Next academic year, UVic-UCC will have a new Faculty of Design and Engineering and two new degrees in Barcelona with the incorporation of Elisava14.05.2021The Universitat de Vic - Universitat Central de Catalunya (UVic-UCC) will kick off academic year 2021-2022 by expanding its range of academic programmes to a total of 37 degrees taught between the Vic and Manresa campuses, the new Barcelona campus, the branch in Granollers and its affiliated centres. The biggest news is the addition of Elisava, Barcelona School of Design and Engineering, as part of the University after the federative agreement signed last November.
Elisava will begin the new academic year as the Faculty of Design and Engineering, thus becoming the UVic-UCC's Barcelona campus, its third campus overall. Its programmes will join the University's in September with its two degrees in Design and Innovation and Industrial Design Engineering, and the University Master's in Interdisciplinary Studies in Design and Communication, in addition to a wide range of Master's and postgraduate programmes and professional training courses.
These programmes join the University Master's programmes that the UVic-UCC already offered, along with its continuing education and doctoral programmes. This year, 2021, they are celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the founding of the Doctoral School, which also dovetails with the launch of its tenth programme in Sport Sciences and Human Movement.
First hybrid degree in Podiatry in Spain
The other new development for next academic year in terms of undergraduate degree programmes is the addition of the University's degree in Podiatry, to be offered in hybrid format. This programme will join those offered by the Faculty of Health Sciences of Manresa, which has been training podiatry professionals for 22 years, and it will become the first clinical degree in Health Sciences to be taught in this modality in all of Spain.
One of the unique features of this degree is that a higher number of hours will be spent on practical training compared to the conventional degree offered until now. Thus, the face-to-face part will be set aside and reserved for activities which ensure that the future podiatrists properly acquire professional skills (theoretical-practical sessions, simulations and clinical practices), while the theoretical contents and personal work will be done remotely.
Another highlight for next academic year is the fact that the Occupational Therapy degree, which is offered both face-to-face and online at the Vic campus, will take yet another step towards consolidating the hybrid modality by expanding the number of classes taught totally online. In this way, the students who are beginning this degree programme can better tailor the timetables and classes every semester and year to their own personal availability. "The knowledge acquired will be the same, but students will be able to choose when and how they advance in their education, always within certain limits set by the curriculum", explains the coordinator, Judit Rusiñol, who also says that "it's a great way to make it more accessible for people who are working or want to pursue this programme as a second degree".
Consolidation of active methodologies
The hybrid model that the UVic-UCC was exploring even before the pandemic was implemented more intensely after the lockdown in March of last year. "Ours is a face-to-face university and it will continue to be one. In the past year, we have discovered the value of physical social interaction in learning, but we have also found that digital formulas are resources that enrich teaching, if used properly", says the rector of the UVic-UCC, Josep Eladi Baños. The rector believes that "there's no turning back on the road towards hybrid teaching, and it makes more sense than ever".
In parallel, the 23 degrees that the Vic campus will offer in academic year 2021-2022 consolidate its focus on active methodologies as the foundation of the training offered in recent years. Problem-based learning, project-based work, reflective practice, workshops, simulations and learning and service are just some of the methodological options underpinning the University's Bachelor's and Master's degrees.
In this sense, next academic year the Faculty of Business and Communication Studies will reinforce "learning in real contexts, either internationally via projects that incorporate the COIL (Collaborative Online International Learning) methodology in the University's classrooms, or by applying simulation methodologies", explains the dean, Josep Burgaya. One example is the students in the Journalism and Audiovisual Communication degrees, who participate in real journalistic projects by developing the biweekly supplement El 9 Nou and the new digital magazine Insights.
