- Anna Ramon, Vice-rector of Teaching Staff at the UVic-UCC, and Paola Galbany, new dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences and Welfare
On Thursday, at the proposal of the Rector, the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees of the Balmes University Foundation Balmes (FUBalmes) approved the creation of the new Office of the Vice-rector for Teaching Staff at the UVic-UCC. The post will be held by Dr Anna Ramon, lecturer in the Faculty of Health Sciences and Welfare (FHSW), whose appointment was also approved by the Board on Thursday, when it also appointed Paola Galbany as dean of the FHSW. The new dean takes up the position that Mireia Subirana vacated in January, to focus on her role as Director of Care for the Hospital Consortium of Vic. The exponential growth that research at the UVic-UCC has experienced in recent years, in terms of both the volume of output and the profile of the research groups, as well as the new challenges posed by the imminent recruitment of teaching staff for the Faculty of Medicine and the integration of academic teaching staff from Umanresa, have led the rector to take the decision to separate these two areas. They were previously within the same vice-rector's office, headed by Dr. Jordi Villà, who now becomes Vice-rector for Research and Knowledge Transfer. Anna Ramon will now be responsible for proposing and coordinating policy on teaching staff, developing and encouraging the careers of the institution's teaching and research staff, while working closely with the faculties and departments. Another of her responsibilities will be to direct and oversee the management of teaching staff, in coordination with the Office of the Vice-rector for Academic Affairs and the Talent Management Area. Anna Ramon ? a sociologist, teacher and researcher Anna Ramon holds a doctorate in Sociology from the University of Barcelona, as well as a master's degree in University Education for Novice Teachers and a Diploma in Advanced Sociology Studies. She is currently lead researcher in the projects "Individual religious symbols in the workplace: the case of the use of the hijab in health centres in Catalonia" within the framework of the Relig 2016 funding from the Catalan Government's Ministry of Governance and Institutional Relations; "Analysis and dynamics of social networks of the sectors involved in the prevention of alcohol consumption in Catalonia", funded by the Public Health Agency; and "Evaluating Cannabis: analysing social change in the practices and perceptions of cannabis," funded by the Government of Catalonia's Subdirectorate General on Drug Dependence. Ramon has supervised four doctoral theses and undertaken two research stays, as a pre-doctoral researcher at the University of Arizona (USA), where she produced her doctoral thesis on "The structure and dynamics of social capital in Europe" and another at Harvard University (USA). The new vice-rector began teaching at the University of Barcelona in 2006-07, ??and has also taught at the Open University of Catalonia. In 2013 she joined the teaching staff at the UVic-UCC, and she has been director of the Department of Social Sciences and Welfare of the FHSW since 2015. Paola Galbany - a doctor in Nursing and an anthropologist The new Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences and Welfare, Paola Galbany, holds a doctorate in Nursing Sciences and a degree in Social and Cultural Anthropology from the University of Barcelona, as well as a diploma in Nursing from the Universitat Ramon Llull. Over the last seven years, she has worked as a lecturer in the Department of Nursing of the Faculty of Medicine of the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), and previously taught at the URL Blanquerna and the UB's School of Nursing at Bellvitge. She has also taught on the master's degree course in Innovation and Research in Nursing Care at the UAB, and has undertaken a teaching innovation project on clinical simulation with the maximum levels of realism. Her scientific career has focused on studying of the evolution of care and thought in nursing, as well as the methodological foundations of nursing. She is a member of the FEBE, a group working on research and teaching of the history of nursing, and of the interdisciplinary, inter-university and international research group AFIN, which focuses on basic and applied research in the social sciences, humanities and health sciences. In 2015 and 2016 she undertook a 12-month stay at the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing at the University of Toronto (Canada), with a postdoctoral fellowship, which led her to establish a research line on migrations of Spanish nurses as a result of the economic crisis which began in 2008. Galbany has also worked at various hospitals in the Barcelona metropolitan area as a care nurse, as well as at the Hospital de l'Ouest Parisien in France.
