major, a work that has allowed researchers to explore and accurately virtually reproduce the architectural evolution of the medieval complex over the five golden centuries of the city as the capital of the Mediterranean, and unveil previously unknown details. The work is part of the virtual historical restitution projected at the exhibition “La metamorfosi medieval, segles XIII-XV” extended until 5 January 2020 at the Tinell Hall in the Barcelona History Museum (MUHBA), on the Plaça del Rei.

  • Artificial intelligence for the diagnosis of rare diseases related to collagen VI

    Researchers at the Institute of Robotics and Industrial Informatics—a joint centre of the CSIC and the UPC—and the Sant Joan de Déu Barcelona Children’s Hospital have developed a system for helping diagnose rare diseases related to deficiencies in the structure of collagen VI.

  • Students from ESADE, IED and the UPC present prototypes and solutions to improve urban mobility at CERNS

    Eight teams of students from the UPC —of the Barcelona School of Telecommunications Engineering (ETSETB)—, from Esade and IED Barcelona have presented, at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), at Geneva, their projects and prototypes the projects and prototypes created to improve the sustainable development of the cities through the urban mobility, challenge faced in this year's edition of the Challenge Based Innovation (CBI).

  • Researchers manage to perform biomechanical simulations up to 20 times faster

    A team of researchers from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium), Stanford University (United States) and the UPC have improved the efficiency of biomechanical simulation software systems to perform simulations up to 20 times faster. The results of this research have been published in the journal ‘PlosOne’.