The Bosch i Gimpera Foundation and the Social Council of the UB reward quality research and cases of returning knowledge to society

On Tuesday, December 19, the XIX Prizes of the Social Council of the UB and XVI of the Bosch i Gimpera Foundation took place. The Great Hall of the Historic Building hosted the presentation of these awards, which distinguish high-quality research developed for young researchers, as well as cases of returning to society knowledge acquired and developed at the University of Barcelona.

Multi-party system and punishment vote

The José Manuel Blecua Prize, given to the top article published in a distinguished journal in the field of humanities and social sciences, will be awarded to a study that analyses how fragmentation of opposition conditions the accountability of the parties. The study is part of Sergi Ferrer’s doctoral thesis, supervised by UB lecturers Albert Falcó and Jordi Muñoz, and has been published in Party Politics. In particular, the study states that increasing from two to six the number of political parties in the opposition increases the likelihood of corruption being punished by 15 points. A multi-party system offers citizens more possibilities to find alternatives that are closer to their ideologies, and therefore, in a case of corruption, it is easier to change their vote than in systems where there are only two major parties.

More sustainable cooling systems

The Ramon Margalef Prize, awarded to the top research study derived from a doctoral thesis published in a distinguished journal in the field of experimental and health sciences, will be given to a study on cooling systems based on the use of magnetic fields as an alternative to current technologies. This project proposes to add the use of mechanical pressure to magnetic field refrigeration systems to design a new refrigeration cycle. In this way, the size of the magnets required is considerably reduced, and competitiveness is increased. The researcher Adrià Gràcia, whose doctoral thesis was supervised by UB lecturer Lluís Mañosa, has used a magnetocaloric alloy of nickel, manganese, and indium, made of easily accessible materials that can work at room temperature.

Innovation in the primary sector

The Antoni Caparrós Prize, given to the top project on knowledge transfer, technology and innovation, will be given to two studies. One allows the health status of fish to be evaluated and tests the effects of the diets they receive, using a non-invasive methodology. The study could serve both to have reference values for these bioindicators in species of productive interest for biodiversity in nature. The jury has positively valued the fact that the project is related to the primary sector and, in particular, in the field of food production in which fish farms play a significant and growing role. Antoni Ibarz, professor at the Faculty of Biology of the UB, will receive the award.

Preventing gambling-derived problems in adolescents

The other study to receive the Antoni Caparrós Award was carried out by Hibai López-González, lecturer at the UB Faculty of Information and Audiovisual Media. This Project is about the creation of audiovisual pieces that contribute to preventing the risks derived from gabling in adolescents and young people. These pieces can be used in multiple environments, such as educational centres, self-help groups, cognitive-behavioural treatments for gambling disorders and universal programmes for the prevention of gambling problems. In Spain, 3.4% of adolescents aged 14–18 years are considered to be at risk of suffering a gambling issue, although most of this age group are minors who are prohibited from gambling with money.

Medicines for the central nervous system

The biotech company Gate2Brain will win the Senén Vilaró Award for the best innovative company developed at the UB for the creation of therapies that efficiently cross biological barriers and facilitate the delivery of drugs to the brain. This company was set up in 2020 to exploit the technology developed over more than fifteen years in the peptide and protein laboratory of the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB) in Barcelona, a laboratory led by Ernest Giralt, professor emeritus of the Faculty of Chemistry of the UB, and in which Meritxell Teixidó, current CEO of the company, was an associate researcher. The company operates in the market for transporting drugs to the central nervous system, and according to the latest estimates, by 2026 it could reach 4.6 billion dollars, with an annual growth rate of 30.2%.

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