UPF Art Track: symbiosis of university and culture
‘The humanities are the most universal field’
Philanthropy and patronage: in search of new resources
DETAIL OF LITA CABELLUT’S COMMEMORATIVE POSTER FOR THE 2016-2017 ACADEMIC YEAR.
The Pompeu Fabra University magazine / No. 12 / September 2016
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Rector of UPF
UPF OPENS ITS ARTISTIC HERITAGE TO SOCIETY
PF is a public, international, research-intensive university that strives to offer its students the highest-quality education. Our university project is based on creating, preserving and disseminating knowledge. At the same time, we work to gain social relevance and recognition. The university must interact with society from all points of view. Throughout this term, we have made a considerable effort to do so: taking into account and seeking to meet the teaching and research needs of our community, whilst endeavouring to narrow the gap between it and the work we do.
The area of culture has been no exception. The university must cultivate culture with the same energy with which it ensures academic quality and competitiveness. Reality has shown that whilst the concepts of ‘university’ and ‘culture’ may be similar, they are not always synonymous. In recent years, we have devoted special attention to strengthening UPF’s sociocultural outreach, championing the virtues of the humanities and the academic concepts specific to them from all angles, not only with regard to the arts or literature,
but also sensitivity, heterogeneous thought, creativity, and multidisciplinary knowledge. We have additionally made an effort to promote and consolidate the backing and support of institutions and companies around the word with which we hope to pursue binding, benchmark relationships.
The launch of UPF Art Track is a product of this effort and an original way of linking the university, art and culture. In honour of its 25th anniversary, UPF has opened its artistic heritage to the public for the first time, through a tour of the most iconic buildings on the Ciutadella campus. Miquel Barceló, Susana Solano, Eduardo Chillida, Antonio Saura, Roy Lichtenstein, Frederic Amat, Josep Guinovart, Albert Ràfols-Casamada and Antoni Tàpies are just some of the contemporary artists who form part of the history of this university and who, through their creations, have enriched and expanded its heritage. During the tour, participants will be able to visit spaces such as Tàpies’s Reflection Room or the Dipòsit de les Aigües building, whose dimensions were calculated by Antoni Gaudí. I encourage you to take this art tour and, in so doing, get to know our university a little better.
Written, produced and edited by the Institutional Communication and Promotion Unit (Rector’s Office). Plaça de la Mercè, 10-12. 08002 Barcelona. Tel.: 93 542 20 00. http://www.UPF.edu/ E-mail: gabinet.rectorat@UPF.edu ISSN 2014-0630.
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UPF ART TRACK, a symbiosis of university and culture ‘This proto-museum, this new artistic initiative, is an invitation to citizens from around the world to come and discover that the university is open to society.’ With these powerful words, Jaume Casals, rector of UPF, described the ultimate goal of the launch of UPF Art Track, a tour of the Ciutadella campus intended to showcase the in-
stitution’s artistic heritage. Inaugurated on 17 May, to coincide with the celebration of International Museum Day the next day, the proposal was the brainchild of Javier Aparicio Maydeu, a professor of Spanish literature in the Department of Humanities at UPF and the rector’s delegate for culture. It took off in the context of the
university’s 25th anniversary. According to Aparicio, the initiative is intended to link ‘the university, culture and art, areas that are often presented as unrelated’. UPF Art Track ‘offers visitors a truly original experience, surrounded by academic life and bustling libraries’, he explained. The project consists of an interdis-
ciplinary art tour ‘that encourages introspection and rejects exhibitionism and which will grow as a result of the university and its visitors’, he said. The seed for the proposal dates back to the very founding of the university and the idea of then rector Enric Argullol to associate it with quality architecture and art. This was achieved in part by recovering several emblematic spaces in the city, such as the Ciutadella military barracks, and by starting the collection of paintings that have illustrated the commemorative posters for each new academic year, such as that featured on the cover of this magazine. Twenty-five years on, some of these
spaces are now being reopened to the public and access is being provided to others, all with a view to ‘being a cultural institution in itself’, explained Casals, ‘and of achieving one of the most important goals of a modern university: not to become an impregnable fortress or unbreachable wall.’
