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Why take a doctoral degree at the UPC

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Because of Excellence

The UPC is listed in the main international rankings as one of the top technological and research universities in southern Europe and is among the world's 40 best young universities.

Its main asset: people

Satisfaction with the work of the thesis supervisor is highlighted by 7 out of 10 UPC doctoral students. Support and availability get the best ratings.


More than half of the students of the UPC’s Doctoral School are international and a third obtain the International Doctorate mention.


Graduate employment of a high quality

Almost all UPC doctoral degree holders are successful in finding employment, mostly in jobs related to their degree.

The best industrial doctorate

The UPC offers the most industrial doctoral programmes in Catalonia (a third) with a hundred companies involved.

The industrial setting

The UPC’s location in an especially creative and innovative industrial and technological ecosystem is an added value for UPC doctoral students.

Theses for defense agenda

Reading date: 01/11/2020
  • AGULLO GALILEA, DAVID: Gaudí i els jardins de l¿antic «manicomi de Sant Boi de Llobregat»
    Thesis file: (contact the Doctoral School to confirm you have a valid doctoral degree and to get the link to the thesis)
    Department: (THATC)
    Mode: Normal
    Deposit date: 01/10/2020
    Reading date: pending
    Reading time: pending
    Reading place: pending
    Thesis director: LAHUERTA ALSINA, JUAN JOSE
    Thesis abstract: Created between 1903 and 1912 by an anonymous architect, the Modernist constructions in the gardens of the former Mental Hospital in Sant Boi de Llobregat, Barcelona, allude to, anticipate or are contemporaries of works by Antoni Gaudí. For example, the serpentine bench in Park Güell (1909-1913), Casa Milà (1906-1912), the crypt at the Güell Colony (1908-1914) and the model for the ceilings in the Sagrada Familia (1915-1921).The building of the sanatorium in Sant Boi de Llobregat ¿with somewhat careless and rudimentary construction because the labour was provided by the mental hospital¿s patients¿ presents architecture of great geometric complexity and contains an elaborate symbolic discourse that also hints at the participation of a first-class architect. This thesis therefore expounds that, given its characteristics, the construction of the former Sant Boi de Llobregat Mental Hospital would articulate as a first example, alongside the Güell Colony crypt, the great stylistic and conceptual change that led Antoni Gaudí to create his final architectonic works.Furthermore, the aim of the thesis is to create a broad exploratory field in the same period ¿ mid-nineteenth to early twentieth-century Catalonia¿ as the subject of the study, making inferences from its social, cultural, economic and religious context. Thus, the Modernist interventions at the former Sant Boi de Llobregat Mental Hospital could become an observatory and referential axis that allows us to ask more questions and formulate connections from a new perspective that generate new viewpoints and approaches to history.For all this to be possible, the study also examines the biographies of the different agents involved in the period contemporary to the construction of the Modernist site in Sant Boi de Llobregat, including key figures such as Jacint Verdaguer and Antoni Gaudí himself and analysing the ideological-artistic connection established between the pair. It must be noted that Catalan society in the second half of the nineteenth century, then governed by a liberal political system and a fully capitalist society, was undergoing a significant process of change and transformation towards modernity and contemporaneity. Among a significant part of the society, this process triggered a response and debate, largely related to Catholicism, which was completely against all these modifications. Gaudí and Verdaguer are the two paradigmatic figures in this debate and in the face of this `traumatic¿ experience of modernity they established a rich, complex ideological-artistic connection that would lead them to produce such singular, exceptional elements as the text entitled `Exorcisms¿ by Verdaguer and Antoni Gaudí¿s project for the Sagrada Família Temple.Consideration must also be given to the fact that the reading and interpretation that noucentism made of Gaudí¿s work situated it far from its profound and complex symbolic content and this thesis aims to explore a field directly related to the Catholic world and specifically to the text in the Book of Revelation, which could enrich and add a new dimension to the views held on and interpretation of Gaudí¿s architectonic works.
Reading date: 03/11/2020
  • RODRÍGUEZ RAUSIS, KWON BOK: Formation and Evolution of Carbonate Phases upon Accelerated Carbonation of Mg-Oxides and Silicates
    Thesis file: (contact the Doctoral School to confirm you have a valid doctoral degree and to get the link to the thesis)
    Department: (DECA)
    Mode: Normal
    Deposit date: 29/09/2020
    Reading date: 03/11/2020
    Reading time: 11:00
    Reading place: ETSECCPB: Defensa per videoconferència per COVID-19