These teaching dynamics join those that are already used in this and the other faculties, such as the Faculty of Health Sciences and Welfare on the Vic campus in the degrees in Nursing, Human Nutrition and Dietetics, Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy, which are strongly focused on reflective practice, simulation and work based on clinical cases; the Faculty of Sciences and Technology, in the fields of both the biosciences and engineering, which clearly focus on problem-based learning and integrated projects; and the Faculty of Education, Translation and Humanities, which uses university teaching innovation projects in the professional environment like "Eye to Eye" with the support of the Vic City Council and the Department of Education of the Government of Catalonia to promote spaces of dialogue and reflection between the University and the schools around it.
Academic year 2021-2022 will also mark the full implementation of the pedagogical model of the Manresa campus, which was approved last academic year but could not be fully launched because of the limitations associated with the pandemic. The UManresa's methodological proposal for degrees in both the Faculty of Health Sciences and the Faculty of Social Sciences stresses learning based on experiences, collaboration and reflection. It also focuses on the link between theory and practice to connect education with the environment and on individualised student attention.
Reformulated, expanded scholarships
Next academic year, the UVic-UCC will launch the new "Universitat a l'Abast de Tothom" (University within Everyone's Reach) scholarship programme targeted at students with a sound academic record yet little ability to access or continue their university studies for economic or social reasons. This assistance will provide students with two-thirds of the tuition fees, paid in equal parts by the University and the financing from the scholarship programme, and the education centres where the students complete their baccalaureate or vocational training programme will submit the application.
On the Manresa campus, the Social Talent scholarships created one year ago are being reformulated. Starting next academic year, anyone enrolled in the Business Administration and Management (ADE) or Pre-School Teaching (MEI) bachelor's degrees programmes at the Faculty of Social Science of Manresa with an entrance exam score of 8.5 of higher can access them, regardless of whether they are coming from a baccalaureate or an upper-level vocational training programme. In all cases, they will be given a 40% discount off the tuition fees in the first year.
With regard to the Vic campus, next academic year a new online system to apply for the available scholarships will be launched; this is a tool on the virtual campus which will simplify the scholarship process for students. The Faculty of Medicine has its own scholarship programme, as does Elisava, which offers four academic excellence scholarships that cover 50% of tuition costs and eight that cover 10%.
Internationalisation in the fifth year of the Medicine degree
Next academic year, the Faculty of Medicine will launch its fifth year, the third in which classes are being taught simultaneously in the teaching units in Vic and Manresa. This year, one of the Faculty's strategic objectives is to further its internationalisation, and more specifically students' international mobility. This is beginning with the fifth year students, who will have the option of engaging in mobility for two-month practices at universities abroad. Agreements have already been signed with the University of Liege (Belgium), the University of Varna (Bulgarian) and the University of Rzeszowska (Poland).
The curriculum for the fifth year includes medical specialisations like neurology, traumatology and rheumatology, dermatology, ophthalmology, otorhinolaryngology and geriatrics. Likewise, the teaching team in the Faculty will be expanded and joined by professionals like Xavier Montalban, a neurologist and the head of the Neuroimmunology service at the Hospital Vall d'Hebron and director of the Multiple Sclerosis Centre of Catalonia (CEMCAT); Carles Torrens, a traumatologist and head of the upper extremity unit at the Parc Salut Mar; and Ramon M. Pujol, a dermatologist and head of the Dermatology service, also at the Parc Salut Mar.
Tenth doctoral programme and 16 official Master's degrees
In academic year 2021-2022, the Doctoral School will add to its offerings the tenth doctoral programme focused on Sport Sciences and Human Movement, which is also dovetailing with the centre's tenth anniversary. The new programme will offer ten places per year to train researchers competent to design, develop and manage research projects in the fields of the Physical Activity and Sport Sciences, specifically in the specialisation areas of health and human movement, sports performance, economic and social management of sport and physical education.
With regard to University Master's degrees, next academic year 16 will be offered, with Elisava's Design and Communication joining the offerings for the first time. The University Master's in Specific Didactics was changed to be offered 100% online in order to adapt to the new curricular trends in pre-school and primary school (ages 3-12); it will use transversal methodological approaches like project-based learning and discovery spaces. Now, a new edition of the University Master's in Montessori Education (ages 0-6) is getting underway, which starts every two years and is endorsed by the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI).
