Societal Challenges

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MSO-ED Technologies have the great strength of being transversal to all industrial sectors. However, the PET MSO-ED Platform, due to its structure, to have entities framed in specific areas of society, and to the limited budget, will mainly address 3 Societal Challenges of the State Plan for Scientific and Technical Research and Innovation 2017-2020, challenges 1, 3 and 5. For each of these Challenges, mathematical technology, in general, provides tools with great potential and that can play a relevant role in solving industrial challenges:
  • Challenge 1: Health, Demographic Change and Well-Being
Modeling the interaction between drugs and cell receptors enables virtual screening of thousands of drug candidates; as a result, pharmaceutical companies can reduce the number of costly enzymatic assays and time to market for new drugs.
MSO-ED tools also play an essential role in the efficient and accurate diagnosis of cancer or viral diseases, as well as the development of personalized radiotherapy or medical technologies such as artificial hip or knee therapy and stents. In addition, the spread of epidemics (such as the current Coronavirus disease) can be studied using mathematical models to aid in more efficient health and economic decision making.
  •  Challenge 3: Safe, Efficient and Clean Energy
MSO-ED tools allow the study of important aspects such as demand response, power transmission, or distributed generation. Mathematical technologies enable the management of smart grids that integrate sustainable energy sources such as wind, photovoltaic or hydroelectric with fossil fuels. They are also essential for improving the efficiency of power plants, wind turbines, batteries and solar collection.
  •  Challenge 5: Climate Change and Natural Resource and Commodity Utilization
Weather forecasting is based on mathematical models capable of predicting devastating natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods or forest fires. The consequences of natural phenomena such as tsunamis, snow and rock avalanches or cold waves can often be mitigated using MSO-ED tools. In addition, the evolution of climate change and global warming is now performed on the basis of mathematical simulations, which helps to assess the magnitude of what is already the world's number one challenge.
The greatest challenge of the coming decades will be to defend the environment through sustainable economic development. This is a field, straddling Challenges 3 and 5, and where MSO-ED tools can make enormous contributions. For example, energy management can be facilitated by intelligent decision systems based on appropriately developed mathematical algorithms. The same can be done for urban waste collection operations, or fleet management for city delivery. Building management is another field of application for MSO-ED tools; a suitable algorithm can calculate the air quality requirements and thermal conditions of each room in a building, ensuring the minimum welfare conditions required by law, while minimizing energy use. We will also mention simulation tools to help prototype new cars (minimizing the burning of polluting fuels) or electric motors.
On the other hand, the challenges faced by companies within Industry 4.0 and 5.0 show an unprecedented level of complexity, requiring holistic approaches and solution processes based on optimized algorithms. Decision-makers need advanced tools that enable long-term risk analysis, clean processes and prototype improvements, along with an appropriate set of optimization and control methods. The key technologies for these processes are often very complex and require the support of highly skilled experts, which are often not available in Spanish SMEs (in particular, innovative technology-based companies and start-ups), affecting the economic and financial performance of the companies. Moreover, the providers of the necessary competencies are spread across different areas of expertise in universities, research and technological institutions. These characteristics require the collaboration and integration of different advanced suppliers and other innovation actors in different sectors and regions. This integrating role is one of the objectives proposed for the PET MSO-ED platform.