The Outstanding Doctorate Awards for 2013-2014 combine scientific speculation with practical research carried out at a technology centre
The Doctoral Program at Tecnun is an interdepartmental program that is made up of the departments of Materials, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical, Electronic and Control Engineering, Industrial Management, and Basic Sciences, the last of which also coordinates the Program. Given this wide variety of knowledge areas, the Doctoral Program provides PhD students with the opportunity to work on multidisciplinary specializations.
This year, three doctoral theses have been recognized for their outstanding work: Ander Muniategui, in Biomedical Engineering; Jon Pey and Nerea Isasti, in Applied Engineering; and Jorge Garagorri, in Industrial Engineering.
According to Dr. Enrique Castaño, coordinator of the Program, “the number, quality, and impact of the articles published in high prestige journals are noteworthy, as is the international dimension of many of the projects”.
Castaño affirms that, “for the most part, research is carried out in collaboration with CEIT-IK4. This means that, scientific speculation, which is necessary in a university institution, is complemented with the practical focus of a technology centre that works in close collaboration with industry”.
This collaboration and the resulting synergy allow the Program to embody and fulfil a concept of applied research that recognizes the necessity of creating multidisciplinary teams that are able to tackle research projects that have significant scope in areas of new technology.
Nerea Isasti did her doctoral work in the extensive field of metallurgy, where she “work[ed] on the optimization of steel alloys, motivated by the demanding requirements of the market”.
After years of study and working with researchers in the Thermomechanical Treatment Group at CEIT-IK4, Isasti is pleased that “a remarkable aspect of my thesis is that the results can solve real problems that that currently affect the metallurgy industry. I would not have received this award without the support of the Thermomechanical Treatments Group and Pello Uranga, the director of my thesis”.
Jon Pey’s thesis developed mathematical tools for modelling human metabolism. “Given my background, one of the challenges of doing this thesis was having to learn the biology that I needed to tackle and fully understand the medical and biotechnological problems that we faced.”
Pey is pleased, surprised and very thankful for this award since it is “a wonderful way to conclude these years of effort. Without a doubt, this was made possible thanks to the Bioinformatics Group led by Francisco J. Plans and Ángel Rubio”.
Ander Muniategui echoed Jon Pey’s gratitude by stressing that “everything went very well thanks to the willingness and availability of my thesis directors, with special thanks to Ángel Rubio”.
Muniategui, who came from the field of materials, notes that “we worked very hard, as I had to start from zero in an area that was completely new for me. Having gone through the Master's degree in Biomedical Engineering at Tecnun helped me a great deal.”
All agree that the effort they made was worthwhile, both in terms of the award and the PhD degree itself.