More in-house Master's and postgraduate programmes are being offered
The number of in-house Master's and postgraduate programmes has also grown since Elisava joined the UVic-UCC. This adds up to 35 Master's programmes, all in the fields of design, creativity and communication, as well as 20 postgraduate programmes, all with the participation of a high percentage of international students and professionals.
The Vic campus will also ad new offerings under the aegis of its International Centre for Continuing Education. In the field of Health, the new Master's in Paediatric Physiotherapy is being offered, a programme coordinated with the Nexe Foundation which produces professionals specialising in physiotherapy to help children with developmental disorders and their families interact with their environment, along with the Master's in Intervention in Adolescents with Behavioural Disorders, in conjunction with the ITA Centre, in which health professionals will receive theoretical training and a supervised practice in the psychological treatment of adolescents with behavioural disorders.
In terms of business, and dovetailing with the release of the new eDiversity online training platform, the postgraduate programme in Place Branding and Strategic Territory Management is getting off the ground, geared at ensuring that the communication and marketing work in a given territory gains a unique identity expressed via a brand and recognising specific geographic spaces. In the field of sport, the contents of the Master's in Sport Management and Marketing has undergone a complete overhaul.
The university specialisation courses (15 ECTS or more) at the UVic campus for next year include training peer support agents in the Mental Health Chair. In the field of business, a training programme that addresses the social and charitable economy and cooperativism in a non-metropolitan environment is being launched, geared particularly to the region of central Catalonia. And finally, the course on Urban Planning and Health: Urban Planning as a Tool of Health is getting off the ground in conjunction with the UPC School.
The International Centre for Continuing Education at the UManresa is renewing its range of postgraduate programmes in all its fields of expertise. In the Health Sciences, it is launching the Master's in Patient Safety and Management of Health Risk and is reactivating the Master's in the Digital Transformation of Health and Social Organisations, the postgraduate in Big Data and Business Analytics and the expert diploma/certification in Applied Project Management. In the field of Education, it is continuing to offer its Master's in Digital Tools, Strategies, Competences and Methodologies in Education.
It has also introduced major new contents in some of its existing programmes, such as the addition of a module on "Tactical Emergency Casualty Care" (TECC) in the Master's in Out-of-Hospital Emergencies, and the conversion of the Master's in Orofacial Motricity and Neuroeducation and the postgraduate in Sinology and Mammary Pathology for Nursing into a hybrid modality.
The professional campus continues to offer its programmes
The UVic-UCC is still offering professional training, which consolidates the seven upper-level vocational training programmes (CFGS) already being offered. These offerings make this Catalan university the one with the most extensive programme options and the leader in introducing vocational training into the university setting.
Yet another year, the UVic-UCC will offer three CFGS programmes at the Centre Teknós, between Vic and Granollers; the one on 3D Animation Programmes: Interactive Games and Environments, the one on Development of Multiplatform Applications and the one on Marketing and Advertising. It will also offer its programme in Processes and Quality in the Food Industry at the Centre Kreas in Olot; and the ones on Dental Prosthetics, Administration and Finances focused on managing sports entities and clubs, and Pre-School Teaching, the latter geared at science and experimentation at young ages, at the UManresa Professional Campus.
In fact, the cycles taught at the Manresa campus next academic year will complete the introduction of the simulation methodology. Thus, students in the upper-level vocational training programmes will do part of their training at the CISARC, the University's simulation innovation centre, a facility designed to simulate environments similar to the ones they will find when they join the workforce, where the participants are put in circumstances where they are obligated to think, take decisions (sometimes under pressure), work as a team, negotiate, solve adverse situations, etc. "The goal is for the students to be capable of conceptualising and defending their own professional judgement, which will make all the difference when they join the job market", says Antoni Llobet, the rector's delegate for development of the UVic-UCC Professional Campus.
