Barcelona City Council subsidises 18 young and emerging research projects

Lliurament de subvencions per a projectes de recerca jove i emergent 2022
20/03/2023 - 19:18 h - Science Ajuntament de Barcelona

Today, the Saló de Cent of Barcelona City Council hosted the award ceremony for the subsidies for young and emerging research projects that the city council awards through Barcelona Science and Universities. With a budget of 1 million euros in its 2022 call for proposals, a total of 18 projects will receive these subsidies, which form part of the objectives of the Barcelona Science Plan 2020-2023. The research projects fall into one of three thematic areas: (1) Health and well-being in the city; (2) Circular economy and climate action; and (3) Community organisation, democracy and participation.

A total of 79 projects were submitted in the 2022 call for proposals for young and emerging research projects, of which the 18 awarded subsidies were the highest scoring. These are original projects that aim to provide scientific evidence to inspire policy decisions in the city of Barcelona. They also address the challenges from a local, interdisciplinary and metropolitan perspective, include the gender and environmental dimension, and value the diversity of the city.

On the other hand, as for the people or teams of people who have presented the proposals, they are emerging scientific personnel. In fact, the terms and conditions of the call specified that it was aimed at people who had obtained their first doctorate less than seven years ago and who, therefore, were just beginning their career in the field of research. In this way, the call sought to consolidate scientific careers in the city, giving opportunities to younger people in the scientific profession. In addition, it also incorporated measures to encourage the incorporation of master’s and doctoral students, reinforcing the idea of new talent in the city.

Likewise, the call also included measures to encourage female leadership in the projects, such as initiatives to reconcile caring for first-degree family members, retroactively, so that maternity, paternity or family care would not be an obstacle to accessing the call and being able to carry out the work of the Principal Investigator of the project.

The projects

Of the 18 subsidised projects, 7 are led by a university, 4 by individuals, 4 by a research centre and 3 by other entities. The 18 projects that are subsidised and that will be developed over the next 18 months are briefly described below, but more detailed information on each one can be found on the page of the subsidies for young and emerging research projects on the Barcelona Science and Universities website:

