Pioneer Awards 2023
Dr. Diego Velázquez, Dr. Shiqi Yang, and Dr. Mohamed Ali Souibgui, CVC alumni, have been recognized by the CERCA Institute – Centres de Recerca de Catalunya –, with a Pioneer Award for the commercial orientation of their theses.
The tenth edition of the Pioneer Awards has recognized eight young researchers from different CERCA centers who have completed a PhD thesis with a clear commercial orientation. Among them are Dr. Diego Velázquez, Dr. Shiqi Yang, and Dr. Mohamed Ali Souibgui, former PhD students at the Computer Vision Center (CVC).
Dr. Diego Velázquez conducted his thesis, 'Towards Robustness in Computer-based Image Understanding', under the supervision of Dr. Jordi Gonzalez Sabaté, senior researcher at CVC; Dr. Josep M. Gonfaus Sitjes (Satellogic) and Dr. Pau Rodríguez (Apple Research). The jury considered that his thesis, which addresses current problems in the robustness of deep learning models in computer vision, has great potential to revolutionize the industry.
Dr. Shiqi Yang conducted his thesis, 'Towards Source-Free Domain Adaption of Neural Networks in an Open World', under the supervision of Dr. Joost van de Weijer, senior researcher at CVC. The jury considered that his thesis is specially oriented to the implementation of Deep Learning modeling practice in the industry and the improvement in computational efficiency. It reduces the dependence on large data sets and implies an improvement in accessibility.
And, Dr. Mohamed Ali Souibgui conducted his thesis, 'Document Image Enhancement and Recognition in Low Resource Scenarios: Application to Ciphers and Handwritten Text', under the supervision of Dr. Alicia Fornés, senior researcher at CVC; and Dr. Yousri Kessentini (Digital Research Centre of Sfax/ SM@RTS). The jury considered that his thesis advances in the enhancement and image recognition of handwritten documents, especially those written in rare or uncommon alphabets for which little labeled data is available using deep learning techniques. The jury highlights its feasibility and application in cases where it was previously very difficult to apply optical character recognition.
The members of the award jury of this edition were: Nadia Pons, former Director of the Health Entrepreneurship Program at CoMB - Col·legi Oficial de Metges de Barcelona; Núria Martí, Director of Innovation at Biocat; Javier Selva, CEO at CataloniaBio and HealthTech; Javier Avellaneda, Portfolio Manager at MW Capital (The Collider); Julià Manzanas, Regional Business Development Manager for Southern Europe at AREOPA Group International & President of the Knowledge Economy and Innovation Commission of the Col·legi d’Economistes de Catalunya; and Joan Sansaloni, Head of the Industrial and Intellectual Property unit at ACCIÓ.
Awardees, institutions, and partner entities attended the award ceremony that was held on December 20, 2023. Lluís Rovira, director of CERCA, highlighted the quality of all winning research projects.