- 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.
- Dr Ramon Pujol will be the future dean of the Faculty of Medicine of the UCC-UVic, and Joan Guanyabens will be general manager of the Foundation for Advanced Health Sciences Studies (FESS)
The future dean of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Vic - Central University of Catalonia (UVic-UCC) has been announced. Ramon Pujol, a doctor in Medicine and a consultant in Internal Medicine, has been appointed by the Board of Trustees of the Foundation for Advanced Health Sciences Studies (FESS), the institution owning the Faculty of Medicine, after the proposal by the rector of the UVic-UCC, Jordi Montaña. The future dean has extensive experience in medicine, medical teaching, research and health management, and his profile gives the Faculty experience in the process of implementing projects. His main priorities include completing the team of teaching staff that will teach in the faculty, and implementing a syllabus that is innovative from the educational and clinical point of view, focusing on the needs of the population and the community. Ramon Pujol gained his doctorate in medicine from the University of Barcelona (UB) and became a consultant in Internal Medicine (1977) at the University Hospital of Bellvitge (HUB), where he worked for much of his career: he was coordinator of the Emergency service and head of the Internal Medicine Service - a position he had also held previously at Granollers General Hospital. In the field of university teaching, Pujol was a senior lecturer for many years at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Barcelona, where he has been director of the Department of Clinical Sciences in recent years. He chaired the Faculty's Teaching Innovation committee and the teaching committee at the University Hospital of Bellvitge. His other positions have included the presidency of the Catalan Internal Medicine Society, the Catalan Medical Education Society, the Spanish Internal Medicine Society (SEMI) and the European Federation of Internal Medicine (EFIM). Joan Guanyabens - general manager of the FESS Meanwhile, the Foundation for Advanced Health Sciences has appointed Joan Guanyabens to the position of general manager. Guanyabens graduated in Medicine and Surgery from the University of Barcelona, and holds a Master's degree in Hospital Management from ESADE. His career has associated with the use and application of information and communication technologies (ICT) for innovation in the health sector for over 30 years, in both the public and private sectors. Among other positions, he has been Secretary for Strategy and Coordination in the Information and Information Technologies System of the Government of Catalonia's Ministry of Health, the Chief Executive Officer of the Catalan Health Quality and Evaluation Agency (AQuAS), Director for Organisational Development at UDIAT, the Diagnostic Information Systems Centre of the Parc Taulí Health Corporation, and an assessor, auditor and expert on ICTs and Health in European Union programmes. He has also been involved in university teaching on innovation and ICTs in healthcare at various centres and institutions, and has undertaken R+D+i projects. Both Guanyabens and Pujol have been appointed by the Board of Trustees of the FESS after passing an open public competitive process involving a committee consisting of representatives of the Balmes University Foundation and the Bages University Foundation, as well as external experts who prepared the shortlist. The appointment of the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine was also backed by the positive proposal by the rector of the UVic-UCC. A total of over 130 people entered the two calls for candidacies. Last October, the board of the Inter-University Board of Catalonia (CIC) approved the inclusion of the UVic-UCC's degree in Medicine in programming for the 2017-2018 university academic year. The project is currently awaiting validation of the syllabus from the University Quality Agency (AQU) and the concession of the 90 places requested by the Ministry of Education. The Faculty of Medicine at the UVic-UCC will focus on community and comprehensive training for doctors, one of the areas of healthcare with the most demand, to respond to peoples' needs. The syllabus incorporates innovative items from the pedagogical perspective, such as teaching based on resolving clinical cases, a focus on small groups, personalised teaching and internationalization. The new faculty will be located in Vic and will have a teaching unit in Manresa. It will be private, self-financing, and will have a system of grants providing financial assistance for between 10% and 15% of the students and an innovative loans system.
