Dolby Barcelona Scientific Paper Award 2023

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The Dolby Barcelona Office wishes to encourage and reward novel scientific advances in areas related to sound by young and emerging researchers connected to Barcelona. We are supporting an award for the best scientific paper in these areas.


Prize Winners

The winner of the Dolby Barcelona Scientific Paper Award 2023 is Eloi Moliner, PhD student at the Aalto Acoustics Lab, Aalto University (Finland), for his paper “Solving Audio Inverse Problems with a Diffusion Model” (preprint and code), presented at ICASSP 2023.


The paper pioneers a diffusion model-based method for inverse problems in audio, specifically piano music restoration. This approach is remarkable in audio restoration for not requiring prior knowledge of degradation during training and its adaptability to a wide array of inverse problems.


Runner-up Award

The runner-up of the Dolby Barcelona Scientific Paper Award 2023 is Pablo Alonso Jiménez, PhD student at the Music Technology Group, Universitat Pompeu Fabra  (Barcelona, Spain), for his paper “Efficient Supervised Training of Audio Transformers for Music Representation Learning” (code), presented at ISMIR 2023.


The paper investigates using transformer models for music representation learning in supervised settings. Pablo and his coauthors show that it is possible to obtain better performance than with convolutional models trained in the same data and investigate the impact of different variables on the performance of the proposed models as feature extractors.


Award Rules

The prize for the award to the best article is a gift card voucher worth 850€. The winner will be invited to give a presentation to researchers at Dolby Barcelona on the winning paper. The award might be declared vacant if the jury considers that none of the presented papers reaches the minimum threshold according to the judging criteria.

Additionally, at the discretion of the jury, there might be one or more runner-up awards, which are entitled to a gift card voucher worth 150€, and who will also be invited to give a presentation to researchers at Dolby Barcelona.



The eligible candidates must simultaneously verify the following conditions:

  1. They must be either bachelor, master, PhD students, or early master/PhD graduates (less than 5 years since finishing the master or PhD on the submission deadline).
  2. They must meet at least one of the two following conditions:
    1. be currently studying, researching or working in the Catalonia region, and/or
    2. have completed at least part of their past education, research or professional career in the Catalonia region.
  3. They must not be a current or former Dolby employee, intern or contractor.

Each eligible candidate may submit one paper fulfilling the following conditions:

  1. The central research topic of the paper must be sound in one of its multiple facets (ie, audio, acoustics, speech, music, audition, etc). The research approach may involve signal processing, artificial intelligence (including machine and deep learning), engineering, physics, and/or neuroscience, among other techniques.
  2. The paper must have been either:
    1. published or accepted for publication a in peer-reviewed journal in 2022 or 2023, or
    2. presented or accepted for presentation in a major conference of the field in 2022 or 2023
  3. The paper was not submitted to past year’s contest.
  4. None of the coauthors is currently a Dolby employee, intern, or contractor.



The papers will be judged by a jury formed by technical experts at Dolby Barcelona. Any dispute regarding this award rules will be resolved according to the discretion of the jury.


Judging Criteria

Papers will be evaluated on the depth and breadth of scientific content and the impact to the field. In case of multiple authors, the extent of the contribution of the candidate to the paper will also be considered.



Interested candidates must submit to an email message with the subject “Dolby Barcelona Scientific Paper Award 2023” expressing the willingness to apply to the award, and including:

  1. Full name and contact information.
  2. A very brief description (50 words maximum) of the relevance of the paper.
  3. In case there are multiple authors, a succinct explanation (75 words maximum) of the candidate contribution to it. This is especially important if the candidate is not the first author of the paper.
  4. A copy of the paper.
  5. A full reference of the publication or presentation proceedings, or written proof of the publication or presentation acceptance.
  6. A CV or resume of the participant.

Questions on this award not explicitly addressed by these rules may also be directed to


Submission Deadline

Deadline of the submission is 15th January 2024.

Entrants will be notified by email of the winning entry approximately a month after closure of the competition.


Privacy Notice

Dolby will process personal data to collect entries and select winner(s) of the award. This section describes the types of personal data Dolby collects when candidates submit an entry, how Dolby may use that data, with whom Dolby may share that data, and the choices and rights candidates have regarding Dolby’s use of their personal data.


Purposes and Legal Bases for Processing Personal Data

Dolby will process the personal data described in the “Participation” section above in order to collect and review award entries.

Dolby relies on the following legal bases for processing personal data:

  • Legitimate Interests: Dolby will process personal data on the basis of our legitimate interests, such as to evaluate candidates’ submissions and eligibility;
  • Legal Obligations: Dolby may process personal data to comply with applicable legal requirements; and
  • Consent: Dolby may process personal data on the basis of consent, such as when candidates provide certain information (including information Dolby has not solicited or has indicated is optional) in support of submissions.

When Dolby processes personal data on the basis of candidates’ consent, candidates have the right to withdraw consent at any time by submitting a request to, without affecting the lawfulness of processing before such consent was withdrawn.

Recipients of Personal Data: Dolby will not share candidates’ personal information except as described in this Privacy Notice. Dolby will share candidates’ personal information only within Dolby Barcelona.

Personal Data Transfers: All personal data submitted in connection with this award will be processed within Dolby Barcelona and will not be shared outside the European Union.

Personal Data Retention: Dolby will keep candidates’ personal data for the duration of the award contest and for any additional period necessary to carry out the purposes identified in this notice. Please note that in certain cases, legal or regulatory obligations require Dolby to retain specific records for a set period of time, or Dolby may retain personal data for the purposes of establishing, exercising, or defending legal rights.


Data Subject Rights

Candidates have the right to access the personal data that Dolby maintains about them; request that we update, correct, or erase their personal data; object to or restrict the processing of their personal data; and the right to data portability. Please submit any such request to Candidates also have a right to lodge a complaint regarding use of their personal data with their supervisory authority in the European Union.

Please note that if a candidate does not provide certain personal data or chooses to exercise a data subject right, then Dolby may not be able to process their entry for an award.


Past Winners

The Dolby Barcelona Scientific Paper Award 2022 was awarded to Alexandre Celma-Miralles, postdoc at the Center for Music in the Brain in the Aarhus University (Denmark), for his research article “Detecting surface changes in a familiar tune: exploring pitch, tempo and timbre”, published with his coauthors Paola Crespo-Bojorque and Juan M. Toro in the journal Animal Cognition.

Their study is a joint effort of the three authors in the direction of understanding what part of our musical perception is shared with other mammals. The authors, after familiarizing rats with a melody (the second half of the Happy Birthday song) observed that they could identify it under changes of pitch and tempo, but not under changes of timbre. The work was carried out at the Language and Comparative Cognition Group at Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona, Spain).