The thirteenth Board of Trustees’ UPC Award for Research Valorization was given to the Computational Biology and Complex Systems Group (BIOCOM-SC) in the category of best technology transfer project, to WOMEN-UP as the best patent, and to Cebiotex as the best technology-based company.
The UPC Award for Research Valorization is a Board of Trustees initiative of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya · BarcelonaTech (UPC) that recognises the work carried out by university research groups in three categories: best technology transfer project, best invention or patent for its application to the market and best technology-based company or spin-off.
AQuAS-BIOCOM agreement, best technology transfer project
The Computational Biology and Complex Systems Research Group (BIOCOM-SC), coordinated by researcher Clara Prats, has received the Award for Research Valorization in the category of the best technology transfer project for monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic in Catalonia, in the framework of collaboration agreements with the Catalan Agency for Health Quality and Evaluation (AQuAS).
The group has monitored the incidence of the disease since March 2020, a task that includes the development of mathematical tools to find out about and correctly interpret the situation of the pandemic and predict its evolution. This knowledge has been a key element for the decision-making of the Civil Protection of Catalonia (PROCICAT), with the social and economic impact that this has represented.
In this category, the project ‘Hidroxiapatita’ also received a special mention. This project is focused on a catalyst to act against environmental pollution, developed by Carlos Enrique Aleman from the research group Innovation in Materials and Molecular Engineering – Biomaterials for Regenerative Therapies (IMEM-BRT). The project proposes strategies to reduce the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide and other noxious gases associated with combustion and to recycle them to transform them into products that are useful for other industrial processes.
Award for the best patent for WOMEN-UP
‘WOMEN-UP: method with biofeedback for training muscles of the pelvic floor’ has received the Award for Research Valorization in the category of best patent. This is an invention developed by UPC researchers Miguel Angel Mañanas, from the BIOsignal Analysis for Rehabilitation and Therapy (BIOART) research group and Juan José Ramos, from the Instrumentació Electrònica i Biomèdica (IEB) research group and two doctors from the Institute of Gynecology and Obstetrics at Hospital Clínic: Monserrat Espuña and Amelia Pérez.
The patent consists of a device to train the muscles of the pelvic floor and avoid urinary incontinence. This is a competitive medical product that is unique and marketable. It can be used for treatment monitoring and remote medical supervision.
In this category, the project Bio2Coat received a special mention. This project was developed by the researchers Vera Cristina de Redondo, Marcelo de Sousa Pais, José Ignacio Velasco and Farayde Matta, from the research group Polyfunctional Polymeric Materials (Poly2) of the UPC. This is a 100 % natural, sustainable technology for the preservation and packaging of agri-food products that helps to reduce food and plastic loss, waste and residues.
Cebiotex, best technology-based company
The spin-off Cebiotex, which was founded in 2015 by the UPC and the Hospital Sant Joan de Déu de Barcelona (HSJD) received the Award for Research Valorisation in the category of best technology-based company. The company, directed by José Antonio Tornero, researcher in the Textile Technology Research Group (TECTEX) of the UPC, develops and markets the first biomaterial designed to be an innovative, effective solution to the local supply of biological drugs.
Cebiotex has already developed with great success the CEB-01 biomembrane, indicated for local control after an oncological surgical intervention. The drug locally, safely releases high doses of the chemotherapy agent SN-38 after the extraction of a tumour, to eliminate any remains of tumour cells.
In this category, two more companies received special mentions: ABLE Human Motion and NearbyComputing.
ABLE Human Motion is a UPC spin-off jointly founded in October 2018 by researcher Josep Maria Font, director of the Biomechanical Engineering Lab (BIOMEC) of the UPC. The company is focused on the development and marketing of lighter, more affordable robot exoskeletons to provide better mobility and greater independence for people who are in wheelchairs. The jury considered that it is a young spin-off of great potential that has an innovative product in the field of neurorehabilitation and a high social and economic impact.
NearbyComputing is a spin-off of Barcelona Supercomputing Center-Centro Nacional de Supercomputación (BSC-CNS) and the UPC founded in July 2018 and led by David Carrera, researcher in the High Performance Computing Group (CAP) of the UPC. The company develops and markets two patents and their corresponding software patents, as well as a methodology/architecture resulting from projects carried out in the Data-Centric Computing group of the BSC, in the context of the research line High Performance Computing of the Department of Computer Architecture of the UPC. This is a software platform that enables progress in the end-to-end orchestration of various domains and services and the contribution of leading solutions to industry.
The jury of this thirteenth education of the UPC Award for Research Valorization, which met on 11 June, was comprised of David Marín, member of the Board of Trustees; Jordi Llorca, Vice-Rector for Research of the UPC; Roger Piqué, general partner of Inveready; Olga Alay, Sub-Director-General for Scientific and Technological Sector Policies; Jesús Murillo, Manager of the Technological Business Development Area of ACC1ó, and Valentí Guasch, Director of the Research and Transfer Area of the UPC.