Around 40,000 children have enjoyed the activities and ideas of the Lab 0-6 at UManresa, a centre that was inaugurated five years ago today with the objectives of extending science education to the youngest learners, undertaking research in this area, and training teachers interested in studying how
UVic-UCC will have a doctoral programme in Sports and Human Movement Sciences next year19.04.2021Starting next year, UVic-UCC will offer a new doctoral programme in Sports and Human Movement Sciences, which will have ten places annually for students to produce theses in a field that has recently been the focus of significant research. Last December, the University System of Catalonia Quality Agency (AQU) finally ratified the new programme, the tenth at the Doctoral College. The programme will have three research lines: Sports Performance, Physical Activity and Health, and Sport, Society, and Education. This doctoral programme is being organised by various research groups at the University: the Sport Performance Analysis Research Group (SPARG), the Sport and Physical Activity Research Group (GREAF), the Physical Education Research Group (GREF) and the Podiatry, Biomechanics, Physiotherapy and Therapeutic Exercise Research and Innovation Group.
The doctoral programme in Human Movement and Sport Sciences will provide researchers with skills to design, undertake and manage research projects in the fields of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences, and specifically in the specialist fields of health and human movement, sports performance, economic and social management of sport, and physical education. In addition to the boost for research inherent in the completion of doctoral theses, this training also aims to contribute to consolidating the programming of existing bachelor's and master's degrees at the University, in the field of social sciences (Physical Activity and Sports Sciences, and Primary Education Teaching with a specialisation in Physical Education) and Health Sciences (Physiotherapy and Podiatry).
With its tenth doctoral programme, UVic-UCC completes a range that covers many of the important areas in research and teaching at the institution. This milestone also coincides with the tenth anniversary of the creation of the Doctoral College and the implementation of the current regulations governing these courses.
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UVic's humanitarian campaigns raised more than ? 7,000 in 2020 19.04.2021UVic-UCC was involved in various humanitarian activities in 2020, which raised more than 7,000 Euros and collected more than 50 kilos of school supplies, clothes and toys for children in Morocco, according to the report of all the humanitarian initiatives produced by the UHub University Community Assistance Service. The University took part in five initiatives as either the organiser or promoter, or as a collaborating institution. All these charitable activities contributed to the fight against COVID-19, cancer and child poverty, and "demonstrated the social value of the University and the people in its community, who were involved in each of these actions," according to Elisabet Fernández, of the UHub.
The first Vic Urban Orienteering Race took place on 2 February 2020. This popular activity was organised by the UVic Sports Service, 200 people participated, and it raised almost 1,000 Euros for the TV3 Marató telethon. Humanitarian material for Moroccan children was also collected From 15 to 23 February, within the framework of the Uniraid university race, to which UVic contributed more than 50 kilos of school material, clothes and toys.
During the week of the 10 May 2020, at the height of the pandemic and in the middle of the lockdown, UVic-UCC organised the UVic Humanitarian Challenge, a sports charity challenge to support the #JoEmCorono micro-sponsorship campaign organised by the doctors Oriol Mitjà and Bonaventura Clotet. A total of ? 4,335 was raised, and 269 people recorded 239 hours of physical exercise during the week. The main event, which took place in virtual format on Sunday 10 May, consisted of a live programme broadcast on the University's YouTube channel, featuring the actor Marc Clotet and his partner, Natàlia Sánchez, and the athletes Eloi Palau and Anna Comet, among others.
In the 2020-21 academic year, the traditional Oncotrail race, a competition for teams that raises funds for the fight against cancer, was scheduled to be held on 3 and 4 October. The event had to be cancelled due to the pandemic, but nevertheless, the UVic Fuck Cancer team made a contribution of ? 500 to the Oncolliga Girona Foundation, obtained from donations and sales of merchandise. Finally, the "Add km for the Marató" sports challenge took place in December 2020, with the twofold aim of raising funds for the TV3 Marató telethon, and getting the participants to cover 1,500 km in ten days. The end result was more than ? 1,500 raised.
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A study led by Roberto Elosua, a lecturer in the Faculty of Medicine, shows that not all good cholesterol is healthy19.04.2021HDL cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein cholesterol), known as "good cholesterol", is associated with a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease as it transports cholesterol deposited in the arteries to the liver for elimination. However, LDL cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein cholesterol), known or "bad cholesterol", causes cholesterol to build up in the arteries and increases cardiovascular risk. Although drugs that lower levels of bad cholesterol reduce cardiovascular risk, those that raise good cholesterol have not been shown to be effective in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. This paradox has called the relationship between good cholesterol and cardiovascular risk into question, and researchers are currently studying the characteristics of these particles of HDL, or good cholesterol.