    Thesis abstract: This work discloses new insights into the formation and evolution of Mg -carbonates as well as carbonation processes of Mg-rich oxides and silicates with the aim of providing a safe and permanent anthropogenic CO2 storage, helping to tackle the worst effects of climate change. Carbonation reactions were carried in a purpose -built steam-mediated carbonation systemat temperature and pressure ranges between 50-205ºC and 1 to 10 bar, respectively.A hydrated amorphous Mg-carbonate was identified upon carbonation of Mg-rich silicates and oxides at 50ºC. Such material might have similar composition and thermal dehydration behavior as nesquehonite. Results from this thesis provided newinsights into the enigmatic and yet unconstrained transition of such phase to less hydrated phases. The evolution of Mg - carbonate phases is mainly controlled by the slow dehydration kinetics of Mg2+ rather than evolving to a thermodynamicallymore stable or structurally similar phase. Despite it has been predicted that such material could straightforward transform into magnesite, it is strongly argued that such transition is greatly inhibited due to preferential nucleation pathways to le ss hydrated Mg-carbonate phases. Phases within the group Mg5(CO3)4(OH)2·XH2O (11=X=4) allows a progressive dehydration whereas the MgCO3·nH2O (n=0) seemingly not. It is proposed that the transition between hydrated amorphousMg-carbonate to highly disordered dypingite-like phases could occur progressively as it dehydrates and crystallizes, forming dypingite-like phases.The progressive evolution of dypingite-like phases is controlled by the removal of molecular water, inducing cell -shrinkage as well as ordering the internal structure heterogeneity, resulting in a crystalline hydrated structure with the name ofhydromagnesite. This might explain the inconsistencies in the solubility and decomposition behavior data reported in the literature for such carbonate phases. No further dehydration is allowed within this group, entailing a significant kinetic barrier in order to allow the transition from hydromagnesite to magnesite.Results from this work shed light into the yet enigmatic evolution of Mg -carbonate phases. The understating of such processes is of paramount importance to accelerate the transition and/or dehydration kinetics among such phases andpossibly unlocking preferential nucleation pathways.Brucite carbonation was observed to occur at feasible conversion rates even under simulated flue gas conditions, highlighting the potential of mineral carbonation processes for direct combined CO2 capture and storage/utilization.Carbonation of Mg-rich silicates remained a challenging field under the studied conditions, even for activated serpentine, despite its partial high-reactivity attributed to the presence of a highly-reactive amorphous Mg-rich phase. It was also found the presence of a poorly-reactive Mg-rich amorphous phase (formed upon activation of lizardite) which remained seeminglyunreacted upon carbonation. Such observation might provide new insights into the yet unanswered low carbonation efficiencies for direct-carbonation of activated serpentine.Similar carbonation yields were observed for brucite-bearing serpentinized dunite when compared to activated lizardite.Strategically sourcing serpentinized rocks with higher brucite contents will potentially increase the carbonation potential of such materials. Coexisting lizardite and/or forsterite were also observed to be partially carbonated.Carbonation of enstatite and forsterite were also individually studied under conditions relevant to localized early Martian conditions. Enstatite dissolution was observed by the formation of a Si -rich passivating layer, where Si and Mg areheterogeneously distributed. Such observation is consistent with morphological changes within this layer, strongly suggesting an intergrowth of nucleating and growing Mg-carbonates with Si-rich phases.
Reading date: 04/11/2020
  • MATAS CASADO, GERARD: Modelling fragmentation in rockfalls
    Thesis file: (contact the Doctoral School to confirm you have a valid doctoral degree and to get the link to the thesis)
    Department: (DECA)
    Mode: Article-based thesis
    Deposit date: 17/09/2020
    Reading date: 04/11/2020
    Reading time: 11:00
    Reading place: ETSECCPB - Defensa per videoconferència per COVID-19:
    Thesis abstract: The fragmentation process in rockfalls is a complex phenomenon that is not well understood and only a few rockfall simulation models consider it explicitly. Fragmentation significantly affects the evaluation of the hazard and therefore of the risk. This thesis aims to develop a rockfall propagation model that is capable of reproducing the fragmentation phenomenon in rockfalls and to assess its consequences in the risk analysis. Four real-scale tests in a quarry and one laboratory test were performed for a better understanding of the fragmentation process. During these tests, several remote sensing techniques were used to capture the motion of the blocks and the fragment size distributions of the resulting deposit. The analysis of the empirical data acquired confirmed that the mass distribution produced by the fragmentation of a single block can be adequately described using fractal theory. Moreover, it was observed that the envelope of the trajectories of the newly generated fragments adopted the shape of a cone. The knowledge gathered with these experiments led to the development of RockGIS, a stochastic program based on a lumped mass approach for the numerical simulation of rockfalls and their fragmentation using a fractal model. The model simulates the trajectories of the blocks using state-of-the-art methodologies and implements an innovative fragmentation module to consider block breakage using