Research news

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

  • 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.

  • Microgravity does not affect frozen sperm according to a study by Dexeus Mujer in collaboration with the UPC

    A study conducted by Dexeus Mujer in collaboration with the UPC reveals that gravity conditions outside the Earth do not affect frozen human sperm. The results of this study were reported in late June at the 35th Annual Meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology held in Vienna.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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).

  • The UPC maintains its position among the 150 best young universities in the world

    In the Times Higher Education’s 2019 Young University Rankings, the UPC maintains its position among the 150 best young universities in the world (101-150 band) and ranks in the 58-82 band in Europe. It is the top technical university in Spain.

  • Quantum mechanics explains how superfluid helium films grow in carbon nanotubes

    Research by an international team of researchers led by scientists from the ICFO, with the participation of Jordi Boronat, a researcher at the UPC’s Department of Physics, reports on the controlled, layer-by-layer growth process of superfluid helium on the surface of carbon nanotubes. The experiment opens the door to studying new phenomena at the nanoscopic scale and, in particular, in topological phase transitions.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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).

  • 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

  • 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.

  • The UPC launches #looopers, a science outreach series on YouTube

    “Nanoquè? Nanosatèl·lits!” (Nano-what? Nanosatellites!) is the first video in the series that the UPC has launched on its YouTube channel. Teaching and research staff and students have collaborated to reach out to young people and encourage them to take up STEAM vocations.

  • Light and nanotechnology combined to prevent bacterial contamination on medical implants

    An ICFO and B. Braun Surgical, S.A. study published in Nano Letters and highlighted in Nature Photonics reports on a new technique that could prevent bacterial contamination and infection in medical implants by using light combined with gold nanoparticles.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 CIMNE, technological partner in the REALQUIRUR project

    The International Centre for Numerical Methods in Engineering (CIMNE) is participating in a project promoted by the J. Torrent Institute at the El Pilar Hospital to apply augmented reality in open liver surgery.

  • 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.

  • The UPC ranks higher in the 2019 Europe’s Most Innovative Universities ranking

    The UPC climbs six positions, so that it now ranks 81st in Europe and 1st among technical universities in Spain in the 2019 Europe’s Most Innovative Universities ranking drawn up by Reuters. The ranking lists the top 100 European universities that contribute the most to progress in science and technological innovation and to the promotion of global economic development.

  • 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.

  • Artificial intelligence will improve quality of life for Alzheimer's patients

    The UPC is coordinating the European eHealth research project CaregiversPRO-MMD, in which a virtual health platform has been created to support people with Alzheimer's disease, their caregivers and health professionals.

  • The UPC’s scientific knowledge in emerging areas in ICT, just one click away

    The recerTIC UPC tool compiles scientific output on 5G, computer security, embedded systems, machine learning, smart sensors, bioinformatics, data science and engineering, IoT, robotics and vehicle-to-everything.

  • Researchers from the Department of Physics analyse rainfall records in Catalonia since 1855

    María del Carmen Casas, Raúl Rodríguez and Alba Llabrés are collaborating with the Meteorological Service of Catalonia and the University of Barcelona (UB) to assess the quality of rainfall data in Catalonia since 1855. Rainfall data are essential to understand the impact of climate change.

  • 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.

  • The BSC-CNS will apply to host one of the most powerful supercomputers in Europe

    The Barcelona Supercomputing Center-Centro Nacional de Supercomputación (BSC-CNS) will present its candidacy to host one of the pre-exascale supercomputers—with a peak velocity of 200 petaflops/s—that will be operational in the European Union at the beginning of 2021.

  • The UPC in Terrassa is leading the creation of new technologies for industrial wastewater treatment and reuse

    INTEXTER and the MCIA research group, both of which belong to the UPC and are located on the Terrassa Campus, launched the ELDE project with the aim of creating new technologies for wastewater treatment and reuse in the paper, chemical and leather tanning industries. INTEXTER also participates in the REGIREU project to evaluate the combination of two technologies for the reuse of effluents in new dyeing processes on a pilot scale. Two technology centres and six SMEs are also involved in these projects, which have a budget of over 4 million euros.