The study High-density lipoprotein characteristics and coronary artery disease: a Mendelian randomization study led by the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM), in which the lead researcher is Dr Roberto Elosua, a lecturer at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Vic - Central University of Catalonia (UVIC-UCC), has shown that not all good cholesterol is healthy. Researchers at the Cardiovascular Diseases Biomedical Research Centre (CIBERCV), the Obesity and Nutrition Biomedical Research Centre (CIBEROBN) and the Epidemiology and Public Health Biomedical Research Centre (CIBERESP) as well as the Hospital Clínic-August Pi i Sunyer Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBAPS), the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL), the Research Institute of the Hospital de la Santa Cruz y Sant Pau and the Hospital Clínico Universitario in Zaragoza co-authored the study, which has been published in the journal Clinical and Experimental Metabolism.
The size of good cholesterol particles is crucial
The researchers analysed genetic traits that determine the size of good cholesterol particles, and then studied their relationship to the risk of experiencing a myocardial infarction. They came to the conclusion that the genetic traits associated with the generation of large good cholesterol particles were directly related to a higher risk of heart attack, while the genetic traits associated with small good cholesterol particles were related to a lower risk of a heart attack. "There is a positive causal relationship between the size of HDL cholesterol particles and the risk of a heart attack, so we must be able to increase good cholesterol levels in the blood, but always as small particles," said the study's lead researcher, Dr Robert Elosua, a researcher at the Hospital del Mar-IMIM, CIBERCV and UVic-UCC.
Good cholesterol particles are more effective at transferring cholesterol to the liver for elimination. "If we need to do anything with HDL, that is increasing the number of small particles, which are those that do the job of removing cholesterol properly - they are those that move it to the liver for elimination and don't allow it to build up in the arteries and cause cardiovascular disease," says Dr Álvaro Hernáez, researcher at IDIBAPS and CIBEROBN.
There are currently no drugs that increase good cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. "This study highlights new and potential therapeutic targets in the field of cardiovascular disease, such as various genes related to the qualitative aspects of HDL particles, which may contribute to preventing cardiovascular problems," concludes Dr Albert Prats, a researcher in the Epidemiology and Cardiovascular Genetics Research Group at the Hospital del Mar-IMIM, and the first author of the study.
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A report reveals that the digital solutions currently available to informal caregivers do not meet all of their needs30.03.2021There are currently many information and communication technology (ICT) solutions in Europe for people providing care to those living with Alzheimer's disease. These solutions provide tools to help informal caregivers in areas such as reducing their workload, anxiety, stress and its negative consequences, and increasing opportunities for positive interactions and support. Many of these digital solutions involve co-creation methods in their design, which means they have been created with input from end users, who in this case are informal caregivers of people with Alzheimer's disease.
However, according to a new report by the European research project Co-Care ('Co-Created ICT Solutions for Alzheimer's Informal Caregiving'), within the framework of the Erasmus programme, many of the ICT solutions available do not cover all the user's needs. The project is led by researchers at the University of Vic - Central University of Catalonia (UVic-UCC) through the Digital Care and M3O research groups, Confluència Solucions de Convergència Digital i Mobilitat and the Pasqual Maragall Private Foundation for Research into Alzheimer's disease. Seven other institutions in Portugal, the United Kingdom and Belgium are also involved.
In its latest report, the Co-Care project presents the state of co-created solutions for the care of Alzheimer's disease based on ICTs (devices, applications and experiences) in Spain, Portugal and the United Kingdom between 2015 and 2020. The report is the result of an exhaustive bibliographical review of the relevant documents published in the last 5 years, and describes, analyses and classifies the ICT solutions selected according to their design and development process. The report also identifies limitations and gaps related to the needs of informal caregivers, and answers questions such as whether these ICT products have been created with their needs in mind, and whether they were included in the design process.
Lack of technological and digital resources
Despite the ICT solutions available, the research concludes that technological and digital resources are lacking in many important areas, such as the physical health of caregivers, the balance between responsibilities, and information on the legal regulation of care. It also states that investments have been made by organisations, companies and universities over the last five years to address the difficulties and limitations that carers experience in their daily lives, but there is still a great deal of room for development.
