The course

Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA-UAB)

From 29th January to 1st October 2022

The Earth Sciences course from the Mad for Science programme of the Catalunya La Pedrera Foundation is a course developed by the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA-UAB) aimed at 1st year A-Level students with a scientific vocation. This course was created with the idea of introducing the multidisciplinary environment offered by environmental sciences and sustainability, where different disciplines come together to solve problems related to the environment, waste, socioeconomy, sustainability, biodiversity and climate change. The main objective of this course is to foster scientific vocations and promote the knowledge and education of excellence of young people in Catalonia.

Registration for the Mad for science course: Earth Sciences will be open from 15th September to 5th November 2021 and among all those enrolled 25 students will be selected from the 1st year of A-Levels who will participate in the 3rd edition of the course within the 10th edition of Mad for science programme that will take place in 2022.

The course is taught over different Saturdays from 29th January 2022 to 1st October 2022 at the facilities of the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA-UAB).

During 16 theoretical and practical sessions students find out closely about research in major areas applied in environmental science and technology such as sustainability, climate change, resource use, recycling, biodiversity, environmental cooperation and behaviour and ecology, among others. In addition, they will be able to see processes such as photosynthesis, learn about the bioindicative role of macroinvertebrates, shore vegetation and aquatic mammals, how an urban vegetable garden grows, composting organic matter, and explore the role of local communities in the study of climate change.

The course will cover the following areas:

  • Sustainability
  • Biodiversity
  • Experimental economics and cooperation in climate change
  • Circular economics
  • Fires and climate
  • Waste
  • Urban agriculture
  • Recovery of metals like gold from mobile phones
  • Public science and perception of climate change
  • Photosynthesis
Specific objectives

Academic studies

Fostering among young people the scientific vocations linked to the world of environmental science and technology and sustainability, helping to guide their academic and professional future. 
Providing the opportunity for A-Level Research Projects to be tutored by a leading research centre.

Research

Bringing students closer to Earth sciences research.
Understand the operation of research centres linked to environmental science and sustainability.

Academia

Working in a multidisciplinary environment with teachers and researchers with different basic training, in social sciences, earth sciences or technology.

Science

Examining different scientific fields with the help of researchers from the ICTA-UAB research groups and the Department of Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering of the UAB:

Ecological Economy ECONECOL
Conservation, Biodiversity and Global Change
Sustainability and Environmental Protection SOSTENIPRA
Dynamics of natural systems and the anthropic impacts ImpactANT
Laboratory for the Analysis of Social-Ecological Systems in a Globalised world LASEG
GICOM composting research group

Sessions

Session 1. Introduction to Crazy about Earth Sciences and Environmental Science and Technology Research at the UAB

Day: Saturday 18 January

Opening hours: 10 am to 2 pm

Location: ICTA-ICP building, Carrer de les Columnes s/n, Campus de la UAB, Bellaterra, Barcelona

Session coordination: Xavier Gabarrell, director of the ICTA-UAB

Session given by: Xavier Gabarrell and management team

Language: Catalan and Spanish

This session introduces the course, its sessions and its teaching staff. We present the UAB campus, its commitment to sustainability, as well as the different ICTA-UAB research groups. We also give an introduction to environmental research carried out by the university departments. Last but not least, we explain the scientific and academic environment and the future of science in our society.
 

Session 3. The role of ecodesign in the circular economy

Day: Saturday 15 February

Opening hours: 10 am to 2 pm

Location: ICTA-ICP building, Carrer de les Columnes s/n, Campus de la UAB, Bellaterra, Barcelona

Session coordination: Laura Talens

Session given by: Laura Talens and Hanna Fux

Language: Catalan and Spanish

This module highlights the importance of the resources and the materials in electrical and electronic apparatuses, and of how applying principles of circular economy we can promote the recovery of materials. The circular economy seeks to change the life cycles of current products, based on linear systems, to a system that optimises resources at each stage of the product life cycle. Among the principles of circular economy are the reduction in the use of materials, the durability of the product, the ecodesign that includes the design to facilitate disassembly and facilitate maintenance and repair, the creation and improvement of the network collection systems and systems for the repair of products, among others.

