The director

Dr Josep Maria Font Llagunes

University school full professor

The director represents the Doctoral School and directs, coordinates and supervises its activities.

The functions of the director, outlined in the Regulations on the Organisation and Functions of the Doctoral School, are the following: 

  • To represent and direct, coordinate and supervise the activities of the Doctoral School and its administrative services.

  • To ensure compliance with the mission, objectives, strategic plan and functions of the Doctoral School.

  • To draw up the Doctoral School's strategic plan with the assistant director, the secretary and the head of administration and submit it to the Board for approval.

  • To appoint and dismiss the assistant directors and the secretary.

  • To convene and chair the Board's and the Standing Committee's meetings.

  • To execute and enforce compliance with the agreements of the Board and the Standing Committee.

  • To ensure that the Doctoral School's staff comply with the code of good practice and to take the necessary measures to solve any problems that might arise.

  • To encourage the dissemination of accounts of good practices in the doctoral field.

  • To manage the provision of the infrastructure needed by the Doctoral School and ensure that it has the necessary resources.

  • To authorise expenses and order the payments he is responsible for, in keeping with the limits established by the Governing Council.

  • To draw up the Doctoral School's annual management report and submit it to the Board for approval.

  • To inform the Board of the proposals for the appointment of the doctoral programme coordinators.

  • To promote collaborative work among doctoral programme coordinators and training and continuous improvement activities that address thesis supervisors' and co-supervisors' supervising and tutoring functions.

  • To promote the Doctoral School's strategic plan.

  • To propose guidelines for the rules governing the academic committees of the doctoral programmes to the Board.

  • To perform all of the Doctoral School's functions that are not expressly attributed to other governing bodies of the Doctoral School in the Statutes of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya or in the regulations that develop these statutes.

  • To propose to the rector that the collaboration agreements referred to in Article 164 of the University's Statutes are signed with public and private bodies.

  • All of the functions attributed to it in prevailing regulations, the Statutes, other UPC regulations and these regulations.

The full professor of Mechanical Engineering Josep Maria Font Llagunes took office as the director of the Doctoral School of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya · BarcelonaTech (UPC) on 25 January.

Josep Maria Font carried out postdoctoral research at McGill University in Montreal (Canada). He has a doctoral degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Girona and a master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering and a degree in Industrial Engineering, both from the UPC. He is the founder and director of the Biomechanical Engineering Laboratory (BIOMEC), which is part of the University’s Biomedical Engineering Research Centre (CREB), of which he is also the assistant director. He is also the principal investigator at the Medical Technologies Group: Biomechanics, which is affiliated with the Sant Joan de Déu Research Institute (IRSJD), a CERCA centre of which the CREB is a part.

As a full professor at the UPC’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, he teaches at the Barcelona School of Industrial Engineering (ETSEIB) and also collaborates with the Terrassa School of Industrial, Aerospace and Audiovisual Engineering (ESEIAAT). He has also worked on the ETSEIB’s management team, as the assistant director of Research and Technology Transfer (2017–2021) and, before that, as assistant director–director of studies of Postgraduate Degrees (2013–2017).

In the field of research in mechanical engineering, he is a renowned researcher in the fields of biomechanics, simulation of mechanical systems and neurorehabilitation engineering. One of his main contributions in the latter has been developing the ABLE exoskeleton, a lightweight and easy-to-use robotic system that enables people with spinal cord injuries to walk. As a result of this research, Josep Maria Font promoted and founded the spin-off ABLE Human Motion, which was recognised as the Best European Robotics Start-up (2020) by the European Robotics Forum, among other distinctions

Josep Maria Font has investigated other rehabilitation technologies for patients with neuromuscular disabilities. His work in innovation and development has received several awards and grants, such as the prestigious Leonardo Scholarship for Researchers and Cultural Creators of the BBVA Foundation, in 2018, the Outstanding Researcher Award of the National Center for Simulation in Rehabilitation Research (NCSRR) at Stanford University (United States), in 2017, and, in the same year, the Agustin de Betancourt y Molina Medal awarded by the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAI). He has also been awarded the 2021 UPC Social Engagement Award (in the Inclusion category) by the University’s Board of Trustees.

Since 2019, he has chaired the Technical Committee for Multibody Dynamics of the International Federation for the Promotion of Mechanism and Machine Science (IFToMM). He is also a member of the editorial board of the scientific journals Multibody System Dynamics, Frontiers in Mechanical Engineering and Frontiers in Rehabilitation Sciences