- The UVic-UCC hosts the meeting to launch the Interreg Mediterranean SYNGGI project, led by the BETA Technology Centre
All the members of the European project SYNGGI (Synergies for Green Growth Initiative), funded by the Interreg Mediterranean programme, led by the BETA Technology Centre, met at the UVic-UCC this week. SYNGGI acts as an umbrella and a nexus for projects in the green growth branch of the programme, covering issues in the field of sustainability, the circular economy and energy efficiency, among others. These projects are aimed at promoting innovation in order to achieve a greener and sustainable growth in the Mediterranean region. The BETA TC is the coordinator of SYNGGI, and aims to build a networked community including all the participants and to evaluate, convey and capitalise on the results of the various projects funded in the green growth field. "We are the link between each specific project and the European Union," explains Laia Llenas, deputy director of the BETA TC, who points out that "we must evaluate the results and look for synergies to make the most of each project that is involved, with the ultimate goal of unifying the results and making solid proposals for new European policies". The first part of the meeting (Monday and Tuesday morning) included several preparatory and coordination meetings for the five members of SYNGGI: apart from the BETA TC, the other members of the project are the University Consortium for Industrial and Managerial Economics (Italy), the Regional Council of Durres (Albania), the consultancy Dynamic Vision PC (Greece) and the Fondazione Ecosistemi (Italy). The second part, on Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday, was open to members of the six projects that have already joined SYNGGI, which are all in the fields of the food and agriculture industry, sustainable production and sustainable energy. In total, the meeting was attended by approximately thirty people from seven countries in Mediterranean Europe, including the representative of the Joint Secretariat of Interreg Mediterranean, Maria Groueva. The rector of the UVic-UCC, Jordi Montaña, opened the meeting on Tuesday, and in his speech he expressed his conviction that projects such as SYNGGI "have a positive impact not only in the Mediterranean arc but throughout Europe, promoting new policies and providing unified results." He encouraged the participants to "work together" and to "create fruitful synergies." The starting point of the Green Growth Community One of the main objectives of the meeting was to establish the starting point for the Green Growth Community (GGC), a community led by the SYNGGI project and composed of all the projects within it. "We wanted to reinforce the feeling of belonging to the community for all the members, and to make it clear that by working together under our umbrella with one common goal, all the projects carried out will have more impact, a higher profile and will be more powerful," explains Laia Llenas. Concepts such as the circular economy, sustainability, efficiency and eco-innovation are part of the vision of the GGC, and the definition was discussed in a workshop in the meeting. The programme also included revolving B2B sessions, which put each of the projects involved in touch with each other, in order to "begin to identify synergies and establish ties," says Llenas. The next major milestone in the calendar is in June, when the UVic-UCC will host more than a hundred people at a transnational event based around the food and agriculture industry. The event will be open to the entire GGC and all the relevant parties in the sector in Catalonia and Europe, in both the Mediterranean arc and the rest of the European Union. The SYNGGI project will last for three years and has a total budget of 1.1 million Euros.
- Bonaventura Clotet: "With the HIV vaccine, we re-educate the immune system to react to all the viral variants in the infected body"
Around 300 people attended the lecture given at midday on Tuesday in the Aula Magna at the UVic by Dr Bonaventura Clotet, director and researcher of the University's AIDS and Related Diseases Chair. In a lecture entitled "The eradication of AIDS is now possible," Clotet reviewed the basic aspects of the disease and talked about recent breakthroughs that have taken place in the fight for the cure. During his talk, Bonaventura Clotet reviewed the various strategies for treating HIV currently included in several research lines, and focused on research into the creation of a therapeutic vaccine, which he has directed himself, for which the first results were presented just a few weeks ago. To explain the objectives of this new treatment graphically, the speaker compared HIV with fire. "If you throw water on it, or in other words you apply a treatment, you put out the fire, but you still always have embers that can re-ignite, and this is what happens when the patient stops taking the existing antiretrovirals," said Clotet. However, the therapeutic vaccine activates the immune system to attack HIV directly and according to Clotet, "re-educates the immune system to react to all viral variants present in the infected body" so that after the vaccination, "there is no need to take antiretrovirals." In fact, while with conventional treatments the virus is reactivated after a period of four to eight weeks without any medication, with the vaccine this does not happen. "There are currently five people who have gone than 12 weeks without having to take antiretrovirals, and one that has gone 28 weeks," said Clotet, who said he was convinced of the maxim that "if one person is curable, the entire disease is curable." The rector of the UVic-UCC, Jordi Montaña, introduced the speaker, describing him as "someone who knows the limits of medical science and the personal and social boundaries facing people infected with AIDS." The rector, who chaired the event which was part of the UVic's twentieth anniversary celebrations, considered some of the University's main achievements in recent years, including the UVic's federation with Manresa and the opening of its facilities in Granollers and Barcelona, and said that the culmination of these first twenty years "will be the allocation of places to start teaching the EHEA Degree Course in Medicine next year." According to Montaña, "now is the time to relaunch the project for the young generations that are coming through, with new habits, new perspectives, new technologies and new ideas for training and life." Dr Clotet graduated in Medicine from the UAB and gained his doctorate in 1981 for his research on prognostic markers for connective tissue diseases. He is head of the HIV unit at the Germans Trias i Pujol University Hospital in Badalona, director of the IrsiCaixa AIDS Research Institute, and co-director of the HIVACAT AIDS Vaccine Research Programme. He is a lecturer at the UAB and the Director of the Official University Master's Degree in Pathogenesis and Treatment of AIDS. He has also been director of the AIDS and Related Diseases Chair at the UVic-UCC since 2013.
