Barcelona, the world’s 18 best city for higher education

Barcelona has three institutions in the World University Rankings top 400, according the Times Higher Education (THE). Catalonia has 12 universities in total, with a student population of around 235,000. Of these, eight are situated in Barcelona, with three making the top 250 of the latest World University

  • University de Barcelona (UB)
  • University Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB)
  • University Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC)
  • University Pompeu Fabra (UPF)
  • University Ramon Llull (URL)
  • University Oberta de Catalunya (UOC)
  • University Internacional de Catalunya (UIC)
  • University Abat Oliba (UAO-CEU)

And other four in catalan provinces:

  • University de Vic (UVIC)
  • University de Lleida (UdL)
  • University de Girona (UdG)
  • University Rovira i Virgili (URV)

The THE are the only global university performance tables to judge world-class universities across all of their core missions – teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook

Look at the european cities that host the most universities that appear in the latest THE:

London. With nine institutions placed in our World University Rankings top 400, four of which place in the top 40 (Imperial College of London, University College of London, London School of Economics and Political Science, King’s College of London). London is a formidable hub of higher education. A quarter of the city’s 400,000 university students come from outside the UK.

Vienna. Today the city has a thriving higher education sector, with three institutions in this year’s World University Rankings top 400, with the University of Vienna the pick of the crop (ranked 170th).

Milan. This city boasts three universities in the top 300 of this ranking. The University of Milan – Bicocca reached the 226-250 bracket.

Stockholm. It’s also one of Europe’s leading centres for higher education, with three institutions ranking in the top 200. Karolinska Institute also registers in the top 50 of this year’s World University Rankings

París It is a global centre for science and business, and boasts six of the world’s top 400 universities. Of these, the Université Pierre et Marie Curie, École Polytechnique and École Normale Supérieure all make the prestigious top 100.

Outside of Europe are: Istanbul, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Chicago, New York, Boston (Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the second and fifth place, respectively), Sydney, Melbourne, Beijing, Tokyo, Seoul and Hong Kong.

In addition, according to a study done last year by ESADE, Barcelona is the 5th city in the world and 2nd in Europe in attracting international talent to study an MBA (Master in Business Administration), which means that, as a city​​, this raise about 60 billion euros annually due to host nearly a thousand participants from these masters.

However these data contrast with the preference of Erasmus students. According to the European Commission, two universities of Valencia and two of Catalonia are in the top twenty European universities that host Erasmus students: the University of Valencia in fifth place, the Polytechnic University of Valencia in sixth position, the University of Barcelona in sixteenth position and the Technical University of Catalonia in seventeenth position. However, UAB and UB are well positioned in the ranking THE, but the two Valencian universities occupy the last positions (397 and 398 respectively).


The question of “YesYes” a century after the approval of the Mancomunitat de Catalunya

The Mancomunitat de Catalunya was officially constituted on 6 April 1914, as a result of the application of the Ley de Mancomunidades Provinciales (Provincial Federations Law), approved by the Spanish Cortes and the Eduardo Dato’s government in December 1913, one century ago. The Mancomunitat was a federation of the four provincial Catalan councils and, although it was a strictly administrative institution, it was a recognition by the Spanish state of the character and unity of Catalonia. It was the first self-governing body since 1714. With it, the Catalan language returned to an official sphere of influence. Its first President was Enric Prat de la Riba and afterwards the architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch, both of the Lliga Regionalista. The Mancomunitat was disbanded and outlawed during Miguel Primo de Rivera’s dictatorship.

The Institution established the bases of modern Catalonia. It carried out the important task of creating an efficient infrastructure of telephones, extending the charities and health provision. The Mancomunitat also undertook initiatives to increase agricultural and forest yields, introducing technological improvements, the improvement of services and education, and promoting education in technologies necessary for Catalan industry. The Mancomunitat worked hard in the Catalan countryside to provide a solution to the crisis in farming and to promote co-operatives. The School of Agriculture and similar initiatives gave farmers and their laborers a solid training. Various departments of the Mancomunitat (Highways, Ports, Hydraulic and Railway Works, Agriculture and Forestry) improved the infrastructure of the countryside.

