From left to right are Rickard Emanuel Anders Nilsson, Zizilia Zamudio Beltrán and Régulo Luis Olivares García. Photographs provided by the awarded research staff and extracted from the presentation videos.

The jury of the 2023 call of the research pitches contest of the Compostela Group of Universities honours the video presentations of three candidates from the universities of Karlstad, La Salle Mexico and Jaume I.

The members of the jury of the VII Research Pitches Contest of the Compostela Group of Universities decided to award the first prize to the researcher from Karlstad University Rickard Emanuel Anders Nilsson. In his Intra-language variability of path framing and manner encoding, the PhD student from the English Linguistics programme at the Swedish university presents his work in the field of semantic typology, specifically his exploration of the “intra-language variability of motion framing in three different languages: English, Spanish and Swedish”. “By examining how different languages express motion, I hope to shed light on how language shapes our perception of the world around us, and how this may influence our cognitive and behavioural patterns”, he explains in his motivation letter.

When assessing his presentation, the evaluation body emphasised “the clarity in the exposition of the research topic, the pace and the pedagogy of his presentation”. They also considered that, although not entirely new, “the concept of the influence of a language on the functioning of the brain is relevant to society”.

The second prize in the competition went to Zizilia Zamudio Beltrán, a member of the research group in Assistive and Collaborative Robotics at La Salle University Mexico. In her video presentation DORI: Development of Intelligent Robotic Orthosis to improve movement in children with Multiple Congenital Arthrogryposis, Zamudio Beltrán explains that “multiple congenital arthrogryposis causes severe limitations in the movement, dependence and quality of life of those who suffer from it”. Her group is working on the “design and construction of an intelligent robotic orthosis, which will allow patients to perform daily activities”.

In their observations, the academic staff on the jury highlighted that it is an “interdisciplinary project with a clear aim of helping children”. They also valued its impact on the “inclusion and mobility” of these paediatric patients, as well as on the quality of life of society in general.

Regarding the third prize, it was awarded to the pitch Can physical exercise modulate the dopaminergic system and protect about motivational-like depressive symptoms? by the PhD student from the Psychology programme at the Jaume I University Régulo Luis Olivares García. In his motivation letter, Olivares García states that in his thesis he seeks to evaluate “how different types of physical exercise” can contribute to the treatment of “motivational-like depressive symptoms”. He also points to its importance “to understand the neural basis of the depressive brain”, with a focus on the design of “more effective treatments that help to improve the quality of life” of people with depression.

On his presentation, the jury noted its “clearly convincing” presentation of a project focusing “on the role of complementary activities to pharmacological therapy in the treatment of depression”. They also took into account its importance “both from a health and sustainability point of view”.