- The UVic-UCC obtains a patent for the production process of a plant growth biostimulant based on a microorganism
The UVic-UCC has obtained a patent protecting the production process of a plant growth biostimulant made from non-hazardous bacterial microorganisms which have improved the growth of some plants by 30% in field studies. The patent is owned in equal shares by the Balmes University Foundation, the institution which owns the UVic-UCC, and two alumni of the University, Verónica Mosquera, a graduate in Biotechnology, and Rubén Hidalgo, a graduate in Environmental Sciences, who carried out the project as part of their Final Year Project (FYP). The two share responsibility for the project with the Biosciences lecturer Marta Cullell, who was their tutorial advisor. This is also the first patent that the UVic-UCC has obtained since improving its regulations governing intellectual property to protect teaching staff, researchers and students in December 2014. According to the Vice-rector for Research and Teaching, Jordi Villà, this first patent "is the result of the University's commitment to excellence in research and to the transfer of real knowledge that is focused on businesses and society in general. We have opened up a new avenue of technological collaboration with the region". The UVic-UCC is currently in the process of applying for another patent that will be granted in the future. Economic and ecological benefits of an innovative process The biostimulant obtained in the patented process is applied to the soil in irrigation water, and increases plant growth by up to 30% in some cases. This effect is achieved thanks to the symbiosis that takes place between the root of the plant and the bacteria that adheres to it, which provide it with nutrients that it otherwise not receive or would not obtain in smaller amounts. The use of products of this type in the agricultural sector is not especially common, but it is not new. The differential value of the patent lies in the economic and ecological benefit arising from the use of organic industrial waste in the biostimulant's production process. The product obtained from this process "achieves very good results when applied in the field, but it is also beneficial for the environment because it provides an outlet for waste that would not be recoverable," explains Verónica Mosquera. Development through a company The initial idea for the project which has led to the patent was developed by the students working on the optional in Biotechnology and Environmental Sciences subject of Creation of Bio-businesses, and took shape in the Startup Programme of the UVic-UCC's Entrepreneurship Unit, which supported and advised them for eight months while they developed their business plan. The project was also the UVic-UCC's finalist in the Interuniversity Start-Up Entrepreneurs Competition in the Startup Programme, which took place in Madrid, where they won the award for the project's viability. The students subsequently based their FYP on the project, with Mosquera focusing on the product's development and its culture medium in the laboratory, while Hidalgo, with another student who took part in the same project, carried out the efficiency tests in the field. At the end of the FYP, the students and their tutor began the procedure to patent the result under the umbrella of the UVic-UCC. Since obtaining the patent, the University has licensed it to the biotech company Ecobium Biotech S.L., established by the two alumni. It is currently the only company in Catalonia specialising in developing and marketing innovative products that act as agricultural biostimulants and biofertilisers, and its products are based on the patented process of which Mosquera and Hidalgo are co-owners. "So far we have focused on using the products where we invested the most time and R+D+i resources since the FYP, while improving the process. We are continuing our research to bring new products to market, improve techniques and be able to cover all our clients' needs," says Mosquera. The company launched its first product to market last September, and has four ranges for horticultural crops, ornamental plants, nurseries and seeds, and lawns.
The number of new access registrations for official qualifications at the University of Vic - Central University of Catalonia has increased by 6% in the 2016-17 academic year (to a total of 2,632 new students) and by 12% if total registration for official qualifications is taken into account. This increase includes all the registrations for degree courses at the UVic, UManresa, those for official master's degrees and doctorates at the UVic-UCC, the Professional Campus, students on the Degree in Translation, Interpreting and Applied Languages offered jointly by the UVic and the UOC, and the BAU, EADA and ESERP affiliated centres. These figures were presented today by the rector of the UVic-UCC, Jordi Montaña, at a press conference that took place in the Joviat hostelry school in Manresa. According to Montaña, the registration figures this year are "especially good bearing in mind the overall decline in demand for university courses". As a result, he said that registration for this 2016-2017 academic year, the second with joint registration with the UVic-UCC, "is grounds for optimism about the consolidation of the knowledge space in central Catalonia". The rector also highlighted the 78% growth of the Professional Campus, the range of vocational training available in the area around the university. According to Montaña, this initiative is having a very positive reception and "addresses a real need in our country". The UManresa Campus New access registration on the Manresa campus this year amounts to 415 people, which is an increase of 12% compared to the previous year. The increase is concentrated in the Faculty of Health Sciences and Welfare, and especially on the courses in Speech Therapy (128%) and Podiatry (35%). In the same faculty, Physiotherapy and Nursing have consolidated their position as the courses with the highest demand, with annual growth of 12% in both cases. Students joining the Faculty of Social Sciences, courses in Business Administration and Management and Pre-School Teaching this year account for 11% of the total registration on the new campus in the capital of the Bages region. UManresa has a total of 1,479 undergraduate students for the 2016-2017 academic year, 3.2% more than the previous year. Physiotherapy, with 196 new students, is the degree course with the most students. The high level of demand for these courses has meant that the number of places available is completely covered, and a cut-off grade for access has been established. Profile of new students 59% of students joining this course at UManresa are women, although the gender distribution is uneven, depending on the course. Women are a majority on the courses in Speech Therapy (where 100% of the new students are female) and Pre-School Teaching (with 93% of the total). However, the majority of new Podiatry and Physiotherapy students are male, with percentages of 66% and 60% respectively. 