About the UVic-UCC
Open to the world and focused on comprehensive student service, the UVic-UCC offers educational programmes in the fields of the biosciences, communication, education, business, engineering, digital technologies, sport, languages, translation, health and design.
Located in a university town and rooted in the region of central Catalonia, it particularly emphasises the relationship between faculty and students in the quest for global education and professional job placement. This academic year 2020-2021, it has 9,907 students in official degree programmes and more than 9,763 in continuing education, and it has a campus in Vic (UVic), one in Manresa (UManresa) and a branch in Granollers.
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82% of UVic bachelor's degree students find work six months after completing their studies, and 88% have a job within three years10.05.202182% of UVic bachelor's degree students have found work six months after completing their studies. This figure rises to 100% among graduates in Mechatronics Engineering, Multimedia Engineering, Nursing and Human Nutrition and Dietetics, which are above the Catalan average, and reaches 95% for Business Administration and Management, 92% for Advertising and Public Relations, and 90% for Physiotherapy. Those are just some of the figures included in the latest report by the Catalan University Quality Assurance Agency (AQU), which looks at employment among university students who graduated in 2016.
The report focuses on the employment situation of the graduates from Catalan universities at two specific points in time: half a year after completing their studies, and three years after finishing them. In this latter situation - after three years - the levels of employment among UVic graduates rise to 88%. The percentages are above the Catalan average for some bachelor's degrees, such as Business Administration and Management, Human Nutrition and Dietetics and Translation and Interpretation, which have an employability level of 100%, and Audiovisual Communication (94%). The bachelor's degrees in Physical Activity and Sports Sciences and Biotechnology also have employment levels of 94%, which is very close to the 97% for employment for Nursing graduates, 93% for the bachelor's degrees in Physiotherapy, Early Childhood Education and Primary School Teaching, and 92% for Advertising and Public Relations.
The survey is carried out every three years in order to provide the Catalan universities with data and benchmarks for the quality of graduates' employment levels. The most recent survey was performed by telephone in 2020, using a sample of 50% of the population. The analysis covers about twenty of the UVic degree courses.
The respondents were asked about factors related to employment and its quality, as well as related to their satisfaction with their studies. This is the seventh time that the report has been published, and together with the data collected in previous editions, it is now one of the most comprehensive databases on employment after university in Europe.
A job appropriate for studies
The report also shows that UVic graduates in Multimedia (100%), Physiotherapy (97%), Biology (88%), Nursing (100%) and Primary School Teaching (97%) have the jobs that are most appropriate to their training, and the latter three are above the average levels for Catalonia.
The degree of satisfaction among UVic graduates with their job is generally high. In the report, the alumni from ten of the degree courses rate their current job with a score higher than 8. The levels of satisfaction among Early Childhood Education (9.01) and Social Education professionals (8.47) are particularly high, with scores that are above average compared to graduates from other Catalan universities.
Meanwhile, according to the study, the degree courses leading to the greatest job stability are in the field of engineering. 100% of the graduates in Mechatronics and in Multimedia not only have a job, but also have permanent and full-time employment contracts and salaries well above average levels, of 2,365 and 2,250 Euros respectively. This figure is very close to the average of 2,240 Euros earned by UVic graduates in Business Administration and Management, of whom 84% have permanent and full-time contracts. In the case of Biotechnology, the monthly earnings also exceed the threshold of 2,000 Euros (averaging 2,112 Euros), although permanent contracts are not as common in this case.
Good results for the quality of training
The report also takes into account satisfaction with the training received, and the quality that the graduates attribute to it. For UVic, 82% of the respondents say they would study at the same university again. This figure reaches 100% for of Multimedia Engineering, and 95% for the bachelor's degrees in Psychology and Translation and Interpretation, 95% for Early Childhood Education, 90% for Primary School Teaching, and 89% for Occupational Therapy. Furthermore, over 75% say they would do the same studies again.
The most highly rated areas in the training are IT skills and languages, creativity and practical training.
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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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