Merging our capacities to multiply excellence
These two Catalan universities share common strengths and are leading institutions in their own right in specific areas of teaching, research and knowledge transfer. By harnessing the potential of the two institutions, the BKC was an obvious candidate as a Campus of International Excellence.
The Rector of the University of Barcelona, Dídac Ramírez, welcomed the award and expressed his "pride at having placed the UB and the UPC in the forefront of the Spanish universities." The rector added that "the BKC shows that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Our project is 1+1=3. We are two universities with a single project of excellence."
The Rector of the UPC, Antoni Giró, stated that "this recognition of excellence is the result of the concerned efforts of the staff at the two universities who, with limited resources, carry out their work in the conviction that the university is a motor of social progress and of the country’s social, cultural and economic wellbeing." Rector Giró added that this acknowledgement should allow the consolidation of the BKC as a pole of attraction for talent at international level.
The BKC is a university area that merges the capacities of two of southern Europe’s most active and powerful poles of knowledge. Its premises encompass 227 hectares with over half a million square metres of building space, 16 faculties and schools, 90 university departments, and more than 15 libraries which form a knowledge network in constant expansion.
More than 42,000 undergraduate students come together here every day – beneficiaries of a campus offering 53 different bachelor’s degree programs – along with 6,700 postgraduate students. The student community is supported by approximately 3,700 professionals on the permanent teaching and research staff and 2,250 members of the administrative and service staff.
Scientific and Technological Development
The UB and the UPC play a fundamental role in transmitting the results of scientific research to the productive sector and society as a whole, acting as entrepreneurs, knowledge creators and innovators, obtaining patents and promoting technology transfer.
The sum of the capabilities of the UB and the UPC in this area is the result of the activity of the campus’s 314 research groups, 6,800 researchers, 23 research centres and 47 spin-offs. The presence of the Barcelona Science Park (PCB-UB) and the UPC Research and Innovation Park (Parc UPC) on the campus draws the constant attention of researchers, scientists and specialized technicians from all over the world.
For the Rector of the UB, Didac Ramirez, the strength of the BKC is "its capacity to integrate the common strengths and qualities of the two universities. At the BKC, the most important campus in southern Europe, the student community continues to be the priority of our university policy". The Rector of the UPC, Antoni Giró, underlined the fact that “the activity of the UB and the UPC at the BKC represents 25.7% of R+D+i GDP in Catalonia."
The international dimension
Every year, the BKC sends approximately 1,000 students to prestigious universities around the world under a range of academic exchange programs and welcomes a similar number of visiting students to Barcelona. The Campus is one of the most active centres for student exchange in southern Europe, and offers nine master's degrees integrated into the Erasmus Mundus initiative – set up by the European Union to encourage high calibre students from outside the EU to take part in joint academic programs with universities in Europe – and around 20 degree courses taught entirely in English.
Thanks to the quality of its postgraduate and doctoral programs and the increasing number of synergies between existing international networks and strategic alliances, the BKC attracts academic and research talent from around the world.
Its place in the city
The BKC is an inner-city campus, integrated in its urban environment, and a model of how universities can effect urban change. In the Diagonal Gateway to Knowledge Campus, the UB and the UPC generated the blueprint for the BKC, creating a project that can increase the efficient use of shared urban space. The Gateway is based on the Master Urban Plan for the Gateway to Knowledge Campus, approved by Barcelona City Council in 2001 with the objectives of improving accessibility for this urban sector in relation to the whole metropolitan area of the city, systematizing open spaces, streamlining initiatives for large-scale facilities and structuring the distribution of new buildings in the campus area.
This mutual readiness to embark upon the project resulted in the collaboration of the UB, the UPC and Barcelona City Council in the development of knowledge areas already present on campus and the strengthening of these areas in the inner-city context: fostering the basic premise that knowledge and innovation now coexist—and will coexist even more intensively in the future—in the public space of a city that opens itself to them.
An accessible and sustainable university model of urban commitment is in the process of bringing together a new design for exchange and communication which will foster activities open to the general public, and the improvement of sports installations in a natural setting tailored to showcase a variety of different public spaces.
The campus is fully adapted to the requirements of students and staff with reduced mobility and aims to become a leading international centre for the development of technologies for mobility assistance, which is one of the specialist research areas of the BKC.
Antoni Giró, Rector of the UPC, added that "the Barcelona Knowledge Campus will help to consolidate the city of Barcelona as a city of knowledge."
The Barcelona Knowledge Campus (BKC) project has the official support of the Catalan government (the Generalitat), the Barcelona City Council, the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce – through a series of programs to stimulate the relationship between the university and the productive sector – and the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), which operates eight research centres in the area of influence of the BKC.
The project is also supported by 20 international associations and networks with which the two universities regularly participate and an extensive network of research centres involved in collaboration and funding agreements with the UB and the UPC.
According to Dídac Ramírez, the merging of capabilities "reflects the excellent relations that the Universitat de Barcelona and the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya enjoy with their immediate surroundings, and is the result of a policy based on continuous effort and improvement. Our aim is to continue working. The BKC is an example of excellence, a model for the rest our campuses."