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"From complex materials to complex systems is a long process: that is why we need multidisciplinarity" Xavier Obradors takes the stage at 4YFN

ICMAB Director joins a panel on the importance of materials in Deep Tech in the context of the Mobile World Congress 2022 at the 4YFN #FrontierTech track. 

04 March 2022
Frontier Materials panel at 4YFN /ICMAB
Frontier Materials panel at 4YFN /ICMAB

As the Mobile World Congress takes place between 28 Feb and 4 March 2022, part of the floor of the Gran Via Fira de Europa is dedicated to 4 Years From Now (4YFN), an event designed to spotlight startups and help them connect with investors and companies to launch new ventures together. Within this event, the Frontier Tech programme explores the intersection between emerging technologies and their applications, reimagining the industry to provide solutions for current and future challenges.

Light up board that reads 4YFN


On 1 March 2022, one of the activities of this programme covered Frontier Materials, asking the question: What's on the Edge of Materials Deep Tech? To start answering this question, Director General at AMPT Zina Jarrahi Cinker discussed with Director of Tech Transfer and Acceleration at IESE Business School Luca Venza, about the relationship between materials and evolution, our current placement in an “age of Silicon”, and the potential future of deep tech: "We are matter going through a world of matter" said Zina Jarrahi Cinker; "Silicon is the reason we talk about a digital world".

Zina Jarrahi Cinker and Luca Venza on stage.

Zina Jarrahi Cinker and Luca Venza at the #FrontierTech track at 4YFN /ICMAB

Following this conversation was a panel discussing the state-of-the-art of materials science and the ways in which we can accelerate their development. The panel was moderated by Professor at UPC BarcelonaTech Eduard Alarcón, and included ICMAB Director Xavier Obradors, CEO & Founder at Inbrain Neuroelectronics Carolina Aguilar, and GSMA CEO John Hoffmann.

Eduard Alarcón, Xavier Obradors, Carolina Aguilar and John Hoffmann on stage.

Eduard Alarcón, Xavier Obradors, Carolina Aguilar and John Hoffmann at 4YFN. /ICMAB

Many topics were discussed during this panel, under the agreed notion that advanced materials are a key part of what shapes our day to day: “There are dozen of advanced materials on your smartphone, all these complex materials are behind the scenes”, said Xavier Obradors.

The potential that future materials bring was an exciting preposition for all the panelists. According to Carolina Aguilar: "The brain is the most intricate system known to science; Frontier Materials provide an opportunity to go deeper into what we understand".

"We need to allow people to dream and give them the tools to make it happen", added John Hoffmann, with a focus on the ways the field will advance in the coming years.

At the end of the event, every speaker shared a few closing thoughts. Xavier Obradors kept training and students in mind: "I would like to insist on the essential role that research plays in training people; after 4 years of a PhD, they are a completely different person; and these people are the ones who really make changes in industry and push innovation".


The next exciting event following this same topic will be in 15-17 November 2022 in Barcelona, the second edition of PUZZLE X. An initiative from Fira de Barcelona, the Advanced Material Future Preparedness Taskforce (AMPT) and the Mobile World Capital Barcelona focused on the use of Materials Deep Tech to build a better and more sustainable future for humanity in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Supported by several public administrations, PUZZLE X aims to grasp the potential of Frontier materials to solve some of the challenges that society is facing.

The initiative includes a yearly event and a venture builder incubator to support Materials Deep Tech startups, attract investment and build a global ecosystem. 

Hope to see you there in November 2022! 

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Xavier Obradors, ICMAB Director, and Alfonso del Rey, Technology Transfer Officer, at 4YFN | ICMAB

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