The state of play report lays the groundwork for the other work planned during the Co-Care project. The primary objective of Co-Care is to foster and increase co-creation in the design of digital Alzheimer's care solutions for informal caregivers. It aims to create a training course for students and entrepreneurs in the fields of ICT, health and social care, and to develop a set of tools for caregivers to enable them to choose the technological tools that help them in their daily lives and with their needs. In order to develop these tools, it is essential to have an overview of existing ICT-based solutions for informal caregivers of people with Alzheimer's disease designed through co-creation.
Read the report on the state of co-created solutions for caring for Alzheimer's based on ICTs.
Read a summary of the report.
Visit the Co-Care website for more information about the project and subscribe to our newsletter.
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Two neighbourhoods in Vic are hosting the pilot test of a new community composting system led by the BETA Technology Center24.02.2021The neighbourhoods of Sant Llàtzer and the Four Stations of Vic will host a pilot test for the community composting of the organic fraction of waste generated in the neighbourhoods from March onwards. The main aim of this pilot test will be to evaluate the potential of this system for in situ management of the green fraction in these two neighbourhoods, and to determine whether it can be a more environmentally and economically sustainable solution than the current management system. In addition, it will test whether this model can be incorporated in cities similar to Vic in order to treat all organic waste generated in the households of some of their neighbourhoods.
The BETA Technology Center (Biodiversity, Ecology and Environmental and Food Technology) is coordinating this pilot test involving community composting of the organic fraction as part of the DECOST (Decentralised Composting in Small to Medium Towns) European project, which the research centre at the University of Vic - Central University of Catalonia (UVic-UCC) is leading. Vic City Council is also a partner in the pilot test, which follows another similar one within the framework of the same project that began in the town of Les Masies de Roda last autumn.
Four community composting points
Four community composting points will be established at various points in the Sant Llàtzer and Quatre Estacions neighbourhoods in Vic. Each of these points will have a space for pruning remains and six compost bins - two for input and four for maturation. The input compost bins can be opened with a magnetic user identification card, so that only residents will have access to them. Users will only need to deposit the organic waste from the green fraction of orchards and gardens and organic waste in all of them, as the CT BETA will be responsible for the management and maintenance during the project.
The DECOST pilot test was presented today at one of the composting points in the Sant Llàtzer district of Vic, in front of the Casa Nova de la Torre Negra centre. The Councillor for the Environment of Vic City Council, Albert Castells, thanked UVic-UCC for choosing the city to carry out the DECOST project. He said that this project "is fully aligned with the City Council's threefold goal of reaching zero waste, reducing the generation of waste per person and improving selective collection by increasing the percentage of waste generated that is reused." Castells expressed his satisfaction "with taking a step forward in addressing the climate emergency focusing on waste and at the same time, a step towards achieving an even more sustainable and healthy city within a European pilot project."
120 families will benefit from the project
Joan Colón, a CT BETA researcher and the DECOST coordinator, explained that the aim of the project is to "promote and develop new organic matter management systems, and implement community composting at a professional level." Colón explained that in the long term, the compost bins, which have magnetic locking mechanisms, will enable a payment system for waste generation to be implemented, "so that citizens who engage in good management pay less." According to the DECOST coordinator, the four composting points that have been set up are designed so that around 120 families from the Sant Llàtzer and Quatre Estacions neighbourhoods can take part, and if the pilot test is successful, "consideration will be given to rolling it out." The pilot test is scheduled to continue until September 2022 and the CT BETA will be responsible for its professional management during this period. At the same time, however, "a team of professional managers will be established so that when it is over, the project can be continued without the management of UVic-UCC," said Colón.
The new compost bins will entail a minimal change in the day to day lives of the residents of the neighbourhoods of Sant Llàtzer and Quatre Estacions in Vic. "Citizens are usually asked to manager the waste, but not this time, as they will only have to deposit the bag of organic matter," the project coordinator explained. There is a green fraction area at each point, where people can leave leaves and small twigs left over from household pruning. In the pilot test in Vic, in addition to plant debris from orchards and gardens, the public will also be encouraged to bring "100% of the organic matter" to the compost bins. This process will last about three months, and it is expected to begin to generate compost for distribution from June or July, and work is already under way on this phase.
Jordi Collet, the Vice-Rector for Research and Knowledge Transfer at UVic-UCC, thanked Vic City Council for its willingness to work with UVic-UCC and the CT BETA. During his speech, the Vice-Chancellor highlighted the research centre's desire to "move beyond the technological dimension and work in the community" in order to address challenges such as the climate emergency and the circular economy. Collet pointed out that DECOST is a "very interesting and innovative project which can be implemented in other regions after careful evaluation." He said that this project is an example of how "research and knowledge transfer can contribute to improving people's lives while at the same time curbing climate change."