Another important milestone of the Mancomunitat was the promotion of the work of Pompeu Fabra, who was chiefly responsible for the current Catalan writing system and linguistic standard. The Mancomunitat de Catalunya carried out valuable work in the fields of culture, public education and social action. It set up a network of libraries around the country and promoted museums and archaeological research. It built and improved schools for primary education and vocational and professional training.

In a framework of the monografics course of High Studies and Exchange (organized by the Mancomunitat de Catalunya in order to promote and modernize the scientific renewal in our country), Albert Einstein visits the city, invited by the scientist Esteban Terradas, from 22 to 28 February 1923. Albert Einstein’s visit to Barcelona expected creating a modern scientific community in Catalonia.

2014 will be a century since the creation of one of the most important institutions that have taken place in Catalonia. But even taking our appreciation, we must ensure that 2014 goes down in history as the moment the Catalans said YesYes.

(Català) Enquesta sobre la recerca catalana

Entre els diferents projectes de la sectorial de Recerca per la Independència de cara als propers i decisius mesos, hi ha la preparació i difusió d’una enquesta que té com a objectiu principal conèixer els dubtes i les pors que genera la independència en el col•lectiu de persones que treballem en el món de la recerca, així com recollir idees sobre com pensem que hauria de ser la política científica en el nou estat.

L’enquesta es contesta de forma molt ràpida i és confidencial. Us preguem que la contesteu al abans possible i que la difongueu entre els companys. Interessa l’opinió de tothom: no només investigadors sinó també estudiants, gestors, administratius, tècnics…

Respon l’enquesta



A worm which broods the eggs like hens

Researchers from the University of Barcelona and the Institute of Research in Biodiversity (IRBio) discovered a new species of marine worm in Antarctica, Antarctonemertes riesgoae, which broods the eggs like hens. The scientific finding, recently published in the journal Polar Biology, was developed in collaboration with researchers from the University of Alcalá, the Spanish Institute of Oceanography, and Harvard University.

In marine Antarctic waters, UB experts found that during reproduction, females of the nemertean A. riesgoae secrete a very dense mucous substance through its body wall that solidifies in contact with seawater creating an elastic layer. Once the cocoon is created, females lay eggs on it and brood them. Brooding behaviour is not uncommon but it is remarkable in marine worms that in addition energetically defend their eggs from external threats. To date, only two nemertean species were known to brood their eggs.

The research is a part of the Actiquim-II project. We informed about this project in a post in our blog on 17th September, about the discovery of Osedax deceptionensis, a new species of marine invertebrate that feeds on bones.


World AIDS Day and research on HIV in Catalonia

Today, December 1st, we celebrate the World AIDS Day. Related to this event, it is interesting to know the research that is being carried out on vaccines against HIV in Catalonia through the HIVACAT program.

As we discussed in a recent entry (14-10-13) on occasion of the World Congress on AIDS vaccine, AIDS Vaccine 2013, Catalonia has a large critical mass of researchers who do quality research in this area. Among the leaders , the public-private consortium HIVACAT integrates two prestigious research centers , the IrsiCaixa Institute for Research on AIDS and the Infectious Diseases and AIDS IDIBAPS / Hospital Clinic of Barcelona team, in collaboration with Esteve and supported by Obra Social “La Caixa”, the Government of Catalonia and the Clínic Foundation. The program is co-directed by Dr. Bonaventura Clotet (IrsiCaixa) and by Dr. Josep Maria Gatell  (Hospital Clínic).

The HIVACAT research programme is structured around 8 areas of research, including the description of markers related to the control of the infection, the study of HIV diversity and its effects on immune response, the analysis of HIV entry mechanisms in target cells, and the development of new substances capable of acting as vaccines. Some of them are therapeutic vaccines, they induce an immune response in infected individuals to control virus replication. In recent years, researchers have found some therapeutic vaccine candidates that have been already tested in humans, with promising results. But researchers at HIVACAT are also working on prophylactic vaccines, which could be used to prevent infection.

Despite these success, research on HIV is in danger if funding is lacking, as Dr. Clotet warned yesterday in statements made to El Punt/Avui . According to Dr. Clotet “3.5 million euro will be required to advance in the most promising projects”. Where will these funds come from? Probably, public investment will not be sufficient. This is why HIVACAT encourages civil society to make donations. From one euro, one can to contribute to finance the development of a low cost HIV vaccine, easily accessible to all sectors of the population.