The jury selected six out of 22 proposals at the Impulso Awards 2018
Alicante. Wednesday 13 June 2018
In an effort to highlight innovation, knowledge transfer and entrepreneurship, the University of Alicante and the Valencia Region-Alicante Science Park Foundation (FPCA) held the Impulso Awards 2018 ceremony in the University of Alicante Museum’s Cool Hall this afternoon, where Impulso Award winners were revealed.
In total, for the 2018 edition, 22 innovative initiatives were submitted in all categories: five in category A for projects based on research outcomes by UA researchers, PhDs or PhD candidates; fifteen in category B for projects by students and graduates; and two in category C for business projects by students or graduates based on reusing open data of public institutions. Winners are listed below.
With a €7,000 prize, plus €3,000 from the Alicante Science Park (PCA), the jury selected “Revolution", a multidisciplinary project devoted to designing and marketing micro-generation systems of smart hybrids using eco-friendly technology. Sergio Gómez, Francisco Javier Ferrández and Juan Manuel García employed the potential of wind turbo micro-generation, artificial intelligence and other ICT solutions to design microturbines producing several times more energy than previous systems.
Moreover, €5,000 and €3,000 from the PCA were awarded to “Cronos”, a project to create cutting-edge training systems in emergencies, security and defence. With over 15 years’ experience in ICT and security, Virgilio Gilart, Diego Marcos and Héctor Mora, from the UA and security company OASI, propose a live simulation system of health intervention and rescue operations in real conditions.
In this category, the Office of the Vice President for Students and Employment gave two prizes, the first of which (€1,500 plus €2,000 from the PCA) went to “Microomics” by Pedro Iñaki González. It is a spin-off of the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) offering professional services in connection with metagenomic analysis of living organisms and their environments. The project is currently studying opportunities in various markets, including the pharmaceutical, healthcare, energy, agricultural and food, consumer goods and environmental industries.
The second prize (€1,500, also from the same Office of the Vice President) went to “Muspell”, a honey-based fermented beverage, similar to beer. Based on mead, the most ancient alcoholic beverage known so far, Hernán Camilo Asencio, Juan Carlos Corbí and Christian Romeu have developed a unique process using natural and high-quality ingredients to produce a new, exclusive beverage, looking exactly like beer, but having a totally different flavour and no malt, suitable for coeliacs.
The UA Office of the Vice President for Campus Facilities and Technology gave a single €1,500 prize, plus €2,000 from the PCA, to “Optimua”, a project focused on improving, simplifying, modernising and optimising facility management services in large entities or university campuses, such as the University of Alicante. To that end, the technological solution involves creating a mobile application with a “public” interface, targeted at campus users, students, teaching and other staff, and a “private” interface for workers of areas to be optimised, for instance cleaning and maintenance. The project also includes the development of a centralised business logic, implementing management and analysis of all collected data as well as the generation of predictions and optimisation parameters for campus management. The team is made up of Lucas Gil and Martín García-Ripoll.
Social Entrepreneurship Award
In this seventh Impulso Awards edition, a new Social Entrepreneurship Award was presented by the Caja Mediterráneo Foundation and the UA Social Responsibility Research Chair. The winner was “Timpers Inspire”, a start-up specialising in trainer design and creation. Visually impaired people are involved in the process, taking into account aspects such as touch or sensations, which are the core features of these trainers. “Timpers Inspire”, by Aitor Carratalá and Roberto Mohedano, breaks down stereotypes according to which visually impaired people are not fit for the fashion industry. The prize consists of tutoring, monitoring and mentoring services of the social dimension of the project during six months.
Three companies were recognised at the Impulso Awards ceremony. Firstly, the Alicante Science Park Company of the Year Award went to Medalchemy, a technology-based firm (TBF) founded 16 years ago by Organic Chemistry professors Miguel Yus and Carmen Nájera and senior UA technician Javier Soto. Medalchemy specialises in research, development, scale-up and synthesis of active pharmaceutical ingredients and medicines. The company, linked to and based in the Alicante Science Park, has 16 employees, 7 of whom hold PhDs from the University of Alicante.
Secondly, the Award for the Most Cooperative Company in terms of traineeships and employment offered went to Everis Centers Alicante director Jesús Conde. Since it was created, Everis has recruited University of Alicante students – in fact, 93% of its staff come from the UA. Besides, since the 2014-2015 academic year, it has allowed over 50 students to engage in traineeships in a wide range of disciplines.
Finally, the Mancomunidad de los Canales del Taibilla (‘Taibilla Canals Association') received the award for the Most Cooperative Company in R&D. This entity and the UA have actively worked together for over 15 years on a variety of topics, mainly in connection with the environmental study and monitoring of desalination plant discharges into Alicante and Cartagena canals. This fruitful cooperation has resulted in more than 25 R&D agreements with research groups from the Department of Marine Sciences and Applied Biology and the Institute for Water and Environmental Sciences. The award was collected by the Association’s president Adolfo Gallardo.
The Impulso gala event started with a panel discussion on entrepreneurship and innovation. Participants were Vodafone’s Data Science Research director and Chief Data Scientist Nuria Oliver, Valencia Region Institute for Business Competitiveness (IVACE) director-general Júlia Company, UA TBF Nouss Intelligence founding partner Jerónimo Mora, and Freebo founding partner Ricardo Cano. These experts discussed the distinctive features to help promote entrepreneurship and start-up creation in the province and the Valencia Region and insisted that Alicante has the conditions and infrastructure needed to become Europe's Silicon Valley.
Other than award winners and speakers, attendees included Valencia Region Agency for Prospective Planning and Assessment director-general Salvador Palazón, Social Responsibility and Self-Government Promotion director-general Josep Ochoa, UA Vice President for Research and Knowledge Transfer Amparo Navarro, UA Vice President for Students and Employment Nuria Grané, UA Vice President for Campus Facilities and Technology Rafael Muñoz, UA Social Council president Francisco Gómez, Alicante City Council’s Economic and Social Development Local Agency comptroller Manuel Amorós, San Vicente del Raspeig Town Council’s Local Development, Business and Tourism councillor Asunción París, UA Institutional Projects academic director and FPCA sponsor Joaquín Marhuenda, FPCA comptroller Olga Francés, Caja Mediterráneo Foundation president Luis Boyer, and UA Social Responsibility Research Chair director Irene Bajo.
The Impulso Awards are part of UAemprende, the UA’s institutional entrepreneurship programme, with the support of InnoUA (the UA’s institutional innovation programme) and the Alicante Science Park. “This gala event has thus become a key meeting point between the University of Alicante and the socio-economic environment of our most innovative companies,” Amparo Navarro highlighted in her closing speech.
Award to UAemprende
The Vice President for Research and Knowledge Transfer also announced during the event that “just a few hours ago, the Spanish Technology and Science Park Association (APTE) agreed to give the first runner-up prize in its Best Practice Awards to the UAemprende Programme, which marks the end of today's gala event.” This national award, to be presented at the next APTE international conference in Avilés, recognises “the comprehensive efforts aimed at entrepreneurship promotion in the framework of the UAemprende programme, developed mainly by the University of Alicante in cooperation with the PCA, supporting innovative business incubation and their consolidation once incorporated,” Ms Navarro concluded.
The Impulso Awards 2018 came to an end with a concert by the band Ethereal and an exhibition on the 18 innovative businesses created at the University of Alicante since 2010, many of which are based in the Alicante Science Park.
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