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Agròpolis, a science and technology hub, was inaugurated yesterday in Viladecans (Barcelona), serving research groups from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC), companies and other external organizations.

This hub specializes in research and innovation in the fields of agrifood engineering, biotechnological engineering and landscape and environmental engineering, and aims to become a benchmark in research and transfer in these fields.

The new spaces, on a total of 9.14 hectares, were ceded by the Viladecans City Council and are a new mechanism through with the Parc UPC aims to facilitate the definition and development of technology-based projects, focusing on university/business collaborations oriented towards products and services that can later be marketed.

There are two greenhouses located on the Agròpolis land, conditioned for growing crops under special conditions. They have also build a warehouse with a mechanized agricultural laboratory, accredited to certify phytosanitary treatment equipment, including those for herbicides and fungicides, and a building with offices and multipurpose rooms. This laboratory led by Emilio Gil, professor in the UPC’s Department of Agrifood and Biotechnological Engineering, is devoted to research and knowledge transfer in mechanized agriculture and the certification of new commercial equipment and inspections.

Agròpolis is already working on the following research projects:

  • Plant protection: the group led by professor Xavier Sorribas, from the Department of Agrifood and Biotechnological Engineering, studies nematodes that live off plants and researches strategies to control them, particularly using natural enemies (biologic control) and techniques from ecological agriculture to avoid using nematocides.
  • Environmental engineering: Agròpolis will also judge to what extent saline levels in phreatic waters is affecting the growth of crops like wheat, and sunflowers. This research is led by professors Ramon Josa and Antoni Maria Claret from the Department of Agrifood and Biotechnological Engineering.

There is currently a call for proposals open for the spaces in the Agròpolis building and the mechanization warehouse, which will end on 22 October 2010. Proposals received so far have encompassed space in the research building and the machinery warehouse, as well as exterior spaces.

The total amount invested in this facility, driven by the UPC’s Agriculture School, is 4 million euros, received from the Ministry of Science and Innovation, the Viladecans City Council, the Catalan Government and the UPC.


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