The second pilot test in Osona
This is the second community composting pilot test in the Osona region carried out by the CT BETA, after the test in Les Masies de Roda, where community composting now supplements the door-to-door compost service, and 100% of the organic waste generated in the village is treated in the municipality itself. Joan Colón emphasised that "levels of public participation are very high" in the city. Taking the door-to-door compost service and the compost bins into account, "the waste fraction fell by 75% in the first month." Together with the test under way in Vic, these pilot tests will help optimise this new system so that it can subsequently be adopted in many other similar towns and cities.
A wide-ranging project
The aim of the DECOST project is to create closed and decentralised systems for community and domestic composting, in which municipalities and residents play a key role in the recovery and output of organic waste by means of urban agriculture projects. At the same time, it also aims to improve the current collection rates of the organic fraction. Only between 33% and 36% of the organic waste generated in Catalonia is currently selectively collected.
The DECOST project, which lasts three years, is funded by the European Union through the ENI CBC Mediterranean Sea Basin Programme, which is contributing 2.7 million Euros (ME), or 90% of the total budget, which amounts to 3.1 M?. A total of eight partners are participating in DECOST, including universities, research centres and government agencies from six different countries in the Mediterranean region: apart from the CT BETA, the consortium includes the Marche Polytechnic University and the Ente di Governo Rifiuti e Risorse Idriche Basilicata in Italy, the University of Patras, in Greece, the Irbid Agriculture Directorate and the Jordan University of Science and Technology in Jordan, the Galilee Society (Arab National Society for Health Research and Services) in Israel, and the Palestine Technical University Kadoorie in Palestine.
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Neurekalab creates the NeurekaNUM application to help children with dyscalculia with their learning 23.02.2021March 3 is International Dyscalculia Day, which marks a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects mathematical learning and numerical skills. This learning difficulty is also known as "mathematical dyslexia," and is unrelated to the child's or young person's level of intelligence. The difficulty lies in their ability to interpret both the symbolic and non-symbolic aspects of mathematics. People who suffer from dyscalculia have difficulty interpreting numbers and mathematical signs, are unable to perform mental calculations or work with abstractions. The prevalence of dyscalculia among schoolchildren ranges between 3% and 6%, with a similar distribution among girls and boys, and the most effective treatment is early detection. To help children and young people with this disorder with their learning, Neurekalab, in which the University of Vic - Central University of Catalonia (UVic-UCC) and the University of Barcelona (UB) are shareholders, has launched the NeurekaNUM application, which is aimed at professionals and families who want to help their sons and daughters with their mathematics for a specific period of time.
The NeurekaNUM application "has arisen from the need to create a tool for children with dyscalculia that enables them to do activities to improve their learning process, to try and offset a problem they have to live with", explains Sergi Grau, dean researcher at the UVic Faculty of Science and Technology, and co-founder of Neurekalab with Josep Maria Serra-Grabulosa, a researcher in the Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychobiology at the UB. "Learning difficulties are closely related to academic failure, low self-esteem and lower levels of employability," adds Josep M. Serra. One of the researchers' aims for this tool is "for it not to remain simply a pilot test in a research project, but to scale up its impact through a company with social goals, like Neurekalab."
NeurekaNUM is available to any family, school or professional. Those wishing to use it only need to visit the Neurekalab website and register, without any entry fee or time commitment. Interested families are asked to carry out a preliminary test in order to perform a prior assessment of each child. Schools and professionals interested in using the app should contact Neurekalab and make inquiries directly.
Present on the market since 2020
NeurekaNUM has been available on the market since late 2020, but a free preliminary version was released in the middle of last year, "so that families would have some help during the lockdown," says Grau. More than 250 families used NeurekaNUM between March and June 2020. There are currently 400 families and 210 professionals registered, and 550 children have used the application. "Now we are aiming to improve the users' experience with the current products, and the idea is subsequent to bring new products to market," says the UVic-UCC researcher.
To mark International Dyscalculia Day, Neurekalab, the Vallès ADHD Association and the Catalan Association for Dyslexia and Other Learning Disorders will be running a campaign from 27 February to 7 March, so that families can have an assessment of their children's mathematics learning difficulties.
