At a ceremony today in Barcelona, rectors Oriol Amat (Pompeu Fabra University) and Joan Guàrdia (University of Barcelona) signed a collaboration agreement for concrete actions related to the Mercat del Peix project. Among these is the participation in the boards of trustees of the BIST centres that will be located in the new BIST building. Director of programmes Núria Bayó represented BIST at the ceremony.
In the context of the ongoing collaboration between Pompeu Fabra University and the University of Barcelona, with the aim of contributing to the social, economic, and urban development of the city and of Catalonia, the two institutions have signed an agreement to join forces for the Mercat del Peix project, in the framework of the Ciutadella del Coneixement initiative, and the Can Ricart project (led by the UB with participation from the UPF).
Rectors Oriol Amat (UPF) and Joan Guàrdia (UB) have signed the four-year collaboration agreement, which includes four specific actions:
- Participation in the boards of trustees of three out of the four centres that will be located in the BIST Precision Medicine building (Centre for Genomic Regulation, Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia, Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology and Institute for Research in Biomedicine)
- Development of the Zoo Research project
- Cooperation between the Institute of Evolutionary Biology (IBE, CSIC-UPF) and the Institute for Research on Biodiversity (IRBio, UB)
- Collaboration in UPF’s Planetary Wellbeing project.
The signing ceremony took place on March 3 at 1pm in the Mercè Rodoreda building Hall on the Ciutadella campus. In addition to the two rectors, Francesc Subirada, director of the UPF Ciutadella del Coneixement initiative, Sito Alarcón, director of the Barcelona Zoo, Salvador Carranza, director of the Institute of Evolutionary Biology (IBE, CSIC-UPF), Núria Bayó, director of programmes at the Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology (BIST), and Josep Lluís Martí, UPF commissioner for planetary welleing, were also in attendance. Maria Feliu, vice-rector for doctoral studies and research staff, Mercè Segarra, vice-rector for entrepreneurship, innovation, and transfer, and Olga Lanau, general manager of the UB group, attended on behalf of the UB.
Francesc Subirada highlighted in his presentation that the Mercat del Peix is located in the centre of Barcelona, and that the goal is to “transform this centre into a hub of knowledge encompassing science, innovation and culture“. He added, “Rather than creating a new centre, what we are going to do is improve a very powerful research environment, which already exists“.
During the second part of the event, Oriol Amat (UPF) and Joan Guàrdia (UB) formalised the collaboration agreement, followed by speeches by the two rectors.
Joan Guàrdia emphasised that “the most important thing about this agreement is the involvement of powerful and brilliant people; we have built a reality that we will have to present very clearly“. The UB rector stressed that the connection between the different nodes that form part of this network is vital, because without it, “an isolated node would not survive, or would do so in a very precarious way“. He also stated that the Catalan university system will have the opportunity to work on a shared project, within a structured research network.
Oriol Amat for his part highlighted two words that he felt defined the essence of the event, namely ‘synergies’ and ‘planetary wellbeing’, “Today’s event is an embodiment of what ‘synergy’ means: in Catalonia, when we add, we multiply“. With regard to planetary wellbeing, the UPF rector stressed that “this is one of the University’s major strategic lines and one of the longest-running, and now we can work together with the UB“. Finally, he asserted that we must take advantage of the current institutional ecosystem (“which has not always existed“) to move forward.
After the event, the participants had the opportunity to tour the Mercat del Peix area next to the University’s Ciutadella campus.
A far-reaching collaboration in the form of four actions
In the first phase, this collaboration will include the participation of the UB and the UPF in the boards of trustees of the three BIST centres that will carry out activities in the BIST Precision Medicine building. The UB will participate in the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC) and the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona), and the UPF in the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG). In this way, both the UB and the UPF will contribute to current and future objectives and strategies of BiomedBIST.
Both institutions will also strengthen and reorient research linked to the Barcelona Zoo Foundation. They will coordinate efforts to jointly develop the Zoo’s project to create a hub of knowledge and research in biodiversity conservation. In the medium term, a further action involves the possibility of establishing scientific collaborations between the Institute of Evolutionary Biology (IBE, CSIC-UPF) and the Institute for Research on Biodiversity (IRBio, UB).
Finally, the UPF considers that, in reference to its research and innovation project for Planetary Wellbeing, future avenues of collaboration between the two institutions can be explored and identified as part of a more disruptive and committed approach in an interdisciplinary field.
In addition to these four actions, the agreement also states that both universities consider the involvement of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona to be appropriate and necessary, both at the level of the BIST Precision Medicine building – with the participation of the UAB in the board of the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2), which will develop activities in the new building – and at the level of reorienting research linked to the Barcelona Zoo Foundation.