fractal theory. The code was developed within the framework of the Rockmodels project ( In the simulation, the parameters that define the sizes of the fragments generated are computed at each impact according to the kinematic conditions. This approach allows different fragmentation patterns to be reproduced depending on the energy conditions of the impacts. The performance of the RockGIS code was verified and validated by the real-scale rockfall tests carried out and by reconstructing three inventoried natural rockfall events that took place in Spain: a 10,000 m³ rockfall near Vilanova de Banat (Eastern Pyrenees) in 2011, a 800 m³ rockfall in Monasterio de Piedra in 2017 (Zaragoza) and a 10 m³ rockfall on the Ma-10 road (Mallorca). For the calibration of the model different goodness-of-fit indicators were considered depending on the information available in each case study. Two main calibration criteria were used: the runout distance and the size distributions of all the fragments generated. Moreover, the fragment scattering along the slope, the number of blocks crossing a reference line, the position of the center of gravity of the whole deposit and other criteria were used in some scenarios to validate the simulation results. The parametric analysis showed that the model is highly sensitive to the parameters that control the fragmentation process. The performance of the fragmentation model developed is satisfactory and accomplishes the goal of representing the fragmentation process, as it is able to reproduce the field observations accurately. To use this approach for risk analysis and the design of protective measures, precise calibration is required to ensure the parameters are appropriate for each case study considered. Regarding the risk analysis, fragmentation has both a significant and a contrasting effect on the risk value and should not be ignored. The most significant effect is on the rockfall runout distance. Fragmentation may significantly reduce rockfall propagation if the slope is sufficiently gentle and long. In this case, the new fragments generated mobilize less energy and can be trapped by the topographic irregularities, obstacles and protection works. Conversely, a wide range of block sizes are able to reach corridors running below steep slopes. In such a situation, fragmentation facilitates the divergence of the blocks¿ trajectories, which increases the probability of impact on people and vehicles and consequently the risk.
  • POLIOTTI, MAURO: A framework for 3D nonlinear analysis of reinforced concrete frames under general loading.
    Thesis file: (contact the Doctoral School to confirm you have a valid doctoral degree and to get the link to the thesis)
    Department: (DECA)
    Mode: Normal
    Deposit date: 30/09/2020
    Reading date: 04/11/2020
    Reading time: 17:00
    Reading place: ETSECCPB: Defensa epr videoconferència.
    Thesis abstract: Modern guidelines for design and assessment of reinforced concrete structures under seismic and other extreme loads require nonlinear analysis. The complex structural response can be obtained by means of three-dimensional finite element models, although its application is limited due to their high computational cost. Alternatively, if the structure can be assimilated by line elements, the structure can be simulated by means of frame elements. These formulations have demonstrated to be robust and efficient. The main drawback of most of the beam-column models is that they neglect or consider in an oversimplified way the interaction between axial and transverse internal forces. Consequently, most frame models are not able to trace different failure modes in reinforced concrete elements such as shear or torsional failures. Besides, the simplifications made in those models affect also their ability to reproduce even common failure modes such as flexural or axial failures.The main goal of this thesis is to develop a robust and efficient numerical tool capable of reproducing different failure modes of reinforced concrete frame elements. It is also desired that the model is able to reproduce complex phenomena such as passive confinement in an objective way. The developed tool is aimed to be used in the design or assessment of full scale structures under general loading conditions. In order to accomplish this objective, the problem is dealt by means of a multilevel framework. At the constitutive level, a new plastic-damage model for concrete that incorporates a variable dilatancy parameter is developed. It is demonstrated that dilatancy affects the free expansion of concrete, the softening behavior under shear stresses and the response of passively confined elements. The model is based on a well-known plastic-damage model, which is modified by means of a dilatancy parameter that depends on the plastic-damage and stress states.At the sectional level, a new model that introduces an efficient numerical technique is developed. The new model is based on a total interaction sectional model that reproduces the kinematic behavior of the cross-section by means of a two-component displacement field. One component of the displacements satisfies the traditional hypothesis of Euler-Bernoulli while the complementary field reproduces warping and distortion. This field enables the model to obtain the triaxial stress and strain tensors on each point of the cross-section domain. The complementary displacement field is obtained by considering the inter-fiber three-dimensional equilibrium. The displacement field is expressed