The Impulso Gala ended up with seven award-winning projects and three companies being acknowledged for their business excellence
Family photo of the winners and business excellence awards 2019 Impulso Gala
Alicante, Thursday 13 June 2019
The 8th Impulso Awards, organised by the University of Alicante and the Alicante Science Park Foundation, has once again hosted the most significant innovations, transfer of knowledge and entrepreneurial work carried out by our institution.
The Impulso Gala took place on Thursday 13 June, in the UA Museum ‘Cool’ exhibition. The event, presided over by UA President Manuel Palomar, was attended by a large audience including Director for Directorate-General of Social Responsibility and Self-Government Promotion Josep Ochoa, General Director of the Valencian Institute for Business Competitiveness Júlia Company, General Secretary of the Valencian Innovation Agency Olivia Estrella, as well as representatives of the town councils of Biar, Alcoy and San Vicente del Raspeig, academic authorities, research groups and representatives of the business and student sectors.
The central event, the awarding ceremony of the 2019 Impulso Awards for innovative business initiatives, was preceded by a panel discussion moderated by Vice President for Research and Knowledge Transfer Amparo Navarro. This ceremony was attended by UA Social Council Chairman and President of the shipping company Baleària Adolfo Utor, by Beatriz Cerrolaza, founder of Alise Devices, a spin-off of the Polytechnic University of Madrid dedicated to anti-counterfeiting technology; and Daniel Ibiza, founder of AIUDO, a company that provides caregiver service for the elderly.
A total of 32 innovative projects were submitted for the following categories: A category: 6 business projects promoted by academic staff members, PhD holders, PhD candidates and students whose main goal has been commercial exploitation of the UA research and knowledge transfer; B category: for business projects, promoted by students or graduates. Prize-winners are listed below.
A Category Awards
The jury has awarded AdaptAI with €8,000, plus €3,000 from the Alicante Science Park (ASP). AdaptAI is a project promoted by the researchers of the UA Robotics and Three-dimensional Vision Group (RoViT) Miguel Ángel Cazorla, Ester Martínez, José García, Francisco Gómez, Félix Escalona and Elad Rodríguez. AdaptAI's proposal focuses on marketing products based on artificial intelligence aimed at improving the autonomy and quality of life of people with disabilities and the elderly.
JVTech Wellness & Performance was awarded €4,000 (plus €3,000 awarded from the ASP). The project has been developed by researchers Juan Manuel Cortell and Vicent Fuster and focuses in the field of personal training applied to improving health and quality of life. This technology allows multiple body zones to be monitored and responds to the need to objectively assess and supervise professional practice in the field of physiotherapy.
B Category Awards
In this category, aimed at projects promoted by students or graduates, two €1,500 prizes from the University of Alicante and an additional €2,000 prize from the Alicante Science Park have been awarded. The first was for Robi, more than a robot, by Roberto Saúl Cova and María Cutillas. The promoters have designed a robot with a state-of-the-art technology and functionalities, appealing and friendly design for parents and children, and a content management system designed to meet the needs detected in the educational field. Thus, the entrepreneurs have achieved a worthwhile proposal that combines profitability, education and entertainment in the educational robotics market, which is expanding on a global scale.
The second prize went to a flexible glove that responds to the need to improve the daily life of people with motor dysfunctions in their hands. It consists of designing and manufacturing an exoskeletal robotic glove that allows people with weak or no muscle tone in their hands to easily manipulate everyday objects. Low-cost materials and open source have been used to develop this technology, which allows the interested person to manufacture their own product. Andrea González, Javier Esclapés, Manuel Gómez, David Pérez, Andrés Úbeda, Carlos Alberto Jara and José Luis Ramón are the promoters of this technology.
The four projects awarded in A and B categories will also be awarded the UA Germán Bernácer Research Chair Award, which consists of mentoring and tutoring services by professional members of the Germán Bernácer Economic Forum for a period of 6 months.