- 120 students participate in the second semester of the Business, Innovation and Design programme which takes place in the BAU School of Design in Barcelona
A welcome dinner for students on the Study Abroad Business, Design and Innovation programme for students from foreign universities wishing to undertake a study stay in Barcelona was held in Barcelona on 26 January. The courses offered are recognised by the students' home universities, and enable them to acquire and improve skills in the areas of business management, design and innovation. In addition to the students, the event was attended by the rector of the UVic-UCC, Jordi Montaña, the general secretary, M. Àngels Crusellas, the vice-rector for International Relations and Continuing Education, Joan Masnou, the programme's coordinators and several teachers giving classes on it. A total of 120 students, mostly from north American universities, are participating in this year's programme, which began on 9 January. The students still have three months to carry out the projects that each subject requires of them, such as producing a marketing plan for companies in the fashion industry, creating a brand or even starting up a new company. When added to the 24 students registered in the first semester, the 120 students in the second semester make up a total of 144 students registering for this international programme at UVic-UCC during the 2016-2017 academic year.
- Andreu Mas-Colell: "The governance model of the UVic-UCC facilitates the internationalisation of university studies"
The University of Vic - Central University of Catalonia (UVic-UCC) inaugurated its first educational facility in Barcelona at midday on Tuesday. It did so with a lecture by the economist and former Minister of the Government of Catalonia, Andreu Mas-Colell, who gave a lecture entitled "Reflections on the future of higher education." Mas-Colell referred to the UVic-UCC, saying that "its governance model facilitates the internationalisation of university studies, which is a challenge, especially for private universities." According to Mas-Colell, the future of higher education will involve striking a balance between an increased emphasis on information and communication technologies (ICTs) as they gradually replace lectures, and their reinforcement with face-to-face classes in seminar formats, "because nothing can replace personal contact between a student and the teacher." The speaker also said that "the difference between formal training and continuing education will tend to disappear" due to the considerable increase in the need for constant training in new jobs. A meeting point between the network of university cities The event was chaired by the rector of the UVic-UCC, Jordi Montaña, who said that the Barcelona facility reinforces the "regional university" model to which the UVic-UCC is committed, and he described the new base as "a centre for communication, training and personal relationships, and symbolically, a meeting point between the network of university cities of central Catalonia, or in other words, the city as a territory and the country's capital." According to the rector, the facility which was inaugurated today meets current needs and "can be expanded without too much difficulty if they become too small." Jordi Montaña reviewed the various factors that made the opening of the new facility necessary and justifiable: first, "we are opening it while thinking about international students from all over the world, who want to have one foot in Barcelona because of the city's great appeal" and second, "thinking about students on master's degree and specialist postgraduate courses, most of whom are from Barcelona and towns in the metropolitan area." Third, according to the rector, "the UVic-UCC needs a fixed information point in the capital to raise its profile and provide guidance for prospective students and their families" and finally, "because the University's growth called for an expansion of its existing facility in Barcelona." Reinforcement of the project of the University of Central Catalonia The inauguration was attended by the President of the Balmes University Foundation and the mayor of Vic, Anna Erra, who said that the inauguration of the Barcelona facility "reinforces the commitment that Vic has made for the last 20 years to transferring the university's knowledge, research and training for young people, which is now further consolidated with the new Faculty of Medicine." The vice-president of the Balmes University Foundation and the mayor of Manresa, Valentí Junyent, also spoke at the event, and said that "the growth and consolidation of the university project for central Catalonia takes another step forward with the inauguration of this facility." The Secretary of the Inter-University Board of Catalonia (CIC), Mercé Jou, expressed her thanks for the UVic-UCC maintaining a "constant commitment to the CIC, which allows all the universities in the country to speak with one voice." Finally, Albert Pérez, secretary of the School Board of Barcelona City Council, welcomed the UVic-UCC and stressed that "Barcelona's objective is to make the transition from being a city with universities to being a university city." The new UVic-UCC facility in Barcelona is located at number 123, Via Augusta, and it is designed to accommodate the range of continuing education that the University offers to the Catalan capital, in the form of master's degree and postgraduate courses well as institutional events, lectures and talks. Until now, the UVic-UCC has had a small office in Barcelona that has been focused on personal attention rather than on teaching. With the new facility, the University has centralised its entire range of training that was previously taught in different parts of the city in one place. After the inauguration, one of the first activities that will take place there will be the lecture series on "Health and Society, 7 visions" given by speakers of international renown in the field of healthcare and people. The series will start on 23 February with a lecture on the integration of the healthcare and social fields by Marina Geli, coordinator of the Centre for Social and Health Studies (CESS) at the UVic-UCC, and it will continue until 1 July.