by means of a set of b-spline functions predefined on the cross-section domain. Thus, a significant reduction on the degrees of freedom involved on the cross section state determination is obtained compared against a finite element solution. This makes the model suitable of its implementation at the element level.Further, at the element level a force-based formulation is used. The model strictly satisfies the equilibrium between nodal and sectional forces. On each integration point of the elements, the higher order sectional model described earlier can be used to represent the sectional behavior. The models are implemented into an open-source collaborative finite element software focused on the nonlinear seismic analysis of structures.The presented models are validated, both separately and jointly, by comparison of numerical results with experimental tests available in the literature. Validation includes a wide range of concrete strengths, reinforcing materials, section geometries and types and arrangements of reinforcements. Several loading conditions are simulated making emphasis on the ability of the model to represent different failure modes such as shear, torsion and coupled modes. Finally yet importantly, the simulation of a real full-scale bridge is done to test the capabilities of the proposed model.
  • TADIC, DORDE: Uptake and metabolization of antibiòtics in crops
    Author: TADIC, DORDE
    Thesis file: (contact the Doctoral School to confirm you have a valid doctoral degree and to get the link to the thesis)
    Department: (DEAB)
    Mode: Article-based thesis
    Deposit date: 28/09/2020
    Reading date: 04/11/2020
    Reading time: 15:00
    Reading place: Sala Polivalent de l¿Escola Superior d¿Agricultura de Barcelona, Campus del Baix Llobregat de la UPC, C. Esteve Terradas 8, Ed D4 (Castelldefels)videoconferència:
    Thesis abstract: The discovery of antibiotics (ABs) and their mass production brought a revolution in medicine worldwide during the middle of the XX century. Infectious diseases with high morbidity and mortality suddenly become treatable. In the years that followed ABs were widely (mis) used in human and veterinary applications, consequently ABs become the victims of their own success. AB bacterial resistance, although an ancient phenomenon, become one of the biggest threats to global health and food safety. AB pollution has been reported worldwide and in different environmental compartments. The presence of ABs has been reported in wastewaters (WW), surface waters, groundwater, manure, agricultural soils, animal food (meat and dairy products) and more recently in vegetables. In recent years several studies conducted in greenhouse conditions showed that ABs can be taken up and translocated in crops. The base of this Thesis is analytical methodology development and its application for the determination of several classes of incurred antibiotics in crops. Namely, analysis of ABs is a challenging task due to the complexity of vegetable matrices that entangle their quantification, especially if they are present at a relatively low ng g-1 level. Thus Chapter II presents an analytical method for the target analysis of 10 ABs and 6 of their metabolites.The developed method relies on liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry in combination with liquid extraction and cleanup workflows. Strikingly, in 73% of all samples analysed, the concentration of a transformation product (TP) was higher than the concentration of its parent compound. Despite the numerous studies reporting the uptake and translocation of ABs by vegetables in controlled conditions or simulated real field scale conditions, there is a lack of data regarding the occurrence of ABs and its transformation products in vegetables under real field-scale conditions to assess the potential risk associated with their consumption. Thus, holistic sampling campaigns were performed (Chapter III) where four different vegetable types were included. Moreover different agricultural practices were involved and all collected samples represent real, commercially available vegetables intended for human consumption. Farming plots where manure was applied as fertilizer and water from Llobregat River was used for irrigation showed the highest ABs loads. Crop type was another important factor that determined the level of ABs occurrence. In real agricultural environments variations of many different factors are creating complex and specific interactions, thus have to be observed as such. Another unknown and poorly studied area that draws attention is related to ABs bio transformation pathways in pore water-plant systems. An innovative workflow for non-target screening allowed us annotation and identification of 11 metabolites of ofloxacin (OFL), of which five metabolites were reported for the first time in plants, suggesting the need to be included in surveys if they possess antimicrobial activity and/or toxicity (Chapter IV). Major transformation pathways were tentatively proposed revealing the major OFL metabolization pathways in lettuce. Finally, in Chapters V and VI, general discussion of all results and conclusions is given summing up the main ideas and hypothesis validation.

The Doctoral School today

  • 45PhD programs
  • 2328doctoral students 18/19
  • 290thesis supervisors 18/19
  • 328read theses 2019
  • 1072019 thesis with I.M. and/or I.D.
  • 183 I.D. projects (30% from G.C. total)

I.M: International Mention, I.D.: Industrial Doctorate, G.C.: Generalitat de Catalunya