ESCI-UPF Research

UPF Planetary Wellbeing Research Assistantships

Research Assistantships
ESCI-UPF students. / Photo: ESCI-UPF

Mercè Roca, ESCI-UPF researcher, academic coordinator and academic director of MScIB, writes about the proposals offered to 4th course students for being a research assistant on two sustainability projects.

UPF’s commitment to tackling the current environmental emergency is laid out in the Planetary Wellbeing initiative and the UPF Climate Emergency Declaration. The Planetary Wellbeing initiative encompasses actions towards the creation and transfer of new multi-, inter- and cross-disciplinary knowledge to guide the implementation of wise policies and decisive actions towards sustainability.

Aligned with this initiative, ESCI-UPF is launching a Postgraduate Course in Sustainability Transition Management and Climate Emergency in January 2022, and is developing a second Postgraduate course and a Master of Science in Sustainability Management, jointly offered with the UPF BSM. Moreover, the research groups of ESCI-UPF are actively contributing to the generation of knowledge in the domain of sustainability.

In this context, researchers of the UNESCO Chair in Life Cycle and Climate Change and the Research in International Studies and Economics (RISE) group, have obtained funding to take part in several of the research projects of this year’s UPF Planetary Wellbeing research call. As has been the case with previous research projects undertaken at ESCI-UPF, 2 paid research assistantships have been published for 4th-year GNMI students to take part in two of these projects:

1. The project “Recycling for Planetary Wellbeing” aimed at analysing the changes that the COVID-19 pandemic has induced in Catalan households’ waste generation and recycling behaviour and its derived environmental impacts. From one side, it aims to generate knowledge regarding the changes experienced and to identify those sociodemographic and psychographic factors that have affected them. From the other, to translate the experienced changes into environmental indicators, applying a life-cycle perspective, to assess the effects of COVID-19 on climate change. The ultimate aim of the project is to generate knowledge that contributes to the urgent need to mitigate the environmental impacts of waste, with the objective to enhance Planetary Wellbeing.

Research Team: Dr. Jaume Garcia Villar (UPF), Dr. Jesica de Armas (UPF), Mohammad Ghaderi (UPF), Dr. Mercè Roca (RISE ESCI-UPF), Dr. Alba Bala (UNESCO CHAIR ESCI-UPF), Dr. Pere Fullana-i-Palmer (UNESCO CHAIR ESCI-UPF).

2. The project “Food Sustainability Education (FSE) in Catalan Schools” aimed to contribute to the integration of Food Sustainability Education (FSE) in primary and secondary Catalan schools by analyzing the present situation, identifying gaps and priorities, and developing teaching materials that promote this integration. The objective is to raise awareness and enhance critical thinking within educational institutions and agents as a trigger of the urgent required social change towards sustainable food systems and consumption habits.

Research Team: Dr. Sergi Jimenez (UPF), Dr. Antonio Ladrón de Guevara (UPF), Dr. Mercè Roca (RISE ESCI-UPF), Laura Batlle-Bayer (UNESCO CHAIR ESCI-UPF),  Dr. Pere Fullana-i-Palmer (UNESCO CHAIR ESCI-UPF), and Dr. Christian Reynolds (City University of London) as the projects’ international advisor.

The research assistantships imply that students will participate in the activities of the UPF Planetary Wellbeing Project under the guidance and supervision of the corresponding research teams. Paid assistantships cover for a dedication of 10 hours/week of work at 200€ per month, during 9 months. Moreover, students are expected to combine their assistantship with developing a Final Degree Project on a related project.

Research assistantships and students’ collaboration with the ESCI-UPF research groups are a great opportunity, as they imply taking part in teams formed of highly reputed academicians and learning first-hand about the processes required to develop first-class academic research. In addition to the economic retribution that the assistantship implies, students acquire interdisciplinary skills, which they can accredit with a certificate of collaboration with ESCI-UPF research teams. Moreover, research assistants are encouraged and guided in their process to transform their own related research in academic publications.

The two most recent research projects where ESCI-UPF students have participated as research assistants are:

– “Computation of the Local Multiplier in Three Waves linked to the payment of subsidies in the complementary currency of Barcelona, ​​the REC”. Promoted by NOVACT within the European project B-MINCOME. Marta Segura (project coordinator), Jordi Puig, and Mercè Roca – research assistants Guillem Artigau and Paula Martínez. See the related project report.

– “Map of the internationalization of Catalan retail companies”. Promoted by the Consorci de Comerç, Artesania i Moda del Departament d’Empresa i Coneixement of the Generalitat de Catalunya. Mercè Roca, Pelayo Corella, Rosa Colomé, Marta Segura – research assistants Blanca Guillem Artigau, Mercè Capell, Blanca Fabian, Paula Martínez. See the research report.

To ask for further information on the current research assistantship offers, you can write to

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