Interview: Javier Uranga and Carla Sala


Each month we are going to be highlighting one of the PhD’s of the project so their work can be showcased. November begins as a different month and to keep things out of the ordinary, we continue with a double interview, with Javier Uranga and Carla Sala, from Zabala Innovation

Good morning, tell us a little bit about yourself. 

Hi, I am Javier Uranga. I was born in 1991 in Pamplona, a small city in north of Spain known worldwide for its fiesta, San Fermín. I studied Biomedical Engineering in San Sebastian at TECNUN (University of Navarra, Spain) with a 6-month exchange at University of New South Wales (Australia). I also obtained a master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Heidelberg. In my working life I have worked for 4 years in an engineering company with which I carried out several R&D projects together with a medical research centre (CIMA). Aprox. two and a half years ago (Feb 2020 pre-COVID crisis) I joined Zabala, where I work as an innovation consultant in European projects, mainly focused on the area of entrepreneurship and project exploitation. In my spare time I like to ski, travel, and play padel. Within the BOW project I oversee organising and coordinating the exploitation activities.  

And I am Carla Sala, I was born in 1996 in Barcelona. I studied Journalism in the University of Navarra in Pamplona (Spain), and I am about to finish my master’s degree in Ancient Mediterranean History, Eastern and Western Civilizations at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (Spain). I have worked as a journalist in newspapers and radio, and I have now been working as a Communication and Dissemination Manager for European Projects for 4 years and a half in Zabala. In my limited spare time, I play videogames, watch tv shows to afterwards comment on them, read a lot of books, write things, I do archery and enjoy podcasting. Within BOW project I am the Communication and Dissemination Manager.  

What is exploitation of results and how do you communicate and disseminate the project? 

Communication and dissemination are tasks that begins the first day of the projects and continue when the project is done. Communication covers the information of the whole project, and its aim is to inform and engage with the society to show how the project can benefit them. And dissemination is focused on the results and the main aim is to enable them to the specific audiences specialized in the matter at hand. In Dissemination and Communication, we analyse the whole project and its outcomes and try to create the maximum impact working with all the involved parties. 

With the exploitation activities what we look for is that all the results that arise from the BOW project are not kept in a drawer but are used after the end of the project boosting the project impact. We work with project partners to identify main project results, also called Key Exploitable Results, and we analyse their origin to establish the results ownership, Intellectual Property Registration (IPR) strategy and define the exploitation roadmap to reach the expected objectives/impacts.  

In which results are you working on now? 

BOW is multidisciplinary project and as you can see in the different interviews with our technical colleagues from BOW there are lots of different and complementary new results that are arising, among others we are working on the functionalisation of Extracellular Vesicles, a platform to produce biological-synthetic hybrid materials or models and procedures to produce and characterised the hybrids materials or different types of Extracellular Vesicles from different sources. We are working with the partners to define and detail the different results and their characteristics, identifying main stakeholders that could be affected or involved in their exploitation roadmap to assess and select the results with higher potential in terms of societal, economic, and environmental impact and try to communicate and disseminate them in the best possible way.  

How can the exploitation, dissemination and communication can contribute to the project impacts? 

Exploitation together with the communication and dissemination activities are fundamental for achieving the expected societal and economic impacts of BOW (the environmental impact is lower in this project). Our objective is to make researchers think not only on the development of the new technologies but also to link them with the societal and economic needs, otherwise if these needs are not considered the impact will be reduced, even if the technology developed is the best. The envisioned impact of BOW results is huge, as it is expected that the new hybrid materials could be used in a high number of different applications, from targeted drug delivery with higher properties for the treatment of different diseases. However, to reach these impacts, it is important to define a complete roadmap, checking with the market and stakeholder since the origin of the technology their feasibility, viability, and potential market entry, as well as involving all the stakeholders and specific audiences to the outcomes of the project. This is done thanks to the activities we do in WP6.  

Is there someone you want to acknowledge? 

We would like to acknowledge our team leader and colleagues from Zabala and all the members of the consortium, especially to Paolo and Antonella, without whom this project would not be possible.