February 7, 2023
Marcos Fernández Pichel wins the Ernesto Viéitez Cortizo Prize of the Galician Royal Academy of S...

Marcos Fernández Pichel wins the Ernesto Viéitez Cortizo Prize of the Galician Royal Academy of Sciences

The CiTIUS researcher has been distinguished with the award for the promotion of Young Researchers, a recognition with which the RAGC rewards his work to detect false information about health in online media.

The CiTIUS pre-doctoral researcher Marcos Fernández Pichel has just been recognised by the Royal Galician Academy of Sciences (RAGC) with one of the Ernesto Viéitez Cortizo 2022 Research Awards. These awards were announced this morning and aim to promote and recognise research in the following fields: Mathematics, Physics and Computer Science; Chemistry and Geology; Biology and Health Sciences; Technical Sciences; and Economic and Social Sciences, all of them integrated in the areas of knowledge of the RAGC.

This is a distinction which has now been awarded for the 32nd time, and for which a total of 66 proposals have been submitted in the two established categories: research work carried out by senior research personnel and research work to encourage the promotion of younger research personnel (under 30 years of age).

The awards ceremony will take place during an official ceremony organised by the Royal Galician Academy of Sciences, which will be held on 1st March at the Pazo de San Roque (Santiago de Compostela).

Artificial Intelligence for the common good

"I didn't expect to win it at all, as it is a very competitive prize," says Marcos Fernández Pichel. "I feel doubly honoured: on the one hand, our proposal was selected from 33 entries from all branches of science, which makes it very difficult for a Computer Science project to win," he says. "On the other hand, it is the first time that someone from our centre has received this kind of recognition, so that makes me even happier," says the CiTIUS researcher.

"The new era of digital media has improved access to information, but this information is not always reliable, accurate or of good quality, which leads users to make wrong decisions," he continues. "This is especially critical when it comes to people seeking health information, for example medical advice, as it can lead to personal harm," explains the award-winning researcher.

Throughout the award-winning article, published in 2022 in the journal Engineering Applications of Artificial Intelligence, the CiTIUS team developed an information retrieval system capable of providing correct and credible results. The experimental framework for this work was the Text Retrieval Conference, the world reference conference on the evaluation of search systems promoted by the National Institute of Standards and Technologies and the US Department of Defense, organised in the form of a competition, with multiple challenges.

"We are especially proud to have received this award because it usually goes to work that is more closely linked to science," says Marcos. "It is a way of recognising research in the field of new technologies, as in this case, in which we have applied Artificial Intelligence and natural language processing techniques to solve a problem that affects us all," he explains.