UIC Barcelona celebrates 25 years looking ahead to a future focused on talent, innovation, research and internationalisation

On 2 October 1997 the Universitat Internacional de Catalunya (UIC Barcelona) was founded as a private initiative with the aim of offering high-quality university education and serving society through the promotion of research. The 2022-2023 academic year celebrates the 25-year anniversary by maintaining its focus on and commitment to talent, innovation, research and internationalisation. Its university programmes are recognised through its inclusion in national and international rankings, graduates from the university have an employment rate of 91.7% (according to AQU Catalunya) and international accreditations, such as the recently obtained accreditation by the World Federation for Medical Education, in October 2021.

UIC Barcelona teaches a community of about 9,000 students across 16 Bachelor’s degree programmes, eight double Bachelor’s degree programmes, about thirty international double Bachelor’s degree programmes and a wide range of postgraduate programmes, at its two campuses, located in Barcelona and Sant Cugat del Vallès (part of the facilities of the Catalunya General University Hospital).

Dr Alfonso Méndiz, Rector of UIC Barcelona, set out four main objectives at the beginning of his term of office, on 1 September 2021: to continue the pursuit of excellence in research by attracting the best talent, put people at the centre of the mission, educate them in critical thought and a supportive mind-set, develop new strategies to further internationalisation and develop a line of innovative approaches in teaching models. At the close of the academic year 2021-2022, Dr Méndiz took stock of the first part of his term of office and confirmed his commitment to talent and teaching quality, innovation, research and internationalisation. He added: “We aim to be as efficient as the best company and as attentive as the best family.”

Courses at UIC Barcelona are characterised by their individual attention to students. “We focus on people, both from a personal and professional point of view: we offer an integral approach to students, with coaching and counselling programmes,” with coaching and counselling programmes,”explains the Rector, who places the emphasis on people as the core of the University’s mission.

In this context, last year the University created the Interdisciplinary Centre for Thought (CIP), an academic centre aimed at promoting general learning, of a transversal nature, to all undergraduate students, regardless of the degree they are taking. The subjects offered by the CIP encourage reflection on the major issues of history, culture and the contemporary world. Méndiz explains, “At UIC Barcelona, we are committed to learning based on the acquisition of transversal skills and knowledge specific to each discipline. Thanks to the CIP training programme, all UIC Barcelona graduates have a broader base, acquiring skills such as critical thinking, a holistic approach to problems or encouraging interdisciplinarity.”

With regard to innovation and transfer, the Rector states that UIC Barcelona endeavours to keep a constant connection with the business world on a daily basis and to encourage innovation in teaching and research methods. “We are connected with society and businesses through sixteen business chairs, five business classrooms, five research institutes and three university clinics: they are linked to the faculties and allow our students to undertake clinical practice and, at the same time, support the transition to society.” These are the University Clinic of Dentistry, the University Clinic of Psychology and Psychiatry and the newly-opened Cuides UIC Barcelona, the Clinic of Support for Advanced Diseases and Palliative Care.

Similarly, “we have links with companies in the most diverse fields, we have about 4,400 work placement agreements and, in addition, we have the support of the University Advisory Council, made up of representatives of the business, cultural and social world, who advise us on how to enhance the employability of students. We aim to be the platform that links them to the real job market and puts them in the best possible place to pursue their personal objectives.”

The international nature of UIC Barcelona is another essential pillar. “We are a university open to the world,” says Alfonso Méndiz. On the two campuses, there are 108 nationalities. Students are encouraged to spend time abroad and there are 380 mobility agreements signed with around 50 other countries worldwide. UIC Barcelona offers about thirty double international Bachelor’s degrees with universities such as the Turin Polytechnic, the University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA), the University of Boston, the IONA College, Birkbeck – University of London, the University of Belgrano or EAC Paris. “31% of undergraduate and graduate students and 10% of our teachers are foreigners. But the internationalisation that defines us is not just a question of numbers,” says the Rector. “For us, internationality also has to do with an open mind, with training our students in multiculturalism and with respect for all cultures, creeds and points of view. We endeavour to prepare our students to live in a global world and to be able to transform it into a more liveable world.”

In line with this social commitment, UIC Barcelona allocated 6.3 million euros to scholarships and student financial assistance (academic year 2020-2021), to ensure that no student is left behind for financial reasons. In this context, the University has promoted the #NingunTalentoSinFuturo (No Talent Without a Future) campaign, which has helped to strengthen the scholarship and financial assistance scheme, thanks to the support and donations from various institutions and companies.

UIC Barcelona is currently 25 years old. Our university programmes are recognised by their inclusion in national and international rankings and graduates from the university have an employment rate of 91.7% according to AQU Catalunya. The rector states “UIC Barcelona is today the institution that it is due to the commitment of the people who believed and believe in the project. People committed to the mission of the University: to promote knowledge, research and transfer, dedicating time and effort to lifelong learning, with the aim of changing the world. Our thanks to all those who have made it possible”.

UIC Barcelona has been included on the list of the 25 best universities in Spain, in 14th position, according to the Spanish edition of Forbes magazine. It is considered as a transparent university (in third place in the private universities in Spain), according to the ranking of the Haz Foundation (formerly the Commitment and Transparency Foundation), and is also included in numerous international rankings. Of particular note, within the area of Dentistry & Oral Sciences in the Shanghai Global Ranking of Academic Subjects,UIC Barcelona was classified in the 151-200 band of 300 institutions, and the international ranking Times Higher Education World University Rankings by Subject, where the University has a particularly high ranking in the area of Clinical and Health. It also has international accreditations, especially in the field of Dentistry. Moreover, the UIC Barcelona Degree in Medicine has obtained the World Federation for Medical Education (WFME) accreditation, which makes it the first private university in Spain to be awarded this international seal of quality. As well as widening the international recognition and mobility of the university, this certification allows UIC Barcelona medical students to specialise and practise in the United States.