The Faculty of Biology at the University of Barcelona was established in 1974, making it a pioneering institution in Spain. It first appeared as a result of increasing knowledge in the field of life sciences at a time of relentless diversification. Soon other faculties of Biology appeared, vastly improving our capacity to develop better-qualified biology professionals. An obvious example of this was the division of the original Natural Sciences degree into two separate courses, Biology and Geology, more than twenty years earlier in 1952. Both were to become established amongst the science faculties and still exist in many universities.
Indeed, there is history behind our Faculty of Biology, which is associated to the creation of the Natural History chair at the University of Barcelona in 1899. And perhaps it is no coincidence that this position was held by Odón de Buen (1863-1945), known both for his controversial nature and radical Darwinism. At the time this clashed with strongly conservative feelings that were arising in Barcelona as a reaction to the growth of materialism and atheism in the field of natural sciences. However, that was nothing but an extension of a virulent polemic then spreading throughout Europe. The opening of the main building of the Faculty of Biology in Barcelona in 1982 coincided with the centenary of Darwin's death, and there was an echo of old times in the memorial ceremony that filled the University auditorium with an audience of three generations exuding almost total devotion.
In Spain the Natural Sciences degree course was long restricted to Barcelona and Madrid until the time of the expansion mentioned earlier. Certainly there were some illustrious teachers, but social impact was practically limited to the training of natural sciences teachers for Spanish upper secondary school education. It was around the fifties when graduates in Natural Sciences, and subsequently Biology, begin to create new centres of fundamental and applied research, primarily under the auspices of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC).
Notably, the CSIC actually grew out of the University's Institute for Fishing Research, and achieved national scope. Meanwhile, the training ground for naturalists, and later biologists, began to gain a certain presence in industry and in the field of health. Soon it also began to have an impact in different sectors of the government and public services.
The Faculty of Biology is located on the Pedralbes Campus (Av. Diagonal, 643) opposite the Palau Reial, and as such is well connected with the various public transport systems in the metropolitan area.
The three basic functions of the Faculty are:
- Teaching: transmitting knowledge.
- Research: generating knowledge.
- Interaction with society: encouraging research development
We are well equipped with the necessary tools to achieve these objectives.
Physically speaking the Faculty consists of the following buildings: the Margalef Building, the Prevosti Building and the Aulari Building. The distribution of classrooms, laboratories and other facilities between the three buildings can be found in the section ‘Faculty facilities by building’. Classrooms and laboratories are equipped to meet the diverse teaching requirements of different subjects and are fitted with the latest technologies to guarantee the quality of the learning experience. Classrooms incorporate different facilities appropriate to the needs of a variety of educational courses, and there are six classrooms equipped with IT workstations (a total of ninety computers connected to the UB network that are renewed every three years). The teaching laboratories are designed to accommodate classes of fifteen students with one teacher or thirty students with two teachers.
Naturally, all subjects that require the study of animal life in its natural environment include a field practice component.
In an effort to provide better training for our students the Faculty is equipped with several additional services, including the Faculty Library, which is housed in a separate building.
Another tool we have implemented to improve the learning process is the teaching innovation project, which involves two components: academic tutorials, and the application of IT and communication technology to the learning process.
Now, within a social context of expansion and growing intercommunication, and considering the continual restructuring of higher education, we recognize the need for continual progress. Being especially aware of this, the Faculty of Biology is more than prepared to meet the challenge. And at over one hundred years old we are experiencing something of a renaissance, as Biology is a broadly applicable academic field that encompasses such fascinating areas of current concern as environmentalism and biotechnologies. The UB Faculty of Biology effectively offers everyone the chance to get involved.