This thirty-first edition of the National Research Awards recognised the career of Carme Torras, research professor of the Institute of Robotics and Industrial Informatics (IRI), a mixed centre of the UPC and the Spanish National Research Centre (CSIC). She was joint winner of the National Research Award 2020 with Bonaventura Clotet, director of the IrsiCaixa AIDS Research Institute and head of the Infectious Diseases Unit of the Hospital Germans Trias i Pujol and a world leader in AIDS research.
The presentation of the National Research Awards, given by the Government of Catalonia and the Catalan Foundation for Research and Innovation (FCRI), took place on Tuesday 26 October at the Teatre Nacional de Catalunya.
The Award, which is accompanied by a prize of 40,000 euros, recognises the careers of researchers in fields such as human and social sciences, life and health sciences, engineering and experimental sciences. Carme Torras received the award for her research on artificial intelligence (IA) and assistive robotics. The jury also highlighted her intense work promoting ethics in the application of robotics and artificial intelligence, contributing notably to the scientific dissemination of these disciplines in schools and in the research and academic environment. Torras holds a master’s degree in Mathematics and Computer Science from the University of Barcelona and the University of Massachusetts (USA) and a PhD in Computer Science from the UPC.
Torras’s research has focused on the confluence between robotics and artificial intelligence. She has created a new style of engineering based on biology and psychology that enables her to deepen knowledge of ethical precepts. At the IRI, the research professor works on assisted living with prototypes of robots that help to dress and feed people with reduced mobility or provide cognitive training to alleviate the deterioration of people of advanced age.
During her career, Carme Torras has received the Narcís Monturiol Medal from the Government of Catalonia for Scientific and Technological Merit (2000). She is a Fellow of the European Association of Artificial Intelligence and of the lnstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and a full member of the European Academy and of the Royal Academy of Sciences and Arts of Barcelona. Last May, she received the Julio Rey Pastor National Award for the area of Mathematics and Information and Communication Technologies.