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The Research Institute of the School of Communication and International Relations

The Research Institute of the Blanquerna School of Communication and International Relations assembles all research professors and doctoral students at the School. These researchers are divided into six different research groups recognized by the Catalonian Regional Government. Their work involves both basic research (associated with the academic world) and applied research (associated with industry and institutions).

Director of the Research Institute of the School of Communication and International Relations: Dr. Marçal Sintes Olivella

enlightened The mission of the Research Institute is to contribute to the qualitative and quantitative advancement of research at the university.

The Institute's research activity focuses primarily, but always from a multidisciplinary perspective, on the revolution brought about by communication technologies and on how this revolution is changing people’s lives and communities within the context of globalization.

The Research Institute is the entity in charge of gathering, coordinating, supporting, and promoting the work of all researchers and research groups at the Blanquerna School of Communication and International Relations at Ramon Llull University, as well as PhD candidates taht are in the course of preparing their doctoral dissertation.

Our researchers work in six different research groups, all recognized by the Agency for Management of University and Research Grants (AGAUR), of the Catalonian Regional Government. Their work involves both basic research (linked to the academic world) and applied research (associated with the public administration, other research and innovation institutions, companies, and civil society organizations). Researchers have their own workplace at the Institute which is provided with all necessary equipment and services.

In addition, the Institute has rooms available for the research groups to use for creative development, debate, or for coordinating tasks concerning projects: the Co-creation & Thinking Hub (area R-1) and the Communications & Big Data Lab (area R-2). The third is the CreaRoom (area R-3) which is designed to host sessions, conferences, and talks by experts or anyone who can contribute creative and inspiring ideas to the researchers.

Organizational chart

Technological vectors and digital activity axes

The Research Institute of the Blanquerna School of Communication and International Relations is structured around several technological vectors and digital activity axes, all of them coherent and closely linked to the undergraduate and graduate studies offered by the School of which it forms a part.

These vectors or axes share a common concern about how to respond to the enormous technological changes that are taking place in our societies; changes which are linked to the digital revolution mentioned above, and also to the phenomenon of globalization with all the opportunities it offers as well as all the associated risks, as for example, that of digital exclusion.

These digital vectors or axes also converge into a strong desire to serve society through knowledge transfer, internationalization, and an interdisciplinary and collaborative approach to research on technology. These vectors or axes are the following:

  • Machine learning, deep learning and artificial intelligence. This point encompasses issues such as the study of the impact of technology on communication practices, media convergence, technology and communication policies, or technology and media regulation, thanks to artificial intelligence systems, and automatic and deep learning.
     
  • Big data. This includes the analysis of large volumes of data (big data and data mining) to understand political, social, and cultural conflicts and how they are approached by the media; also the social perception of such varied issues as violence, the digital divide, and intergenerational conflicts in the digital environment (with social networks, mobile devices, etc.), as well as the representation of the Other in the new media.
     
  • Quality of information, democracy and fake news. Within the framework of the hyper connected society, research projects will be developed on democratic commitment, fake news, hate speech and post-truth, the media and the public, international communication, journalism, participation and active audiences within the digital public sphere, among others.
     
  • Digital marketing and new forms of advertising. These points include a wide range of issues, equally linked to digital society: communication audits, the role of communication strategies in driving change within organizations, corporate communication strategies, new trends in branding, public relations and corporate culture, advertising creativity and planning, issues management, and the use of new technologies in marketing.
     
  • New media and virtual reality. Key points are politics and cultural identity through media, new audiovisual narratives (virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality), digital identity in cinema, series, videogames and television and the language of transmedia, production and management of content for mobile devices, etc. The intersection between cultural citizenship, television and new forms of film exhibition in the digital era is another preferential area in the framework of cultural and experience-based industries.
     
  • International relations, cybersecurity and digital diplomacy. In this case, the focus is on the study and research of the field of international affairs drawing on a technological, historical, political, economic, cultural, legal, sociological, and communication perspective of globalization. Research projects will be developed on cybersecurity and diplomacy in the digital environment, and the commitment that different social actors assume in globalization (physical, digital, etc.), always within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.
     
  • Cyber ethics. This is the synthesis of many of the above elements. Research in this area is centered on technology and values within the framework of intercultural and interreligious dialogue, which will make it possible to reach one of the pivotal goals of sustainable development such as social inclusion, in axiological code, as well as in the analysis of migrations and refugees within the context of a world in which technology is now an unavoidable factor. We study the phenomenon of values and their transmission and manifestation through the media, art, fashion, gastronomy, cinema, and especially, digital media, social networks, mobile devices... This axis also encompasses a field linked to sociology in addition to dealing with aspects such as gender, identity or youth, and their relationship with internet bots, trolls, etc.

The purpose of this plan which will be developed within the Research Institute of the School of Communication and International Relations is, as mentioned above, to contribute to the qualitative and quantitative development of research and collaboration on part of the university as understood in the broadest and most comprehensive sense. This mission, therefore, is to be considered the main objective of the project.

As for the complementary objectives or secondary challenges addressed, these can be grouped into three large blocks, listed below, which will be developed in detail in section 3.4 on the creation of opportunities and generation of impact.

  • Maximize the capacity to produce high-level research that can be transferred into society.
     
  • The internationalization of research through the establishment and consolidation of collaboration networks with public administration, other research and innovation agents, companies and civil society.
     
  • Participate in competitive calls for funding at Catalan, Spanish, European, and international levels with excellent and ground breaking project proposals.

Collaboration networks

Our research has multiple quality guarantees. The six research groups in which FCRI Blanquerna researchers are integrated have been recognized by the Agency for the Management of University and Research Grants (AGAUR) of the Catalonian Regional Government.

The researchers at the Blanquerna School of Communication and International Relations collaborate with a network of Catalan, Spanish, and international academic institutions, public administrations, and business sectors. In this regard, the axes which make up the foundation of Blanquerna's research stand within the scope of the Focus Areas established in Aristos Campus Mundus, a project promoted by the universities Ramon Llull, Deusto and Comillas. Since May 2010, these three universities constitute a Campus of International Excellence and have signed an advanced cooperation agreement with the American universities Georgetown, Boston College and Fordham. This strategic cooperation is committed to social, equitable, responsible, and sustainable innovation.

Research Groups

The research activity of the Blanquerna School of Communication and International Relations is organized in six research groups, all recognized by the Agency for the Management of University and Research Grants (AGAUR) of the Catalonian Regional Government.

Research activity and doctorate up to the 2019-2020 academic year

Tutors and dissertation directors

View teaching staff available to tutor and/or to direct a thesis.