Also, the following additional prizes were awarded:
Award from the Office of the Vice President for Campus Facilities and Technology
A €1,000 prize was awarded to the Wazime project, by Jesús Valencia and Pablo Sirvent, an app and a web platform created with the aim of turning upside down and simplifying the exchange of contact data as e-Business Cards (EBC), using high-frequency sound technology. Currently, according to studies, 80% of business cards are lost, thrown away or unused, which is money wasted instead of invested, and an unsustainable environmental cost. Wazime has been conceived with the aim of creating a solution suite for those sectors of the market that mainly use this obsolete method of data transfer in an increasingly connected era.
A €1,000 prize was awarded to Accom, designed by Andrés Ferre, Alberto Madrero and Marcos Checa. The technology offers an automated communication system for the hearing impaired. The designed devices are connected to a mobile phone transmitting what another person is saying and showing the user their transcription through an App. Accom has a modular design that offers versatility and adaptability in different contexts. Its main goal is to make the daily life of hearing impaired people easier by giving them greater independence and allowing total accessibility in multiple everyday situations.
Social Entrepreneurship Award from the Caja Mediterráneo Foundation and the UA Corporate Social Responsibility
Artefactos, promoted by the Engineering Design and Technology Development Research Group (DIDET), is a social project of collective design and development that seeks to generate alternative and accessible open-source solutions for the autonomy and quality of life of people with functional diversity, through collaborative design, technology and innovation. The project uses emerging technologies and involves users, families, engineers, therapists, technicians, students and researchers. The team of researchers includes Javier Esclapés, Irene Sentana, María del Carmen Díaz, Abel Parodi, Naiara Pérez, Alejandro Martín and Miguel Ángel Contreras. The Caja Mediterráneo Foundation will provide Artefactos with a working space for six months, as well as preferential and free access to all training and dissemination initiatives related to social responsibility, new sustainable economic models and social innovation.
Business excellence acknowledgement
Business excellence was also acknowledged during the 2019 Impulso Awards. The first recognition went to Alicante Science Park spin-off Bioflytech — founded by UA researcher Santos Rojo in 2012 — that was presented with the Company of the Year Award. This business project has achieved several patents related to artificial breeding and mass production of insects, as well as the know-how associated with the industrial production of protein flours and functional fats for animal feed and other fields of application. In 2018, Moira Capital Partners joined the company as a partner to promote its industrial development and the construction of the first industrial plant in our country with a production capacity of more than 1,000 tons per year of protein meal based on larval biomass.
Eric Kauffmann, Gold Car's Human Resources Director, received the award for the most collaborative company in terms of work placements and employment. With over ten years collaborating with the UA Employment Centre, Gold Car has offered every year internships to UA students in a wide variety of disciplines, incorporating UA graduates into the company. As an example, it is worth mentioning that it was one of the companies that participated in the first edition of the Gennera Programme, whose goal is to define and transfer to the students and graduates great strategic challenges of the participating companies so that, after receiving specific and practical training, they create work groups for problem-solving.
Finally, the Alacant Group has been awarded as the most collaborative company in R&D. This company and the University of Alicante have been actively collaborating for 18 years on different topics, mainly related to environmental issues (sewage treatment systems, reduction of noise pollution, etc.), improvement of analytical processes and methods applied to innovation and improvement of the quality of ice cream products. During this fruitful collaboration, close to 20 R&D contracts have been signed, developing projects with several UA research groups.
After the awards ceremony, UA President Manuel Palomar stressed that the Impulso Gala, other than recognising entrepreneurship in the UA setting, is a commitment to the transfer of knowledge and innovation.
A commitment that can be clearly seen through our institutional innovation programme InnoUA that includes different actions to strengthen the links with our socioeconomic environment. As stated by the UA President, these distinctions are worth to acknowledge those companies that have been collaborating with us in terms of R&D, work placements and employment.
This commitment to entrepreneurship is reinforced by our Alicante Science Park project, a space for excellence and innovation to encourage university-industry bonds and boost innovation and competitiveness in our economic system.
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