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iv. Line of Physics, Computation and Applications (LFCA)

This line is essentially based on the scientific capacity of four research institutions:

  1. The Institute for Cross-Disciplinary Physics and Complex Systems (IFISC), set up by the UIB and the CSIC
  2. The Institute of Applied Computing with Community Code (IAC3), set up by the UIB
  3. The Institute of Computational Chemistry (IQC) at the UdG
  4. The Institute of IT and Applications (IIA) at the UdG

These four centres, together with other competitive groups in the fields of Physics, Chemistry, Materials, IT Engineering and Mathematics, provide a firm foundation of scientific skills applicable to many different fields that stand out internationally for their parameters of excellence.

The 16 researchers on the IAC3 staff are aimed towards knowledge transfer at an international level in collaboration with companies such as Deimos-Space, Atos-Origin, DxO (France) and Thales Alenia Space (France). In many cases they are international benchmarks in their fields of knowledge. Their research capacity was reflected in 40 articles in international publications in 2009, one of which was in Nature. 15 projects were won, 2 from CENIT, plus 6 contracts (2 related to CENIT projects).

The sturdy international relationships are reflected in the make-up of these institutes and their research excellence in their publications in high-impact journals. In the case of the IFISC, its research capacity was reflected in 343 articles in international publications in 2003-09, in particular 1 in Nature, 9 in PNAS and 29 in PRL. We should highlight that there are currently researchers from this line participating in 9 European projects, 4 networks, 2 European COST actions and 1 ESF project. In addition, regular workshops are held with the Max Planck Society, which will imply one of the starting points of the International PhD School.

The IQC at the UdG (IQC-UdG) carries out basic and applied research in the fields of non-linear optics, photochemistry, quantum molecular engineering and bio-inspired molecular processes, together with the development of a new quantum mechanics methodology. Its researchers are taking part in knowledge transfer along with regional companies (e.g. LUCTA) and international companies (e.g. CIBA). It is an institute with 40 members, high staff mobility and extensive international collaboration, which leads to a large number of articles being published in journals with a high impact rate. It is part of the Catalan Theoretical and Computational Chemistry R&D&I Reference Network. This institute is reinforcing a strategic alliance with the QBIS group from the chemistry departments of the UdG. This group has vast potential: its two main researchers (Dr. Miquel Costas and Dr. Xavi Ribas) have obtained two subsidies from the starting grant of the European Research Council (ERC), which means a strong promotion in their research line on bio-inspired catalysis.

Meanwhile, the IIA at the UdG (IIA-UdG) and the groups related with it are carrying out intensive applied (and also basic) work in computer and robotic vision, information networks, intelligent and control systems, biomedicine control systems, computer graphics and computational geometry. More than 100 researchers collaborate with this institute, which has the appropriate facilities for a Scientific Park: the Underwater Robotics Research Centre with a large water tank for R&D&I. It also has its own facilities in the new Narcís Monturiol building in the park itself to transfer technology in the field of CIT-Media. Due to their very nature they are the main focal point for collaboration with the business environment in the University of Girona and they participate in 6 European projects. The IIA-UdG also jointly organises an Erasmus Mundus Master’s in Vision by Computer and Robotics (VIBOT).

Other groups, such as AMADE (Advanced Analysis and Materials for Structural Design), with researchers from the mechanical engineering and physics departments, are performing very important research work and are very active in knowledge transfer. A long ranging agreement with AIRBUS should be highlighted, as well as the Scientific and Technological Park of the UdG being set up by the company AIRBORNE, for components for the wind energy sector, due to its collaboration with this group. VIRVIG is also worth mentioning, a centre involved in virtual reality that includes researchers from the UdG and the UPC.

Key resources

  1. Scientific excellence and the ability to recruit international talent of two institutes that are international leaders in their respective fields.
  2. The IFISC. The aggregate h of its 15 staff members is 51. 53% of their PhDs and 70% of their post-docs are not in Spanish.
  3. The IQC: 63 articles in 2009. Its aggregate h index is 45. It has several foreign researchers on its permanent staff. Close collaboration with prestigious experimental groups.
  4. Most of the most cited articles from the UdG (highly cited papers in Essential Science Indicators from the Web of Knowledge) come from IQC-UdG and IIA-UdG publications (627, 567 and 311 for IQC, and 164, 115 and 103 for IIQ – it is worth noting that a larger number of citations are received for engineering than for science).
  5. According to the CyD Report 2009, the UdG comes third in Spain in terms of the standardised average impact in engineering and sixth in chemistry. The IIA-UdG and the IQC-UdG respectively are the main contributors to these positions (UdG is in third place, as reported by SCImago and El País). The UIB is 5th in citations per document in the fields of chemistry, physics and astronomy.
  6. The IFISC’s and the IAC3’s close relationship with the Max Planck Society. Since 2008 joint workshops have been held with the Max Planck Society in Dresden and the IFISC, which has been recently consolidated through the agreement for setting up the international Max Planck centre, and researchers have been exchanged by the IAC3 and the Max Planck Societies in Potsdam and Hanover (through the GEO project). The IAC3 also have the only Spanish group taking part in the LIGO project for the detection of gravitational waves.
  7. The IQC’s ongoing relationship with Vrije University Amsterdam, Philips University Marburg and the Hungarian Academy of Science
  8. The IQC’s ability to organise high-quality postgraduate courses such as the Master’s in Theoretical and Computational Chemistry
  9. The IIA-UdG’s ability to organise the Erasmus Mundus Master’s in Vision by Computer and Robotics
  10. Its experience in holding R&D events such as the prestigious Gerona Seminar on Theoretical and Computational Chemistry, which is held every two years. Similarly, last year the IIiA organised at least 3 important international congresses in Girona at an extremely high level.
  11. The IIA-UdG’s high level of transfer to the local area and also at an international level. The IIA-UdG is the heart of the UdG’s entrepreneurial spirit. The entrepreneurial work by the Institute’s researchers has led to the creation of several spin-offs and various patents.
  12. The IAC3’s ability to transfer knowledge internationally, which is reflected in its collaborative project with the companies DxO (France) and Thales Alenia Space (France).
  13. The potential of its computation infrastructure, in particular the IFISC’s Nuredduna cluster and its expansion to the GRID-CSIC.
  14. The aim of the bio-inspired catalysis line at the UdG, which includes 2 ERC Starting Grants, two Ramon y Cajal researchers, the ICREA Academy prizes and other national and international recognition.
  15. Setting up the TIC-Media Cluster in Girona, installing 3D television equipment and a 3D laboratory in the scientific and technological park of the UdG (with the FEDER subsidy management by the City Council of Girona), the development of a technology demonstration centre (BCN digital technological centre and the company Lavinia Interactiva take part, with a subsidy from the AVANZA plan).

Proyecto financiado por el Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte en el marco del Programa Campus de Excelencia Internacional

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