Press release

UPV/EHU doctor wins the TECNALIA Award for the Best Doctoral Thesis on Digital Transformation

29 June 2018

There were also two Special Mentions for doctors from Cantabria and León Universities

San Sebastian, 27 June 2018. Dr Naiara Moreira Ciruelos, from the University of the Basque Country, won an award for her Doctoral Thesis ‘System-on-Chip Architecture for Secure Synchronisation of Systems in the Submicrosecond Range’, led by Dr Armando Astarloa Cuéllar. This is the first edition of this Award, the theme of which was ‘The Digital Transformation’, and TECNALIA launched it with the aim of promoting Doctoral Theses that will have a business impact through Technological Research and Development, aimed at its rapid implementation in the Industry.

The Jury’s decision was revealed in an event held at the TECNALIA facilities in San Sebastian, at the end of the Patrons' General Meeting of Fundación TECNALIA Research & Innovation. The Award Jury unanimously highlighted ‘the clear applicability of the Thesis to an industrial company and its relevance to scientific-technological areas related to the Digital Transformation of Companies, by addressing the digitalisation of the electricity sector from the perspective of cybersecurity’. Nowadays, in the digitalisation of the electricity sector, the synchronisation mechanism of the smart grid is the most difficult protocol to protect against potential cyberattacks. This Thesis proposes giving an innovative solution to this problem, in accordance with the standards specified by international organisations.

The Award Jury was presided by Adolfo Morais, the Deputy Minister for Universities and Research of the Basque Government; acting as members, Igor Campillo, EUSKAMPUS Fundazioa Director; Fernando Tricas, Vice-Chancellor of Information and Communication Technology of Zaragoza University; and Iñaki San Sebastián and Iñaki Oñate, CEO and Technology Director of TECNALIA, respectively.

In its deliberation, the Jury highlighted the high quality of all the Theses submitted to the Award, from more than 20 Universities, their applicability to companies and their high scientific-technological content, related to Digital Transformation, which is why it decided to also award two Special Mentions.

The successful applicants were Dr Álvaro Díaz Suárez, from University of Cantabria, for his thesis ‘Safe network embedded systems’, led by Dr Pablo Pedro Sánchez Espeso; and Dr. María Teresa García Ordás, from University of León, for her thesis ‘Characterisation of the wear of the cutting tool in milling processes using shape and texture descriptors’, led by Dr Enrique Alegre Gutiérrez and Dr Rocío Alaiz Rodríguez. 

First edition

This first edition of the TECNALIA Award to the best Doctoral Thesis was aimed at doctors who obtained their PhD earned between 1 January 2016 and 31 January 2018, and their Doctoral Thesis had to be related to technological solutions that facilitate the Digital Transformation of Companies, especially SMEs, to help them adopt Industry 4.0.

The award for the author of the Thesis (Dr Naiara Moreira Ciruelos) was €12,000, plus €3,000 for the tutor (Dr Armando Astarloa Cuéllar). 


TECNALIA is a leading Research and Technological Development Centre in Europe, with 1,400 experts representing 30 different nationalities, focusing on transforming technology into GDP to improve people's quality of life, by creating business opportunities for companies.