Awards of the Bosch i Gimpera Foundation and the Board of Trustees

On Tuesday, July 6, at 6:00 p.m., there will be a ceremony in the Historical Building with limited room capacity for the Awards of the Board of Trustees and the Bosch i Gimpera Foundation corresponding to the 2020 edition. The ceremony, which was not held last year due to the pandemic, will be presided over by the rector of the University of Barcelona, Joan Guàrdia, with the participation of the president of the Board of Trustees, Joan Corominas, and the director of the Bosch i Gimpera Foundation, Carme Verdaguer.

Psychometry to assess professional competences

The Antoni Caparrós Prize to the top project on knowledge transfer was given to the “ADN the Randstad competences tools” project, presented by the lecturer David Gallardo, from the Faculty of Psychology. The project, in collaboration with the human resources company Randstad, gave way to the development of a product of assessment of competences that helps companies to find the employee profile that fits their needs.

The project worked on an assessment methodology based on the latest psychometric technology, which, via algorithms and thanks to big data, helps companies to find the employee profile the company is looking for with the highest precision and reliability. This tool analyses up to sixteen relevant professional competences in the candidates (social skills, decision-making, teamwork, initiative, adaptation to changes, etc.) and compares the potential candidates for a position using this innovative and disruptive technology.

Randstad ADN has been applied to about a million people over the last years. Moreover, although the psychological assessment has been used for years in the sector of human resources, and although there are many services of such in the market, many do not fulfil the scientific standards any assessment tool should have.

Innovation for the sustainable water management

Bluepage won the Senén Vilaró Prize to the top innovative company thanks to its leading technology, created to detect coliphages, a type of bacteriophage used as viral indicators of the microbiological quality of water.

One of the aspects the UN considers as pending within the sustainable development goals (SDGs) is related to the water sustainable management and the treatment conditions: by 2030, the UN aims to guarantee the universal access to potable, safe and affordable water for all the population. In this context, Bluepage is developing, since its creation, new products and services in the field of the analysis of bacteriophages as viral indicators in water, food and biosolids.

The use of coliphages as viral indicators of the quality of water has been promoted by the UN guidelines and several regulations, among which are the new European directive for the water of human consumption and reutilization of water. This makes us think of an important boost for the UB spin-off in the next years.

The business was created in 2016 by the researchers Joan Jofre, Francisco Lucena and Anicet Blanch, from the Research Group on Microbiology of Waters Related to the Health (MARS) of the University of Barcelona, and Enruic Queralt, entrepreneur in the water sector.

The business management model, key to achieve a sustainable innovation

The José Manuel Blecua Prize, given to the top article published in a distinguished journal in the field of human and social sciences derived from a doctoral thesis, was given to the study conducted by Alfonso Hernández. The researcher analyses how the companies innovate in order to reach a larger sustainability, understood as a competitive advantage in the current market. Particularly, it shows that putting into practice cleaner technologies is easier in companies with integrated management systems, that is, which combined the needs from different groups of interests: from customers’ interests to the workers’ or those from the community where the business is based in.

Alfonso Hernández carried out a survey to forty companies in Europe and Latin America –within the sector of candle production– to study the relationship between sustainability and an integrated management system (IMS). As a conclusion, Hernández notes that “companies with a higher level of integration have up to a 50% of chances to implement clean technologies successfully”.

Computational biology to improve drug design

Sergio Ruiz’s study, in the field of computational biology, was awarded the Ramon Margalef Prize to the top article published in a distinguished journal in the field of experimental sciences and health derived from a doctoral thesis. Sergio Ruiz has carried out an alternative and more efficient method to design drugs. This is a new way to identify molecules that can be a starting point for future medicines because they have high chances of coupling to target proteins, which are in charge of controlling the action of drugs in the body. This drug design method complements the existing ones and can multiply the efficiency.

The study, published in the cover of Nature Chemistry, has been applied to several researches such as “the search for potential drugs to act on a cancer-involved protein”, notes Sergio Ruiz. The researcher is carrying out his task in the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute (Australia), where he continues to apply the developed methods during the doctorate in several projects, involving some that look for potential treatments for COVID-19.

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