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Four UC3M researchers receive a Leonardo 2020 Grant from the BBVA Foundation


Four lecturers at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) - Miguel Artola, Stefano Discetti, Eva Herrero, Violeta Ruiz - have been awarded a Leonardo 2020 Grant from the BBVA Foundation to support their research projects in Humanities, Engineering, Information and Communication Science, and Law, respectively.

Becas Leonardo 2020, Fundación BBVA

The BBVA Foundation’s Leonardo Grants aim to support science and culture in order to promote projects carried out by researchers and cultural creators between the ages of 30 and 45, who are in the middle of their careers. These grants promote 59 personal innovation projects in 11 fields of knowledge and the arts. It is a highly competitive call, with 1615 applications received, among which the projects considered to be of the highest excellence have been selected by an evaluating committee made up of independent experts.

The average age of the 59 grant holders selected in this call is 38.5 years old. In terms of the geographical distribution of the work centres, they are divided among 13 autonomous communities: 17 have been awarded to residents in Madrid, 11 in Catalonia, 10 in Andalusia, 5 in the Basque Country and Galicia, and the rest are distributed among Aragon, the Canary Islands, Castile-La Mancha, Castile and León, the Valencian Community, Murcia, and La Rioja.

Projects from the UC3M

Miguel Artola Blanco is a Postdoctoral researcher “Juan de la Cierva” at the UC3M’s Department of Social Sciences. His research project seeks to open up a new perspective into the study of the Interwar period by exploring the relationship between inequality and the triumph (or failure) of democracies. He is researching three countries (Spain, the United States and France) with different trajectories and who had different experiences of solutions during this period. The research focuses on the middle and working classes, understanding that they were key actors in the changes that occurred in these decades. It aims to connect three areas that have been studied separately thus far: the economic changes that these groups experienced, the stability (or bankruptcy) of each of these political regimes, and the new institutional framework of social and labour policies.

Stefano Discetti is aLecturer at the UC3M’s Department of Bioengineering and Aerospace Engineering. His research focuses on techniques for improving the aerodynamic efficiency of methods of transport, which are responsible for approximately 29% of the total CO2 emissions generated by humans. Given that a large percentage of the energy needed to travel is due to aerodynamic resistance, his project proposes tapping into advances in Artificial Intelligence in order to achieve real-time closed loop control of aerodynamic flows. The research will consist of two parts: a theoretical study and computational simulations of learning techniques for their application in fluid mechanics and adapting these automatic learning strategies to experimental environments.

Eva Herrero Curiel is a Lecturer of Journalism at the UC3M’s Department of Journalism and Audiovisual Communication. Her research project will study how teachers in secondary and further education in Spain work with their students from the perspective of the media: what they teach them, the methodology they use, and their perceptions of the students’ use of media and social media. Once the information has been collected, proposals will be made to implement actions within curricula that will help promote media literacy among students in order to foster a more critical thinking and consumption of media and the information they generate. According to international studies, 64% of young people between the ages of 18 and 24 around the world consider digital media (including social media) their main source of information.

Violeta Ruiz Almendral is a Lecturer of Financial and Tax Law at the UC3M’s Department of Public State Law. Her project aims to investigate the constitutional system of distributing powers between the state, autonomous communities, and local bodies in terms of financial and tax matters, considering the current model designed by the Spanish Constitution and integration into the European Union, as well as its evolution in practice. The research will analyse the dynamic functioning of the constitutional system of territorial financing, and the implications the system has on financial powers - both those relating to income (taxes and duties) as well as expenses (flows that make up the local and regional financing systems) and examining the main judicial questions raised through an examination of disputes,mainly in the courts (Court of Justice of the European Communities and Constitutional Court).