37% of the students joining UManresa this year come from outside Spain - mostly from France, but also from Italy. They mainly choose studies in Physiotherapy and Speech Therapy, and Podiatry to a lesser extent. There are also students from elsewhere in Spain - the Balearic Islands, the Basque Country, Navarre, La Rioja, the Canary Islands, Andalusia, Castile and Aragon - who are mainly registered for health studies. Valentí Martínez, Vice-rector of the Manresa Campus, pointed out that the positive results "for registration in the last two years dispel doubts about the benefits of the university federation". He also referred to the appeal of studies at UManresa such as Physiotherapy, Speech Therapy and Podiatry in the international market, and above all, to students from France and Italy. Finally, he stressed the good reception for Higher Level Training Cycle courses in Dental Prosthetics, "with a 56% increase in new access registration that has meant that the groups have had to be divided". The UVic Campus The UVic has registered 1,100 new access students for the 2016-2017 academic year - 56 students fewer than last year. This decline is due to the voluntary limitation on new students which has been applied to the degree course in Physiotherapy to ensure good educational care and supervision. According to Cristina Vaqué, the Vice-rector for Academic Affairs at UVic-UCC, the limit "enables us to maintain the educational model based on individualised care based on proximity that defines us". If it had not been implemented, there would have been a 16% increase in the admission of new students compared to last year. The number of first-choice registrations was 80% this year - a figure which has remained stable compared to last year. At present, 83% of the places available have been covered and a cut-off grade has been implemented in the Physical Education and Sports Sciences, Physiotherapy and Psychology courses, which proves that these there is more demand among students than places available on these three degree courses. Considered in terms of faculties, the Faculty of Education, Translation and Humanities accounts for 35% of total new access registration and has the most new students registered, followed closely by the Faculty of Health Sciences and Welfare. Registration in the Faculty of Education, Translation and Humanities has increased by 6% on Teaching degree courses, which is a significant increase considering that the overall demand for these courses in Catalonia has fallen by 7%. The Inter-University Degree in Translation, Interpreting and Applied Languages has been offered with the UOC for the second year, and 59 new students registered this year. Meanwhile, the Faculty of Business and Communication Studies accounts for 15% new access registration. The Faculty of Health Sciences and Welfare accounts for 34% of overall new access registration - the same figure as last year, despite the checks on entry for students to the Bachelor's degree in Physiotherapy. Three degrees, in Physiotherapy, Nursing and Nutrition have covered all the places available and in the case of the latter, the number of registrations has doubled to 43 students. This Faculty has the highest number of international students, mostly from France; and considered in terms of degree courses, 68% of new Physiotherapy students, 16% of new Occupational Therapy students and 3% of the new Nursing students are French. Finally, the Faculty of Sciences and Technology has experienced the effect of the overall decline in demand for engineering, which fell this year by 7% compared to last year. However, the 130 places available on the courses in life sciences, Biology and Biotechnology have been covered. This faculty accounts for 16% of new access registration. Profile of new students If we consider the profile of these new students at the UVic, the majority are women - with 59% compared to 41% who are men. Women outnumber men in all faculties except for the Faculty of Sciences and Technology, where there are more men. In terms of geographical origin, 21% come from Osona, 13% from France, 10% from the Barcelonès and 10% from the Vallès Oriental. According to the data collected in the survey completed by recently admitted students in July, those who do not live in Vic travel to the University mostly in their own car (37%), by train (31%) and by bus (21%). This year, there has been an increase of two points in carpooling (19%) following the implementation of the Fesedit system. This is an application that connects students who have requested it, and enables them to share their journey and vehicle with others with the same timetable and destination. As for accommodation, 59% of the new students live at home with their parents. Those who do not live in student residences (11%) or student flats (9%). Medicine, - the big commitment for next year The general manager of the Balmes University Foundation, Joan Turró explained the progress made on the degree course in Medicine. He announced that the University Quality Agency (AQU) received the report on the qualification last Friday, and it is now only necessary for the Government of Catalonia to complete the procedure establishing the Faculty and for the Ministry of Education to authorise the places for registration to begin. According to Turró, "the project has earned respect due to being a reality" and he is convinced that on 1 September "we will be authorised to start classes". Turró also announced that the UVic-UCC's new facilities in Barcelona will be inaugurated for next year. The premises are located on Via Augusta, at the Institute of North American Studies, and will host the postgraduate training courses moved from the two campuses. Finally, he also announced that next year the Rector's office will move to the Casa Convalescència, a building in the centre of Vic.