  • Attribution of extreme heat waves to climate change in Barcelona (ATOC). The general objective of this project is to answer the question of whether and to what extent anthropogenic climate change contributes to the intensification of extreme heat waves such as those that occurred in the AMB this past summer with significant impacts on human health. Amount subsidised: €24,450.00.
  • The green spaces of Barcelona as carbon sinks (EMBARCARB). The main objective of the project is to capture atmospheric carbon dioxide in the soil of the parks and gardens of the city of Barcelona in the form of pedogenic carbonates that will remain for a long time, improving the health of the vegetation that grows there. Amount subsidised: €45,600.00.
  • Implementation of biochar as a bioremediation tool in peri-urban areas: new model of responsible production for the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona (BioUrban). The general objective of the BioUrban project is to reduce the impact of the accumulated and present pollution of the city of Barcelona on horticultural production in the peri-urban area through the use of biochar to achieve safer and more sustainable food production. Amount subsidised: €59,697.44.
  • POWER UP AND CONNECT: Barcelona towards accessible, sustainable and healthy mobility. This project aims to build a platform capable of helping contemporary cities in the transformation towards sustainable, resilient and healthy cities by exploiting both existing data and sensors in the field. Amount subsidised: €59,548.70.
  • Child poverty and neighbourhood opportunity structures: low-income management in Barcelona. This project aims to assess how low-income households with children in Barcelona manage the resources available to them (including income, but also networks, public and private services) to cope with situations of vulnerability. Amount subsidised: €55,170.90.
  • Increasing alternative water resources in the lower part of the LLOBbregat basin: managed recharge of aquifers with flood water and evaluation of its impact on the quality of the aquifer (LLOBMAR). The main objective of the project is to evaluate whether flood water is a usable water resource and suitable for recharging the aquifers in the lower part of the Llobregat river basin. Amount subsidised: €60,000.00.
  • Traffic calming and intra-neighbourhood equity: Evidence from recent interventions in Barcelona’s Eixample (TRANSEQUI). The main objective of the project is to explore the implications of traffic calming actions on intra-neighbourhood equity, taking the Eixample of Barcelona as a case study. Amount subsidised: €59,000.00.
  • Co-development of uncertainty quantification tools for urban air quality models (UncertAIR). The aim of UncertAIR is to co-design and co-develop an interactive tool for reporting uncertainty in air quality simulations, supporting and providing evidence for urban policy planning and management. Amount subsidised: €59,778.82.
  • New strategies to reduce waste and improve the food system in the city of Barcelona. The overall objective of the project is to ensure an integrated value adjustment of non-marketable fruit and vegetables by creating innovative solutions at different stages of the value chain breakdown, providing good post-harvest management practices for surplus food from reception to distribution and introducing innovative valorisation pathway strategies to convert both non-marketable and unavoidable materials into potential ingredients for high quality products. Amount subsidised: €59,982.00.
  • Collective rethinking of waste-related care inside and outside the home in Barcelona (WASTECARE). The aim of this project is to analyse and design in a participatory way, together with households and informal recyclers, a feminist and ecological public policy for the management of urban waste in Barcelona. Amount subsidised: €60,000.00.
  • Post-penitentiary care in the city of Barcelona: obstacles and opportunities in the return to the community of people in prison. The main objective of the project is to analyse the post-penitentiary assistance in the city of Barcelona for people leaving prison and returning to the community. Amount subsidised: €47,132.50.
  • Integrated organic photovoltaic bus stop (TERRA). The general objective of TERRA is the integration of stable organic solar mini-modules at bus stops to power lighting devices. Amount subsidised: €60.000,00.
  • Sensors based on monolayer and multilayer MoS2 to assess noise and humidity levels on the sleep quality of elderly people (LEONINE). The overall objective is to establish a platform to fabricate sensors with emerging 2D materials to simultaneously detect sound and humidity, fostering interest in science learning among secondary school students in Barcelona. Amount subsidised: €60,000.00.
  • Integrating health and environment: Urban Friendliness for frail elderly people living in Barcelona (+AGIL Barcelona). The main objective is to design a map that aims to inform the urban characteristics that favour or hinder a healthy environment oriented towards the elderly, for individual decision-making (choice of routes) and collective decision-making (prioritisation of urban planning actions or location of facilities). Amount subsidised: €59,796.50.
  • School desegregation policies in the city of Barcelona: impact and mechanisms. The main objective of this project is to determine the impact of the Shock Plan and the Admissions Decree on the distribution of socially vulnerable students among the educational centres of the city of Barcelona, as well as to analyse the functioning of the different instruments promoted by these policies. Amount subsidised: €58,453.00.
  • Valorisation of textile waste as a source of cellulose to obtain high added value products. The general objective is to recover the cellulose fibres contained in them and use this recovered raw material as a source of material to obtain transparent and biodegradable films applicable in the food packaging sector. Amount subsidised: €60,000.00.
  • Mountain biking in the Serra de Collserola Natural Park. A cartography of the controversy (CiMColl). The aim of this project is to analyse in depth the characteristics of the sporting and recreational practice of mountain biking in the Collserola Park through the exploitation of existing sources and to generate new complementary information through the implementation of various research methods. Amount subsidised: €59,800.00.
  • Characterisation and rehabilitation of the post-covid-19 condition (persistent covid) in the paediatric population. The overall objective of this project is to determine the main immunological, neurological and virological characteristics of children and adolescents suffering from post-covid-19 condition, and its psychological, academic and social consequences. Amount subsidised: €51,589.90.

Precedent: urban challenge awards

The call for grants for young and emerging research projects in 2022 has given continuity to the Scientific Research Awards for Urban Challenges in the City of Barcelona promoted by Barcelona City Council in 2020. These awards were intended to address urban challenges in the era of covid, and were aimed at all members of the scientific community up to 40 years of age and from any branch of knowledge, and the main objectives were to stimulate and strengthen young talent in Barcelona, and to support innovative projects that rethink the city model in a global way.

In parallel to the presentation of the grants at today’s event, the City Council has published a series of videos on the 15 projects that received the Scientific Research Awards for Urban Challenges in the City of Barcelona, which can be seen on the Barcelona Science and Universities website.