In Session 3, we do an introduction to how ecodesign can favour the circular economy. We use a case study on hard drives and cell phones to reflect the concepts listed above. During the session, participants disassemble a sample of these devices, and design aspects are jointly analysed. The difficulty of separating parts containing valuable materials, and their economical cost are analysed together. The session ends with a discussion of strategies that may favour the design of the devices analysed.

The workshop aims to bring the concept of circular economics and ecodesign into everyday objects in a practical way.
 

Session 5.Electronic waste as a source of resources: the case of hard drives and mobile phones

Day: Saturday 14 March

Opening hours: 10 am to 2 pm

Location: ICTA-ICP building, Carrer de les Columnes s/n, Campus de la UAB, Bellaterra, Barcelona

Session coordination: Laura Talens

Session given by: Laura Talens and Xavier Gabarrell

Language: Catalan and Spanish

In this session we continue the work started in session 3 of the same module where we highlight the importance of the resources and materials in electrical and electronic devices, and of how by applying principles of circular economy we can promote the recovery of these materials. 

In session 5, the materials that contain the devices that were disassembled in session 3 are explained, where we find them in the periodic table of the elements, the provenance of some of the materials and their environmental impact, who by and where they are produced, and how they are currently recovered. In this session we give an introduction to the DoSE database, and show how it can be used to model printed circuit boards of electrical and electronic devices so that we can more fully analyse the environmental impact of electrical and electronic products. During the session we analyse valuable materials, and their economic value together. The session ends with a discussion on the economic cost of dismantling (session 3) and the economic value of the parts (session 5) in order to delve into the viability of recovering materials.

The workshop seeks to approximate in a practical way the relevance of materials in new technologies.

  • Dismantling and data collection
  • Introduction to DoSE-LCADB and material estimation.
Session 8. Light, air and water (II)

Day: Saturday 25 April

Opening hours: 10 am to 2 pm

Location: ICTA-ICP building, Carrer de les Columnes s/n, Campus de la UAB, Bellaterra, Barcelona

Session coordination: Josep-Anton Morguí, Roger Curcoll and Carme Estruch

Session given by: Josep-Anton Morguí, Roger Curcoll and Carme Estruch

Language: Catalan

In this section students work on the transport of substances by air and water with respect to photosynthesis and respiration in ecosystems. They assemble simplified physical scale models of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems (soils, vegetation, sediments, lakes) to study gas exchange (water vapour, greenhouse gases, reactive gases). They measure the interactions between the environment and the activity of organisms through the quantification of the CO2 emitted.
 

Session 6 - Why is urban agriculture important? (I)

Day: Saturday 28 March

Opening hours: 10 am to 2 pm

Location: ICTA-ICP building, Carrer de les Columnes s/n, Campus de la UAB, Bellaterra, Barcelona and UAB experimental fields

Session coordination: Dr. Gara Villalba and doctoral students Veronica Arcas and Susana Toboso

Session given by: Dr. Gara Villalba and doctoral students Veronica Arcas and Susana Toboso

Language: Catalan

We will learn how urban agriculture promotes more optimised use of resources in cities, making them more sustainable and self-sufficient. We work in the greenhouses of the ICTA building, preparing substrates and planting vegetables, determining the water and nutrients needed.

We plant a seedling that will be followed over the 3 sessions. Each participant is in charge of 4 different plants; we experiment with different substrates and working conditions and irrigation. Each participant will have to design their own system.

Session 10. Biodiversity: Long live the River!

Day: Saturday 23 May

Opening hours: 10 am to 2 pm

Location: Riera de Cànoves - To be confirmed

Session coordination: Dr. Roser Maneja and Dr. Sònia Sànchez-Mateo

Session given by: Dr. Sònia Sànchez-Mateo, Toni Mas and Quim Zaldo

Language: Catalan

We find out what the bioindicative role of macroinvertebrates, shore vegetation and aquatic mammals is by assessing the ecological status of river courses, using the methodologies used in the Tordera and Besòs Observatory project.