A circuit showcasing multiple artistic and architectural gems UPF Art Track offers people access to three of the university’s most prized artistic gems: Antoni Tàpies’s Reflection Room, the tour’s nerve centre and one of the world’s only secular chapels; the collection of contemporary art that
various internationally acclaimed artists have donated to the university; and the Dipòsit de les Aigües building, which houses UPF’s General Library. UPF Art Track is located on the Ciutadella campus. It begins in the Roger de Llúria building, an old military barrack that was renovated, in 2000, by the architects Josep Maria Martorell, Oriol Bohigas and David Mackay. A spectacular building with a built-up area of more than 5,000 m2, it has glass façades and a covered patio whose aluminium, glass and iron roof modulates the natural light. This space is home to the democratic memorial, which pays tribute to the nearly 120 professors, including Pompeu Fabra himself, who were separated from the Catalan university system at the start of General Franco’s dictatorship. Designed by the architects Josep Maria Martorell, Oriol Bohigas, David Mackay, Enric Satué and Josep Maria Civit, it consists of a circular glass box inscribed with the
1. UPF’s contemporary art collection. 2. Cantata by Susana Solano. eva guillamet 3. Democratic memorial. frederic camallonga 4. Antoni Tàpies’s Reflection Room. frederic camallonga
‘There are few places in the world, at least in Europe, able to offer not only the work, the finished artistic product, but also a video of the creative process’, said Javier Aparicio Maydeu. Over five hours of film were edited to produce a fascinating nine-minute short showing Antoni Tàpies during the Reflection Room’s construction. ‘Tàpies speaking with visitors, engaging in dialogues with his own work, taking decisions, getting angry,’ he explained, ‘all against a noisy backdrop of drills, radial arm saws and electric screwdrivers. Tàpies painting, arranging his elements, considering the space itself and its intended purpose of encouraging introspection, rapture’. According to Carles Guerra, director of the Antoni Tàpies Foundation, ‘The work created at UPF is a space for meditation that eschews religious connotations in favour of human ones, inviting visitors to rediscover themselves.’
06 upf.edu professors’ names, which are illuminated by a permanent beam of light that that moves in clockwise circles. At the heart of the campus, following the route through the conserved vaulted ceilings of the former late 19th-century military building, visitors enter the Tàpies Space, the epicentre of UPF Art Track. The first room, devoted to the artist Antoni Tàpies, features one of his most original works, a 1990 painting on canvas, and the back thereof, that wraps around the sides of the stretch-
An all-star cast of patrons
The aim is to link the university, culture and art, concepts that are often presented as unrelated er; it is also home to a representative painting by Antonio Saura, a portrait from 1993. Both works are part of the art collection the university has built through the commissioning of commemorative posters for each new academic year. The most outstanding works in this collection of paintings that UPF began the year it was founded are displayed on a monitor, which has been placed on an easel to momentarily lend the space the air of a workshop. The monitor shows works by some of the most prestigious contemporary Catalan and Spanish painters: Tàpies, Ràfols-Casamada, Guinovart, Perico Pastor, Miquel Barceló, Chillida, Saura, Soledad Sevilla, Perejaume, Frederic Amat and Susana Solano, amongst others. Visitors then proceed to an intermediate space, where they can watch a video of Tàpies designing the Reflection Room. This gives way to the Reflection Room itself, conceived of by Tàpies as a sort of secular chapel, located in a cubic underground crypt measuring more than 500 m3 and made of concrete. The chamber is presided over by his three-by-five metre Diptych of the Bell (1991); an illuminated upright iron column rises from a steel girder that crosses the singular, extraordinary space, which is submerged
From left to right: Xavier Antich, Pepe Serra, Jaume Casals, Rosa Maria Malet, Bernardo Laniado-Romero, Javier Aparicio Maydeu and Miguel Zugaza. eva guillamet
The opening ceremony brought together the directors of six leading museums in Barcelona and Madrid, none of whom wanted to miss the premier of this singular proposal. They included Miguel Zugaza, director of the Prado Museum; Pepe Serra, director of the National Art Museum of Catalonia (MNAC); Rosa Maria Malet, director of the Joan Miró Foundation; Bernardo Laniado-Romero, director of the Picasso Museum; Vicenç Villatoro, director of the Barcelona Centre for Contemporary Culture (CCCB); and Xavier Antich and Carles Guerra, president of the board of trustees and director
of the Antoni Tàpies Foundation, respectively. Their presence underscored the importance of the proposal for the city of Barcelona and for the world of culture and art in particular. After taking the tour, Miguel Zugaza said, ‘We are used to seeing art only at museums. UPF Art Track gives us the chance to see it in a different context.’ He stressed his admiration for the initiative, ending with a word of advice: ‘Do not ever turn into a museum. Therein lies the originality of this initiative: it is important to keep adding new pieces of value to the route within the context of the university.’
