UIC Barcelona inaugurates the 2020-2021 academic year

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The university has held the academic year’s inaugural event in due observation of all safety and hygiene measures, with the majority of the audience streaming the event online.
UIC Barcelona inaugurates the 2020-2021 academic year
Yesterday, UIC Barcelona inaugurated the 2020-2021 academic year. The event was held in the Aula Magna and was led by the university’s rector, Xavier Gil. The inaugural speech, “Supercomputing and artificial intelligence as fundamental tools for science and engineering”, was given by Mateo Valero, director of the Barcelona Supercomputing Centre’s (BSC).
Unlike in other years, the majority of the audience streamed the event online, whilst a small number of guests were invited to attend in person in the Aula Magna in order to respect the space’s maximum capacity as well as hygiene and social distancing measures. 
Belén Castro, General Secretary of the university, opened the event with a summary of highlights from the 2019-2020 academic year.  Then, members of the UIC Barcelona community who have been working for the institution for ten years were each awarded a medal. As part of her speech and review of the academic report, the General Secretary spoke of the university’s teaching initiatives, achievements in research and knowledge transfer and social commitment initiatives led by the institution, which are aligned with its ideology and values. Castro concluded her speech by praising the whole university community’s effort and dedication during the two-month State of Alarm imposed due to the pandemic. 
The event continued with a speech from BSC director, Mateo Valero, who gave an overview of the evolution of processing systems and highlighted how computation and artificial intelligence can help us to solve problems in all areas of society.
Valero also mentioned the BSC’s involvement in several projects working to help fight the spread of COVID-19, one of which is being carried out jointly with IrsiCaixa and Dr Bonaventura Clotet with the aim of developing a vaccine against the virus. 
The General Secretary of Universities and Research from the Government of Catalonia, Francesc Xavier Grau, joined the event via video conference. Grau congratulated UIC Barcelona for the progress and development of its research endeavours. As underlined in the reading of the academic report, the university is home to 25 recognised research groups, 78 competitive projects and has increased the number of six-year research periods achieved by researchers by 22%, as well as increasing the competitive funds it has raised by 44%.
The rector of the university closed the event with a speech expressing his gratitude towards the whole university community for their effort and dedication during this year’s lockdown.