- The Spanish toothcarp has the same distribution as in the 1990s in the Alt Emporda, but has declined in the Baix Emporda
The "SOS Fartet" project which has been carried out over the last year in the natural parks of Aiguamolls de l?Empordà and Montgrí, Medes Islands and Baix Ter, culminated on Friday with the planting of tamarisk seedlings in the "Bassa del Fartet" lagoon. The project was carried out by a team of researchers from the Aquatic Ecology research group at the University of Vic - Central University of Catalonia (UVic-UCC), in order to ascertain and improve the current state of conservation of the Spanish toothcarp (Aphanius Iberus), a fish which is threatened with extinction and is protected at both Spanish and European level. "SOS Fartet" was directed by Dr Anna Badosa and the ICREA research lecturer Sandra Brucet, and the other participants were Dr Lluís Benejam and Serena Sgarzi, who are all researchers at the UVic-UCC. The project was supported by the Biodiversity Foundation of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment. The results of their work, which were presented on Friday, confirm that the Spanish toothcarp has not returned to its former levels in the Alt Emporda, and has remained at the same levels as in the late 1990s, after experiencing a sharp decline at the beginning of that decade as a result of fresh water entering the Llacunes Reserve. In the Baix Emporda, the species has suffered a slight decline and is only naturally present in two pools, although it has recently been introduced in others that have been constructed. It has not returned to its former levels in any of the ponds where it was present in the early 1980s. According to Sandra Brucet, "the distribution and numbers of the Spanish toothcarp are clearly determined by two factors: it needs to located in isolated areas where there is no connection with temporary or permanent bodies of water inhabited by the mosquitofish, the invasive species that threatens it, and these must be areas with very high salinity levels, meaning coastal lagoons which retain their natural dynamic without any changes to their water system." The state of conservation of the Spanish toothcarp in the Alt Emporda and Baix Emporda regions, an area that is the northern boundary for the global distribution of the species, had not been studied since the 1990s. Throughout 2016, and especially in the summer months, "SOS Fartet" conducted fieldwork, which involved using various types of traps (bottles, pots and gall nets) to determine the presence or absence and population levels of the Spanish toothcarp in the various pools that make up the Aiguamolls de l?Empordà. Recovery of a deteriorated natural area "SOS Fartet" also involved information and environmental awareness campaigns and specific environmental restoration initiatives to improve the habitat. One of these was the planting of 300 tamarisk seedlings on Friday morning, with the help of forty first and second year secondary school students at the Empuriabrava Secondary School in Castelló d'Empuries participated. The students cycled to Cortalet, where they visited the Interpretation Centre and the nearby habitats. Afterwards, at 11 o'clock, they went to the pond where they saw some toothcarp specimens in aquariums, saw the traps used to catch them during the studies and took part in the planting of the tamarisks, under the guidance and supervision of the forestry cooperative Foresterra. As well as the planting, a protective wooden fence has been installed at the "Bassa del Fartet" to prevent the entry of cows while grazing. "With these two measures we will give the pool some more natural vegetation, which will provide shelter for the toothcarp, because it has been in very poor condition," explained Anna Badosa, who added that "tamarisks are native trees that are typical of coastal wetlands that have a high tolerance for salinity." The project was completed by other activities including an informative talk, a survey for the visitors to the Aiguamolls de l?Empordà Natural Park on their knowledge of the species, and the production of an information leaflet on the Spanish toothcarp. From a broad-based perspective, according to Anna Badosa, "the project has helped to conserve the biodiversity of continental freshwater ecosystems, which in recent decades have experienced a sharp decline worldwide," and has contributed to achieving the 2020 Strategic Biodiversity objectives established by the European Union. The Spanish toothcarp (Aphanius Iberus) is a continental fish endemic to the Mediterranean coast of the Iberian Peninsula. The species tolerates wide ranges of temperature and salinity, but has been displaced in the most saline environments mainly as a result of the presence of an invasive freshwater fish, the eastern mosquitofish (Gambusia holbrooki). The destruction and deterioration of its habitat in recent decades has also contributed to its decline, and there are now only about 20 populations of the species left across the entire Iberian Peninsula.