 

Session 7. Why is urban agriculture important? (II) and organic waste

Day: Saturday 17 April

Opening hours: 10 am to 2 pm

Location: ICTA-ICP building, Carrer de les Columnes s/n, Campus de la UAB, Bellaterra and UAB experimental fields

Session coordination: Dr. Gara Villalba and Esther Molina Peñate

Session given by: Dr. Gara Villalba and doctoral students Veronica Arcas and Susana Toboso; Esther Molina Peñate and Laura Mejias Torrent

Language: Catalan

We will learn how urban agriculture promotes more optimised use of resources in cities, making them more sustainable and self-sufficient. We work in the greenhouses of the ICTA building, preparing substrates and planting vegetables, determining the water and nutrients needed.

We plant a seedling that will be followed over the 3 sessions. Each participant is in charge of 4 different plants; we experiment with different substrates and working conditions and irrigation. Each participant will have to design their own system.
 

Session 2. Experimental Economics and Climate Change Cooperation (I)

Day: Saturday 1 February

Opening hours: 10 am to 2 pm

Location: ICTA-ICP building, Carrer de les Columnes s/n, Campus de la UAB, Bellaterra, Barcelona

Session coordination: Juana Castro and Filippos Exadaktylos

Session given by: Juana Castro and Filippos Exadaktylos

Language: Spanish or English

Students will shortly be Introduced to the Experimental Economics (EE): we study human behaviour, altruism, reciprocity and cooperation. Students then will then participate in a classical economic game to get familiarised with the methodology of EE and then in the more climate change related “Common pool resource Game” played in groups of four. Based on the results of this game, insights will be drawn regarding the Tragedy of the Commons and the importance of cooperation among people for Climate Change. Discussion will follow with students.

Session 13. LICCI Project: Effects of climate change, from a global to a local scale

Day: Saturday 3 October

Opening hours: 10 am to 2 pm

Location: ICTA-ICP building, Carrer de les Columnes s/n, Campus de la UAB, Bellaterra, Barcelona

Session coordination: Anna Porcuna-Ferrer

Session given by: Anna Porcuna-Ferrer and Victoria Reyes-García

Language: Catalan, Spanish and English

Scientists have spent years researching the effects of climate change. Based on these studies, we know that the alterations taking place on a global and local scale are many and varied. During the workshop we will discuss what we know about the effects of climate change on biophysical systems, and what have been the main scientific methods that have allowed us to gain this knowledge. We will also ask, "Do we have to be a scientist to perceive that the climate is changing?" We answer this question by exploring how people around the world perceive climate change and its effects. Finally we will discuss: "And what can we do about it?"

This session is organised in the context of the research project "LICCI - local indicators of the impacts of climate change", an international project that aims to bring local knowledge to climate change research. You can find more information about the project at the following link: https://licci.eu/(link is external)

The session is designed to help students work and critically get acquainted with different media (news, web search, scientific articles, documentary videos, etc.). Through the project's citizen science platform (link is external), each student group will work with a particular climate zone and a particular population, ethnicity or indigenous group. The session presents different dynamics to reconstruct and understand how climate change affects both the biophysical environment and the way of life of the people who live in it. Activities will also be held to reflect on our relationship with climate change: how we perceive and contribute to climate change.

Session 14. Experimental Economics and Climate Change Cooperation (II)

Day: Saturday 10 October

Opening hours: 10 am to 2 pm

Location: ICTA-ICP building, Carrer de les Columnes s/n, Campus de la UAB, Bellaterra, Barcelona

Session coordination: Juana Castro and Filippos Exadaktylos

Session given by: Juana Castro and Filippos Exadaktylos

Language: Spanish or English

Students will shortly be Introduced to the Experimental Economics (EE): we study human behaviour, altruism, reciprocity and cooperation. Students then will then participate in a classical economic game to get familiarised with the methodology of EE and then in the more climate change related “Common pool resource Game” played in groups of four. Based on the results of this game, insights will be drawn regarding the Tragedy of the Commons and the importance of cooperation among people for Climate Change. Discussion will follow with students and results will be compared with the second session.

