UPF Fact Sheet: Health and Life Sciences (April 2019)

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UPF Fact Sheet



In 1998 UPF started a degree programme in Biology, which in 2008 was adapted to become the bachelor’s degree in Human Biology. It has been a reference in the field from the beginning, obtaining a high number of awards for its innovative teaching and its orientation towards biomedical research. In the 2008-2009 academic year, UPF and the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) launched the joint bachelor’s degree in Medicine in the multidisciplinary biohealth environment of Hospital del Mar, a unique location connected to the Barcelona Biomedical Research Park (PRBB). The programme is especially designed to train highly qualified professionals who will be able to practise to an excellent standard in various fields of health and medicine ranging from primary care to hospital medicine, health management or biomedical research. In fact there is a great deal of synergy between the bachelor’s degree in Medicine and the bachelor’s degree in Human Biology. The Faculty completes its undergraduate offer with the bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering and the bachelor’s degree in Bioinformatics. All the programmes are based on an innovative teaching methodology that combines small class sizes, problem-based learning, individual tutoring, an emphasis on practical content and continuous assessment to deliver highquality education.

Key figures —— —— —— ——

18% of official master’s students are international (2018-2019) 33% of doctoral students are international (2018-2019) 31% of UPF graduates have studied abroad (2017-2018) Internship agreements with nearly 80 companies, such as Esteve, Bayer, Roche and Amgen


The research conducted at the Department of Experimental and Health Sciences (DCEXS) is of utmost importance. In recent years, the Department has made a name for itself in a variety of research fields with a growing research output. Members of the DCEXS publish over 500 research articles a year, more than 75% in top-quartile journals. The Department has also proven increasingly able to secure competitive funding (see “Key figures” below). Moreover, the DCEXS has been a pioneer in creating programmes for postdoctoral and PhD researchers to get the basic knowledge and skills used in university teaching. It will enhance their working opportunities in academic institutions worldwide by having participated in the Teaching Mentorship Programme (TMP) for young postdoctoral researchers or the Teaching Training Programme (TTP) for PhD researchers. The Department is located within the PRBB, a large scientific infrastructure housing several public research centres that is moreover physically connected to Barcelona’s Hospital del Mar, making it one of the largest biomedical research hubs in southern Europe. The seven centres located at the park conduct outstanding research in a wide variety of fields. Together, they provide a critical mass of 1,400 people from 55 different countries, a total R&D budget of approximately €80 M per year, and cutting-edge scientific equipment. In 2015 the Department was awarded with the “María de Maeztu” Unit of Excellence. Likewise, in 2012 the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), a UPF joint initiative also located at the PRBB, obtained a “Severo Ochoa” distinction. Both the María de Maeztu and the Severo Ochoa programmes are funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness. Their aim is to accredit public research centres and units in any field in which they demonstrate scientific leadership and can have a global impact whilst at the same time actively collaborating in their social and business environment.

Key figures —— Horizon 2020:[1] €12.3 million / 17 projects —— 1 ERC grants —— 3 Marie Curie actions —— Spanish R&D and Innovation Plan:[2] €11.2 million / 55 projects —— International teaching staff:[3] 11% —— ICREA research professors:[4] 7 —— 1 Maria de Maeztu accreditation (DCEXS) —— Theses defended in English: 89% (2017-2018) —— 7 industrial PhD projects funded by the catalan government (20132018)

Data refer to the 2014-2018 period only. They include individual and consortia projects. [2] Data refer to the 2014-2017 period. [3] Data as January 2017. [4] The Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies (ICREA) offers permanent tenured positions at Catalan host institutions to top researchers from around the world. [1]

Research programmes —— Cell and Molecular Biology. This research programme focuses on the molecules within cells, the interactions between them and the roles they play in the function of individual cells and living organisms. The programme spans a broad range of disciplines, including cell and molecular biology, physiology, genomics, microbiology, immunology, neurobiology and pathology. —— The Molecular Medicine Programme comprises several research groups with diverse, but overlapping scientific interests aimed at deciphering the molecular mechanisms that underlie physiological pathways and the diseases associated with them. Normal and pathological processes are studied from different disciplines (molecular biology, immunology, biochemistry, proteomics, and neurobiology) using single- and multicell model organisms. This enriched and diverse scientific environment and a superb spectrum of state-of-the-art methodologies make the Molecular Medicine Programme an exceptional training ground for undergraduate students, postgraduate students and postdoctoral fellows alike, who, in turn, contribute to the programme’s vitality. —— The Evolutionary Biology and Complex Systems Programme (EBCSP) is composed of different interdisciplinary groups focused on the study of the processes and mechanisms responsible for all aspects of the diversity of life, especially the ones related to its complexity. The research covers a wide range of natural and artificial elements from single genes, molecules, pathways, cells and genomes to organisms, populations, species and entire ecosystems. —— The Research Programme on Biomedical Informatics (GRIB) is a joint research programme of the IMIM-Hospital del Mar Research Institute and UPF. It conducts basic research and pursues technological developments in the application of advanced information technology and computational methods in the health and life sciences. —— The scientific goal of the Genetics and Neurosciences Programme (GNP) is to understand the genetic and molecular basis of the development, function and disease of the nervous system. The programme covers three main areas: developmental neurobiology, genetics of cognitive functions, and neuropharmacology. —— The research groups comprising the Systems Bioengineering Programme seek to acquire and interpret quantitative knowledge of biological processes using systems-level approaches and to use this knowledge to control and act upon cells and their environment. In pursuit of this vision, the SBE programme employs an interdisciplinary approach combining cell and molecular systems biology, synthetic biology, computational and mathematical modelling, biophysics, biomaterials, and nanobiomedicine. —— The Transversal Programme comprises research groups focused on three areas: public health, education in health sciences, and science communication. On the one hand, it is involved in epidemiological research on occupational, environmental, and social health determinants and research to provide scientific knowledge that is relevant for public health action in order to reduce health inequalities. On the other hand, it conducts educational research in order to improve teaching’s quality in health and life sciences. Finally, this programme also aims to bring closer together society and science, conducting research and developing initiatives of science communication and public engagement.

