Why do environmentalists eat meat?

A study by researchers at the ICTA-UAB analyses the reasons why environmentally-minded scientists find it difficult to give up meat consumption, one of the world's greatest environmental problems.

La gestión del verde urbano permite incrementar la presencia de pájaros en las ciudades

Incrementar la biodiversidad del verde urbano permitiría aumentar la presencia de aves paseriformes en las ciudades mediterráneas, según un estudio científico realizado por investigadores del Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnología Ambientales de la Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) que analiza qué estrategias hay que implementar sobre la vegetación urbana para conseguir "naturalizar" las ciudades favoreciendo la entrada de flora y fauna.

The Ebro River annually dumps 2.2 billion microplastics into the sea

An ICTA-UAB study analyses the distribution and accumulation of microplastics from one of the main rivers of the western Mediterranean.

European project to support rooftop greenhouses projects

The Institute of Environmental Science and Technology from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) is launching an open call to support rooftop greenhouse projects, in the framework of GROOF Project.

El ICTA-UAB participa en el proyecto que habilitará 10 escuelas de Barcelona como refugios climáticos

El Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnología Ambientales de la Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) es una de las instituciones impulsoras de un proyecto que habilitará 10 escuelas de Barcelona como refugios climáticos para disminuir el impacto de las altas temperaturas del verano.

A warmer ocean will lead to 17% reduction in global marine animal biomass, by the end of the century

Climate change will affect the distribution and abundance of marine life, but the full extent of these changes under future warming has been difficult to predict due to the limitations of individual ecosystem models used for such forecasts.

New study dismisses green growth policies as a route out of ecological emergency

Researchers from ICTA-UAB and the Goldsmiths University of London suggest that emissions reduction is only compatible with a lower economical degrowth or a degrowth scenario.

New cross-boundary approach for addressing wicked weed problems

Weed species continue to spread and management costs continue to mount, in spite of best management practices and efforts by research and extension personnel who promote them to land managers.

Urban green spaces do not benefit the health of all

In general, the creation of parks and green spaces in urban centers has positive effects on the health of city residents.

ICTA-UAB researcher Antoni Rosell-Melé receives an ERC Advanced Grant

ICTA-UAB researcher Antoni Rosell-Melé has been awarded an Advanced Grant (AdvGr) from the European Research Council (ERC) to develop the project "New geochemical approach to reconstruct tropical palaeo-atmospheric dynamics" (PALADYN).

Urban Agriculture on Rooftops Provides Healthy, Fresh and Sustainable Food

​The implementation of urban gardens on building rooftops could produce fresh, healthy and sustainable agricultural food and guarantee the food sovereignty of cities, which are becoming increasingly populated.

Indigenous knowledge, key to a successful ecosystem restoration

Ecological restoration projects actively involving indigenous peoples and local communities are more successful. This is the result of a study carried out by the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB).

Future changes in human well-being more likely to depend on Social Factors than Economic Factors

The changes in the perception of personal well-being that could take place in the next three decades, on a global level, depend much more on social factors than on economic ones.

Success at ICTA-UAB: Six ERC Grants In Three Years

The Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) has been awarded six European Research Council (ERC) grants in three years, from the end of 2015 to the end of 2018. Each project (of between 1.5 and 2 million euros) lasts for five years and allows the recruitment of a team of six or seven doctoral students and postdocs.
News
ICTA-UAB researcher Gara Villalba receives an ERC Consolidator Grant

Date: 2018-12-12

 

The European Research Council (ERC) announced the recipients of its Consolidator Grant competition: 291 top scientists across Europe. Funding for these researchers, part of the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, is worth in total €573 million and will give them a chance to build up their teams and have far-reaching impact. 

The ICTA-UAB researcher Gara Villalba has been graced with a Consolidator Grant for the project “Integrated System Analysis of Urban Vegetation and Agriculture” (URBAG). This ERC will launch the research lab “Integrated Metabolic and Atmospheric Research for Urban Sustainability”, formed by 3 postdocs, 3 PhDs and 1 technician.

Nowadays, many cities are implementing green infrastructures despite having little quantitative and comprehensive knowledge as to which infrastructure strategies are more effective in promoting food production, air quality and temperature while reducing environmental impact.

This research aims to find out how urban green infrastructures can be most efficient in contributing to urban sustainability, in order to improve the way cities function, in support to their inhabitants’ quality of life and their environments.  This will evaluate which combinations of urban, peri-urban agriculture and green spaces result in the best performance in terms of local and global environmental impact.

For this purpose, Gara Villalba will use novel and comprehensive analysis that will integrate the life cycle impacts of the resources required for green infrastructures with the understanding of how green infrastructures impact the urban atmosphere interaction. This comprehensive approach allows to capture the urban metabolism to optimize the food-energy-water nexus. In previous works, the impacts had been only studied individually. 

The analysis will consist of a geo-referenced land-use model to optimize urban and peri-urban food production in terms of nutrients, water, and energy, considering urban morphology and determining life cycle impacts and a spatially-temporally resolved framework for quantitative analysis and simulation of green infrastructures to determine the direct and indirect effects on the urban and regional atmosphere.

The research will be implemented in two selected cities with different profiles, Barcelona and Oslo.  The study ambitions to gather substantial quantitative evidence in green infrastructures and sustainability, contributing to cover the existing gap in previous works. 

This project and the envisaged “Green infrastructures - A Guide for city planners and policy makers” are timely and urgent. This intended Guide will contain evidence-based guidance and tools to create green infrastructure strategies, to help to meet sustainability targets and promote wider and diffused social benefits.

The overall goal is a social one: to improve the way cities function, in support to their inhabitants’ quality of life and their environments. Specifically, the proposed research project examines how and to what extent urban green infrastructures can be a source of sustainable food, reduce environmental impacts, and promote a more efficient use of resources. Among the disciplines used in this study are Environmental science and technology, agronomy and engineering, urban planning, policy and science. Atmospheric science, carbon science and life cycle modelling are also sub-disciplines involved in this research.

Gara Villalba is associate professor of the Department of Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering of the Autonomous University of Barcelona.  Her bachelor’s degree is from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1998), and her PhD from the University of Barcelona (2003), both in chemical engineering. She dedicates her research to the study and optimization of resource metabolism, a broad multidisciplinary area where she applies her chemical engineering skills to industrial ecology methods such as Material Flow Analysis and Life Cycle Analysis. The applications of this systems-focused research are diverse and multidisciplinary, such as assessing the sustainability of new technologies that make use of non-renewable and scarce metals; quantifying the material, energy and water consumption at urban scale to establish baseline GHG emission accounting protocols; waste-to-energy optimization and evaluation for improved municipal solid waste management.

The ERC Consolidator Grants are awarded to outstanding researchers of any nationality and age, with at least seven and up to twelve years of experience after PhD, and a scientific track record showing great promise. Research must be conducted in a public or private research organisation located in one of the EU Member States or Associated Countries. The funding (average of €2 million per grant), is provided for up to five years and mostly covers the employment of researchers and other staff to consolidate the grantees' teams.

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