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Wednesday, 16 November 2022

Three new ICN2 projects receive AGAUR 2021 Grants

by Virginia Greco

Thanks to this funding, researchers at the ICN2 will develop photo-sensitive materials for smart windows, membranes for skin regeneration and a device for rapid detection and discrimination of respiratory viruses.

AGAUR, the Agency for the Management of University and Research Grants of the Generalitat de Catalunya, will finance three ICN2 projects through their Product (Indústria del Coneixement, Producte) and Innovators (Innovadors) Grants 2021. These funding programmes are aimed at stimulating the transfer to industry and the commercial exploitation of technologies developed in research centres in Catalonia.

The selected projects are TransWIN (Product) and MIaSkin (Innovators) –led by Dr Claudio Roscini, Prof. Daniel Ruiz-Molina and Dr Salvio Suárez-García, from the Nanostructured Functional Materials Group (Nanosfun)—, and PROXIM –led by Dr Maria Carmen Estévez, from the NanoBiosensors and Bioanalytical Applications Group.

TransWIN (Multistimuli-responsive coatings with transparency modulation for smart windows) will design new materials for smart windows to enhance buildings energy efficiency. Researchers from the Nanosfun Group will apply a technology they have developed in collaboration with UAB and CSIC and which is in the process of being patented. This is based on polymeric films that can change phase under photo- or electro-stimulation and that allow for smart windows with better performances in terms of efficiency, photostability and control of the light transparency.

MIaSkin (Mussel-inspired membranes as artificial skin) will apply materials inspired by mussels, which are able to strongly adhere to rocks in water environments, to skin regeneration. In particular, the researchers will use catechol-based membranes, which they have already validated in preclinical studies for cartilage regeneration, showing their high biocompatibility, bio-adhesion and great potential for hosting and transferring cells to damaged tissue. With MIaSkin, the applicability of these membranes to skin regeneration will be validated via preclinical studies, the readiness level of the technology will be increased, and the foundations will be laid for the creation of a spin-off company.

PROXIM (A Multiplexed Plasmonic Biosensor for Rapid Infection Diagnosis at the Point of Care) aims to achieve a stand-alone plasmonic biosensing device with multiplexed capabilities for the rapid detection and discrimination of respiratory viruses (influenza, coronavirus, and respiratory syncytial virus-RSV) in complex fluids (i.e. nasopharyngeal samples and saliva). This device will be designed to be used at the point-of-care –such as, hospitals, primary care centres, clinical laboratories, and pharmacies— with minimal user training.  

The TransWIN project is financed by the grant 2021 PROD 00190 under the framework of Producte programme; the MIaSkin project is financed by the grant 2021 INNOV 00049 under the framework of Innovadors programme; the PROXIm project is financed by the grant 2021 PROD 00191 under the framework of Producte programme; with the support of the Departament de Recerca i Universitats from the Generalitat de Catalunya.