UIC Barcelona inaugurates the 2019-2020 academic year

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Andreu Mas Colell, president of BIST (The Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology) gave the inaugural speech this year, where he highlighted the role universities play in research.

UIC Barcelona inaugurates the 2019-2020 academic year

The Aula Magna recently hosted the 2019-2020 academic year opening ceremony. The event, presided over by our rector, Xavier Gil, began with the traditional procession of academics. The president of The Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology (BIST) Andreu Mas Colell, then gave an inaugural speech entitled, ‘Research universities in the 21st Century”. Mas-Colell, whose laudatio was given by Senior Lecturer in Economics Pedro García del Barrio, gave an overview of the role research has played in European universities since the Middle Ages. 

The president of BIST admitted that Europe is currently experiencing a dilemma, which is “how to reconcile the welcome increase in university students with the need to ensure that all universities can encourage research”.  In relation to the cost, he explained that on the one side there is ‘the equipment, that would have to be shared’, and on the other hand, ‘scientists also need more time to do research’. 

Another of the characteristics of research, according to Mas-Colell, is that “it tends to bring researchers together” but this “does not need to happen within the same institution”. “In the 21st century a research university is no longer defined by the quality of its library or its scientific equipment but instead by the quality of its professors and researchers”, he added. 

The president of BIST insisted that “it is worth dedicating resources to attracting, recovering and maintaining talent, because, among other reasons, talent attracts resources”.  “In Catalonia we have experience of this virtuous circle”, he concluded.   

The rector of UIC Barcelona, Xavier Gil, started his speech by regretting the “exceptional nature of the political situation in our country right now” and underlined the fact that in universities “we believe in the supreme value of dialogue and respect for diverse ideas.  “As a university, we do not turn our back on society. Human progress has been made possible through differences of opinion, as well as understanding and respect for the opinions of others”. 

In his own speech, Xavier Gil expressed his thanks for Andreu Mas-Colell’s “brilliant inaugural speech” since he is a person who, in his opinion “has worked for many years to turn the Catalan university system into an international benchmark”.  According to the rector, “the prestige of the Catalan knowledge system has provided us with role models that have guided us on the path which has led our own university to become a research university, with excellent teaching, while also capable of attracting and retaining talent”. 

In relation to the challenges for this new academic year, the rector indicated that it includes “setting up our new Palliative Care Clinic, which aims to become an international benchmark in this area”, as well as the Faculty of Education’s move to our Sant Cugat Campus, and digitalisation. 

Report on the academic year 

During the event, Belén Castro, General Secretary of the University, presented her report on the 2018-2019 academic year and underlined the fact that in May the university managed to ensure the Bachelor’s Degree in Biomedical Sciences, which started off the year as a UIC Barcelona-specific degree, became an official degree programme.  

In her summary she reminded everyone that “UIC Barcelona recently launched the new Experience Campus, which offers a new qualification for older people so they can come back into the classroom and enjoy knowledge within the context of an active life”.  She also indicated that various new projects have been announced, such as the Palliative Care Clinic, which will be housed in the Hospital General de Catalunya. 

As Belén Castro mentioned, UIC Barcelona continues to provide support for research and the transfer of knowledge, as is reflected by the “new agreements that have been established between institutes and top level research centres” and a “22% increase in indexed publications”.  She also underlined the fact that the university has spent four million euros on grants.  

UIC Barcelona currently offers 16 bachelor’s degrees, around 30 international double degrees and a wide range of master’s degrees, postgraduate degrees and continuing education courses. It currently houses more than 8,000 students, 26.8% of whom are from other countries. Personal attention, an individual approach to each student, consistent contact with the professional world and innovative teaching and research methods allow us to stand out. We are connected to society and companies through 16 company-sponsored chairs, 4 sponsored classrooms, 5 research institutes and 2 university clinics. We also have a graduate employment rate of 89.6%. 

The opening event for the 2019-2020 academic year, held in the university’s Main Hall, ended with a rendition of the university anthem Gaudeamus Igitur.