Science and society The DCEXS/Faculty has a commitment to society and local community and has launched initiatives in order to align scientific excellence with social challenges and values through public dialogue like “La Facultat al Barri” and Scientific Cafes. It also aims at encouraging scientific vocations and fostering new talent for science and innovation through the organization of activities focused on young students.

In the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, internationalization efforts have focused on research, particularly on European and international projects, and on creating a pool of talent.

International agreements

The many international joint projects and cross-border ties between research groups include, among others, the Faculty’s partnership with the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University. Indeed, the Faculty’s master’s degree in Public Health has been awarded the quality label for internationalization by the Catalan University Quality Assurance Agency (AQU Catalunya). The Faculty of Health and Life Sciences is committed to training globally competent professionals with a passion for research. In order to create mobility opportunities for its bachelor students, it has signed international exchange agreements with 15 partner universities in 11 countries. Students can also expand the geographical scope of their mobility to the United States or Australia under university-wide agreements or go abroad for shorter periods of time via lab placements and internships. Some of the Faculty’s Erasmus+ partners include the following top universities in the field: —— —— —— —— —— —— ——

Pierre et Marie Curie (France) Bologna (Italy) Tubingen (Germany) Linköping (Sweden) Amsterdam & Radboud (the Netherlands) Surrey (United Kingdom) (…)

The Faculty’s international reputation for research in certain niche areas also attracts junior and senior researchers to UPF. In this regard, 30% of its PhD candidates are international, mainly from elsewhere in Europe. The same strategy and trend can be found among postdoctoral students and more senior researchers. As a result of its selective recruitment policy, the Faculty has created a promising pipeline and solid foundations to further internationalize both research and training activities.

UPF appears on some of the most influential global rankings:

Global rankings and results by subject

—— 1st Spanish university, 135th worldwide and 58th in Europe (Times Higher Education ranking, 2019) —— 11th highest ranked university worldwide among universities aged 50 and under (Times Higher Education Young Universities Ranking, 2018) —— 2nd university in Spain and among the top 250 universities in the world (Shanghai ranking, 2018) The










—— 28th in the world in public health (Shanghai ranking, 2018) —— Among the top 75 in the world in biotechnology (Shanghai ranking, 2018) —— Among the top 100 in the world in biological sciences (Shanghai ranking, 2018) —— Among the top 150 in the world in clinical, pre-clinical and health studies (Times Higher Education ranking, 2019) —— Among the top 150 in the world in medical technology (Shanghai ranking, 2018) —— Among the top 200 in the world in pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences (Shanghai ranking, 2018) —— Among the top 300 in the world in human biological sciences and in clinical medicine (Shanghai ranking, 2018) —— Among the top 300 in the world in byology and medicine (QS, 2019)

The bachelor’s degree in Human Biology is especially designed to enable graduates to work professionally in three major fields: the pharmaceutical and biotechnological industry, clinical laboratories and biomedical research.

The bachelor’s degree in Medicine is offered jointly with the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB). It is characterized by a strong relationship between biomedical research and clinical practice and a unique location home to leading health facilities connected to Hospital del Mar and the PRBB.

The bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering is an interdisciplinary programme that provides education in the fields of biomedicine, technology and biomedical computational modelling.

The bachelor’s degree in Bioinformatics is an interuniversity programme (UPF, University of Barcelona and Polytechnic University of Catalonia) that offers comprehensive education and training delivered through computing and science subjects with a solid grounding in biology.

The master’s degree in Bioinformatics for Health Sciences is designed to provide professionals with skills and abilities geared towards the development of new computational strategies and IT systems for use in biomedical research.

The master’s degree in Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Industry aims to provide students with training related to companies that carry out research on medicines and biotechnology products for preventing and treating human diseases.

The master’s degree in Clinical Analysis Laboratory focuses on the application of laboratory techniques for clinical diagnosis and presymptomatic and predisposition testing.

The master’s degree in Biomedical Research focuses on the study of the molecular, cellular, physiological and evolutionary foundations of biological processes and their pathological or adaptive alterations. It is primarily aimed at students seeking to pursue doctoral studies in different areas of biomedicine.

The primary objective of the master’s degree in Public Health is to enable students to understand health and disease processes and their determinants from the point of view of the population and address health issues by means of collective interventions to promote, protect and restore health.

The master’s degree in Multidisciplinary Research in Experimental Sciences, jointly organized by UPF (coordinator) and the Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology (BIST), is designed to provide outstanding students with the skills and abilities they need to thrive in an increasingly multidisciplinary contemporary research environment.

The PhD programme in Biomedicine, multidisciplinary research projects performed in a collaborative international environment.

April 2019