The UTOX figures among the research projects selected in the second CENIT call
The research project "Technological development towards a self-sustaining urban water system" (SOSTAQUA), promoted by the Societat General d'Aigües de Barcelona (AGBAR), is among the 15 projects awarded funds by the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Commerce through the "National Consortia for Technical Research Programme" (Consorcios Estratégicos Nacionales de Investigación Técnica (CENIT)), which has just published a list of the projects approved in this second call. This project involves the Experimental Toxicology and Ecotoxicology Unit (UTOX) of the Parc Científic de Barcelona (PCB)(Barcelona Science Park) and the Toxicology Unit of the Faculty of Pharmacy at the Universitat de Barcelona(UB)(University of Barcelona).
In the field of water technology and the environment, the SOSTAQUA project seeks to improve the sustainable water cycle. It includes 10 research lines in water management, wastes, energy production and health and environmental control. These are performed by 17 companies, 12 public research organisations and two collaborating enterprises. The Ministry has awarded this project 24 million euros, which accounts for 12% of the total budget that the Government has earmarked for this second call, which will provide a total of 200 million euros of financial support over 4 years.
The PCB participates in this project through the Toxicology Research Centre, which comprises the UTOX, headed by Miquel Borràs, and the Toxicology Unit of the Faculty of Pharmacy at the UB, manager by Joan Mª Llobet. Until now, the evaluation of water quality has placed special emphasis on biological safety, which has been assessed through microbiological and parasitological studies. The Toxicology Research Centre analyses the effects of chemical substances present in water –both before and after treatment– too determine the potential risks for human health and the environment.
The CENIT Programme, which is included in the governmental initiative entitled Ingenio 2010, seeks to boost public-private sector cooperation in R+D+i, and to generate knowledge that can be used to develop new products, processes, services to coordinate technologies of strategic interest. With this purpose, the projects chosen by CENIT are oriented to fostering planned research in technological fields with a strong future international projection.
At present, the PCB participates in other projects supported by the CENIT Programme: Genius Pharma, which aims to discover new drugs by applying cutting-edge technology in molecular design; ONCNOSIS, a research programme on early diagnostic indicators of several kinds of cancer; and NANOFARM, which aims to develop nanotechnological platforms in the field of drug delivery systems.