Session 15. Introduction to scientific communication

Day: Saturday 17 October

Opening hours: 10 am to 2 pm

Location: ICTA-ICP building, Carrer de les Columnes s/n, Campus de la UAB, Bellaterra, Barcelona

Session coordination: Isabel Lopera

Session given by: Isabel Lopera

Language: Catalan and Spanish

W introduce the main methodologies for scientific communication and the dissemination of science. How to write a scientific article, and how to prepare your presentation for the next session

Sessió 12 - Per definir

Dia: Dissabte 17 de setembre

Horari: 10h a 13.30h

Lloc: Edifici ICTA-ICP, Carrer de les Columnes s/n, Campus de la UAB, Bellaterra, Barcelona

Coordinació de la sessió: Mª Rosa Rovira

Sessió a càrrec de: Per definir

Idioma: Per definir

Session 16. Closing ceremony and presentations performed by the participants

Day: Saturday 24 October

Opening hours: 10 am to 2 pm

Location: ICTA-ICP building, Carrer de les Columnes s/n, Campus de la UAB, Bellaterra, Barcelona

Session coordination: Xavier Gabarrell, director of the ICTA-UAB

Session given by: Xavier Gabarrell  and course participants

Language: Spanish and Catalan

Presentation of the work done by the participants on the course during the class. Each student presents one of the sessions, where we show the goals and main results obtained in that session by the whole group.

Schedule
Schedule
Saturday 18 January
ICTA-ICP building, Carrer de les Columnes s/n, Campus de la UAB
Theoretical-practical session
Introduction to Crazy about Earth Sciences and Environmental Science and Technology Research at the UAB
Saturday 15 February
ICTA-ICP building, Carrer de les Columnes s/n, Campus de la UAB
Theoretical-practical session
The role of ecodesign in the circular economy
Saturday 14 March
ICTA-ICP building, Carrer de les Columnes s/n, Campus de la UAB
Theoretical-practical session
Electronic waste as a source of resources: the case of hard drives and mobile phones
Saturday 25 April
ICTA-ICP building, Carrer de les Columnes s/n, Campus de la UAB
Theoretical-practical session
Light, air and water (II)
Saturday 28 March
28 March ICTA-ICP building, Carrer de les Columnes s/n, UAB Campus, UAB experimental fields
Theoretical-practical session
Why is urban agriculture important? (I)
Saturday 23 May
Riera de Cànoves - To be confirmed
Theoretical-practical session
Biodiversity: Long live the River!
Saturday 18 April
ICTA-ICP building, Carrer de les Columnes s/n, UAB Campus, UAB experimental fields
Theoretical-practical session
Why is urban agriculture important? (II) and organic waste
1 February from 10 am to 2 pm
ICTA-ICP building, Carrer de les Columnes s/n, Campus de la UAB
Theoretical-practical session
Experimental Economics and Climate Change Cooperation (I)
Saturday 3 October
ICTA-ICP building, Carrer de les Columnes s/n, Campus de la UAB
Theoretical-practical session
LICCI project: Effects of climate change, from a global to a local scale
Saturday 9 May
ICTA-ICP building, Carrer de les Columnes s/n, Campus de la UAB
Theoretical-practical session
Treatment and recovery of organic waste
Saturday 6 June
ICTA-ICP building, Carrer de les Columnes s/n, UAB Campus, UAB experimental fields
Theoretical-practical session
Why is urban agriculture important? (III)
Saturday 13 June
ICTA-ICP building, Carrer de les Columnes s/n, Campus de la UAB
Theoretical-practical session
PYROWIND project: Study of the impact of fires on the global climate
Dissabte 1 d'octubre
Edifici ICTA-ICP, Carrer de les Columnes s/n, Campus de la UAB
Acte de cloenda i presentacions
Acte de cloenda i lliurament de diplomes. De 10h a 13.30h