Neurekalab, a spin-off to enhance learning
The Neurekalab spin-off was created in 2019, as a result of the need for scientifically validated methods for the early detection of difficulties in key cognitive learning processes, including attention, literacy, working memory, numerical processing and arithmetic. The company was established by Sergi Grau, dean researcher at the Faculty of Science and Technology (FCT) at UVic-UCC, and Josep Maria Serra-Grabulosa, a researcher in the Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychobiology at the University of Barcelona (UB), in order to develop and market digital tools that improve learning and prevent academic failure.
Apart from NeurekaNUM, they have also developed a digital product to detect learning difficulties called NeurekaTEST. According to Serra, "these tools are designed to be used in schools, and by clinical psychology and psychopedagogy professionals. The aim is not only to detect learning difficulties, but also for health and education professionals to be able to determine each child's strengths and shortcomings in order to personalise their learning process."
The bachelor's degree in Multimedia, Applications and Video Games at UVic-UCC - a world of possibilities
Neurekalab currently has students from the UVic-UCC Multimedia bachelor's degree course doing internships. This shows the many career opportunities these studies offer, and their many practical applications in various walks of life. Apart from the world of entertainment focused on the programming and creation of video games, a sector which has clearly expanded due to the lockdown, the bachelor's degree in Multimedia, Applications and Video Games provides practical solutions and real applications in fields such as education, healthcare and social work.
The level of employability at the end of the UVic-UCC Multimedia degree is very high. According to the "Bachelor's Degree Courses Comparative Report Catalonia 2020," 100% of UVic-UCC Multimedia Engineering students are employed within 6 months of graduating. 100% are working full time and with a permanent contract, engaged in study and university work. According to this report, 100% of students would recommend both the degree course and the University.
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UVic-UCC obtains the COVID-19 safe University certificate01.02.2021UVic-UCC has obtained the "COVID-19 Safe Protocol" certificate after several months of external auditing. The hallmark guarantees that the University has correctly implemented the specific action plan which includes hygienic, health, organisational, safety and health risk prevention measures to reduce the risk of infection. According to the head of the Infrastructures and General Services Area at UVic, Arnau Bardolet, "the health of the university community has been a priority throughout the pandemic, and the hallmark we have obtained shows that we are doing things properly and is recognition of the efforts to adapt to the COVID situation made by the people at this institution."
The purpose of the audit, carried out by the external company TÜV Rheinland, is to ensure that work and teaching spaces are compliant with COVID-19 health and safety measures. "It has not been an easy process, because UVic is a complex environment with many different spaces and users, which makes the certificate we have obtained even more commendable," says Bardolet. The Miramarges, Torre dels Frares, Masia de la Torre dels Frares, Zona Esportiva, Casa de Convalescència and Can Baumann buildings, which are all located on the Vic Campus, have been certified.
Access, case tracking and centralised information
The audit emphasises several strengths in the management of health and safety measures. First, it highlights the effective management of entrances, which have been reduced in number while maintaining emergency exits, and the performance of temperature and mask checks at all receptions. Another positive point is the tracking of COVID cases, including those arising from being in close contract and positive cases. The secretaries of the centre of each faculty have centralised the tracking of cases, and everybody who needed it has received support.
The correct use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and the large number of hydroalcoholic gel dispensers located in all the buildings, including in lecture rooms, laboratories, offices and common areas, was also rated in positive terms. "The objective of this measure was for good hygienic habits to become part of the institution's day-to-day life right from the very beginning," says Arnau Bardolet.
The creation of Covid Agents and the centralisation of information, which is available to everyone through the Covid-19 portal on the Virtual Campus, were also key factors in obtaining the certificate. This portal contains all the available and updated information, ranging from affidavits and accreditation certificates, to information on how to reserve a space for lunch, and how to report cases of the disease.
Valid for one year, and reviewed after six months
In order to obtain the certificate, a team of auditors visited the University's facilities in order to verify its measures. After passing the audit, the University received a certificate that will be valid for one year. A follow-up audit will be carried out within six months of the certificate being issued to confirm that the control measures implemented have been maintained and adapted to the evolution of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, UVic will continue to implement any improvements which it is able to undertake in order to provide an even safer environment. In the short term, it plans to implement a closer oversight of the delivery of personal protective equipment, certifying that the user has received it correctly, and it will be organising a COVID training course which will be mandatory for everyone working at the University. "The ultimate goal of all these measures is for the university community to feel safe when they are inside our facilities, within the boundaries laid down by the Procicat civil protection plan, and to assume a shared responsibility for doing so, so that together we make the environment as safe as possible," concludes Bardolet.
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