Programme to boost innovation in social sciences: training days

The Social Sciences and Humanities centres of CERCA system work on transfer and innovation with Dr. Jessica Meijer

On May 27th and 28th, the social sciences and humanities centres of the CERCA system worked with Jessica Meijer, head of innovation and business development at LURIS, the transfer unit of Leiden University, as part of the programme to promote innovation and transfer started in January.

The aim of the programme is promoting innovation and transfer activities according to the specificities of these centres. It is accompanied by training and mirrors the way transfer is done in European research institutions.

In one-to-one sessions, Meijer reviewed the Krazy Action Plans created by the centres. “They have come up with crazy ideas and have allowed themselves to fail”, told the Dutch researcher. Among the proposals, there are communication projects to enhance transfer, podcast series and research projects made in collaboration with STEM centres.

The programme included a training session by Meijer, which was about the importance of patenting ideas and the meaning of patents in the social sciences and humanities. The session on impact policies was run by Nicky Buckley, from the Centre for Science and Policy at the University of Cambridge.

New Computational Social Sciences programme in the BSC

Mariona Sanz and Mercè Crosas from the Barcelona Supercomputing Center presented a project which combines applications of data and supercomputing in social science research. Crosas: “It’s just taking off; we are open to new collaborations and want to work on transfer in an ethic and responsible way”.

Opening submission for CERCA Research Impact Assessment 2024

The presentation period for the impact narratives of the CERCA centres runs from May 15 to July 15.

Since 2019, and because of the political commitment to define a global impact strategy in research as set out in the Science Law of the Generalitat de Catalunya, CERCA has been working and training the centres to advance in this field, which must demonstrate and give visibility to the demonstrable benefits of research in the real world, outside the academic field.

The project, guided initially by Julie Bayley, director of Research Impact Development at the University of Lincoln, has the support of a national and international advisory board. Its current members are Paula Adam (AQUAS), Jane Millar (Univ. of Bath), David Phipps (Univ. of Toronto), Susan Renoe (Univ. of Missouri), Miguel Sierra (INIA), Esther De Smet (Ghent University) and Anne-Maree Dowd (CSIRO).

Among other materials, there is a Glossary of Research Impact Terminology which includes the terminology most broadly used in both the European and the Anglo-Saxon countries, and it is intended to provide a theoretical common ground for the narratives submitted to RIA 2024.

Also, a panel member of international and local experts will evaluate each narrative, summarizing the main strengths and weaknesses.

Impact of research and its probable effects or benefits in the real world

The evaluation of impact is becoming relevant within all research Systems, as the British REF, and has also a prominent importance in european programs.

According to our definition. Impact of research are probable effects or benefits of the research in the ‘real world’ (e.g. economy, society, culture, environment and the planet), beyond academia.

  • Impact can arise at any time, any location and be of any type.
  • Impacts may be most easily thought of as research leading to something being increased (e.g. efficiency, effectiveness, well-being, engagement access, profit, skills, increases), reduced (e.g. mortality, waste, risk, cost, staff turnover, stress, crime), stopping something (e.g. dangerous practice) or preventing something (e.g. the deterioration of heritage sites).
  • Impact is corroborated by any quantitative or qualitative evidence that shows these real-world changes.
  • As impact denotes change in the real world, it cannot be indicated in terms of academic interest, reputation, citations or publications in journals.
  • Impact can arise from research findings (new knowledge) or from research processes (i.e. the practice of research acts as a catalyst for change).

Karolinska Institutet’s innovation model opens the Connection Day

CERCA organizes the Connection Day opening conference with Johan Weigelt, CEO of Karolinska Institutet Innovations AB

Johan Weigelt conference organized by CERCA opened the second edition of the Connection Day, an initiative by Catalonia Bio to connecting and gathering within the health sector.

Although the CERCA agora is a closed meeting, this edition was accessible to all the sector so Weigelt, CEO of Karolinska Institutet Innovations AB, could introduce the Karolinska innovation model.

Weigelt talked about the close relationship among academia, healthcare, and industry and underlined the specificities of the Swedish system as the so-called ‘professors privilege’, which means that intellectual properties are owned by professors and investigators. “This system has pros and cons, but it works”.

Good research and contacts

The presentation also focused on the company that supports the Karolinska Institutet in terms of innovation. The Karolinska Institutet Innovations AB holding company sells services to promoting the commercialization of research and developing start-ups in a three-phase program (idea promotion, consolidation and maturation, in a final incubator phase that lasts three years). For Weigelt, its strength lies in “having a very strong research base and a good network of industrial experts and business coaches”.

CERCA also arranged one-to-one meetings with the representative of Karolinska and the presence at ConnectionDay24 allowed the connection with agents of the sector and centres from the CERCA system.

Citisystem: learning about circular economy in Belgium

Citisystem celebrates the third interregional meeting in Mechelen, Belgium

The Citisystem project, which promotes the circular economy of cities, hold its third interregional meeting in Mechelen (Belgium) between April 24th and 26th.

All the partners presented the latest updates on their regions’ circular bio-economy and bio-waste management together with some relevant data regarding food waste (a third of the food produced is not spent) and actions to promote circularity and waste management in the domestic sphere.

From the CERCA system, IRTA presented the LIFE INFUSION project: the aim is to convert the liquid fraction of the digestate from the treatment of biowaste at waste management plants in the Barcelona area into sustainable water through the removal of ammonium.

The city of Mechelen, which is amongst the partners of the Citisystem project, explained its transition towards a greener and more sustainable city in recent years and offered a tour to show the results.

Together with the meeting, partners and entities attended the Bio-Based City, a bio-economy market to explore ongoing circularity initiatives, and the Mechelen Climate Conference, and also visited examples of good practices around the city.

Moving towards circularity

In the European Union, between 118 and 138 million tonnes of bio-waste are generated each year and only 40% is effectively recycled into high-quality compost and digestate. The fraction of bio-waste plays an important role in the transition to the circular economy, especially if we consider that up to 50% of municipal solid waste is organic.



Narcís Monturiol Awards recongise five CERCA system researchers

The Narcís Monturiol medals have been awarded since 1982 and recognize people and entities that work for the development of science and technology.

The catalan government has honored ten researchers with the Narcís Monturiol Medal for the scientific and technological merit and this year five of the awardees are part of the CERCA system.

The awards, which were established in 1982 and are named after the inventor Narcís Monturiol, recognize people and entities that contribute to the development of science and technology.

And the prizewinning CERCA researchers are:

Jordi Alberch Vié, doctor of medicine, director of the research group of the Clinic Foundation for Biomedical Research-August Pi Sunyer Biomedical Research Institute (FRCB-IDIBAPS). He is an international reference in the study of the pathophysiology and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.

Emilio Palomares Gil, current director of the Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia (ICIQ) and ICREA researcher, carries out studies related to the field of energy.

Ana Isabel Pérez Neira, graduate in Electrical Engineering and director of the  Telecommunications Technological Center of Catalonia (CTTC). Her research is linked to the field of signal processing for communications and multi-antenna signals.

Petia Radeva, graduate in Applied Mathematics and principal researcher of the Medical Imaging Lab (MiLab) of the Computer Vision Center (CVC). She has focused her research in the fields of computer vision.

Gustavo A. Slafer, agronomist engineer and senior researcher at the AGROTECNIO Center. He studies the physiology of crop yield and their development processes.