in silence and symbolic intensity. UPF Art Track ends at the stunning Dipòsit de les Aigües building, designed in 1874, at the height of Catalan modernism, by the master builder Josep Fontserè, manager of the entire area of the old military citadel. A then budding architecture student by the name of Antoni Gaudí performed the static calculations for the tank and support elements. The interior, a hypostyle hall, features 100 pillars that make up a maze of arches 14 metres high. The structure was most likely inspired by one of the most important Roman buildings in southern
Italy, the Piscina Mirabilis in Naples, and, especially, by the Basilica Cistern in Istanbul commissioned by Emperor Justinian. Finally, visitors can enjoy two exceptional outdoor sculptures. Cantata (2013), an installation by Susan Solano, pays tribute to the philosopher and UPF professor Eugenio Trias. The 20 metre band of stainless steel is die-cut in a way reminiscent of a frieze with the words of the sole Spanish Nietzsche laureate: ‘To write, to paint, to create or produce forms, masks: that is to live again and at a greater height…’. Mean-
while, Alfonso Alzamora’s sculpture The Ladder of Understanding (2016), donated by the Vila Casas Foundation, is the Barcelona-based artist’s special contribution to the Year of Ramon Llull, being celebrated this year. For now, guided tours are being offered on Wednesdays, at 11 am and 5 pm, and at other times by request, depending on availability. The aim, in future, is to expand the opening of the spaces as much as possible and to incorporate new works that enrich the circuit further. The guides are humanities students from the university who have specifically prepared for the occasion. Thus, the initiative is not only a window open to the world, but also a chance for future professionals in the sector to train and gain work experience in their field. Ona Anglada is one such student. According to Anglada, ‘Opening these spaces prevents UPF from sealing itself off from the public.’ Through her experience as a tour guide, she says she has also learned a lot from the visitors: ‘Men
It is an invitation to citizens from around the word to discover that UPF is open to society
1. The Ladder of Understanding by Alfons Alzamora. eva guillamet 2. The Dipòsit de les Aigües building. simón garcía
who had gone to the Ciutadella campus to pick up their rucksacks before beginning their military service, architects who know a lot about the buildings, people who ask you things you never thought about… They force you to do research to improve the tour.’ Vignesh Tolu Melwani says that participating in the project has shown him that ‘you do not have to go far to interact with works by the most important artists; we study and go to class surrounded by a large number of them’. UPF Art Track has the backing of the City of Barcelona, the Catalan Ministry of Culture, the Catalan National Council of Culture and the Arts, the Antoni Tàpies Foundation, and the company ESPON. It will also be part of the Barcelona Contemporary Art Circuit.
PROFESSOR IN THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMANITIES AT UPF
‘When you experience things from the inside, it is harder not to be radical’ tamara djermanovic (Belgrade,
1965) is a professor in the Department of Humanities and the coordinator of the Slavic Studies Seminar at the UPF Institute of Culture (IUC). In the 2015-2016 academic year, she coordinated the Dialogues in the Humanities series and the ‘Sapere aude’ (Dare to think for yourself) exhibition within the context of the commemorative events for UPF’s 25th anniversary.
— How would you assess the Dialogues in the Humanities series? — It was a success. Each of the dialogues drew between 150 and 370 people. The aim was to offer students from all fields access to humanistic content through a dialogue between a humanities professor and an expert from another discipline, always on a current social issue. However, we also opened the doors to the entire university community and to society at large. I am very pleased with the atmosphere of positive energy created and with the diverse public we attracted. A lot of people have thanked me for this initiative, and we hope to continue it this academic year, with the same format.
— Should we be showcasing culture more? — Sometimes, in the humanities, we complain that we are underappreciated; we have to show that we have things to share, too. It seems like we are less secure; we feel like we are dealing with more ephemeral things than other disciplines. But literature and
philosophy, for example, also matter. The humanities are the most universal field, the one we all need most. Sometimes, professors from the university travel the world giving talks, yet we don’t have the opportunity to hear them speak here at home. We wanted to get rid of that contradiction.
— What made you choose the Ciutadella-Vila Olímpica Metro stop as the venue for the ‘Sapere aude’ exhibition? — ‘Sapere aude’ (Dare to think for yourself) is a selection of quotes by major thinkers from all eras on the importance of education and knowledge. We wanted them to reach as many citizens of Barcelona and tourists as possible, and where better to do that than in the underground? People need to know that, in addition to the zoo and the beach, this neighbourhood is home to UPF, and we offered them a taste of what we teach in the classrooms. It is another way of sharing the university with society, in a multicultural and multilingual setting.
— What do UPF students gain by studying Slavic culture? — In the subjects I teach in the Faculty of Humanities, I talk about classic 20th-century Russian literature and traditional Russian aesthetics, beginning with icons and ending with film. I try to provide my students with keys to understanding current Russian culture and reality. Take Tarkovsky, for example, a filmmaker whose work verges on poetry, with an astounding perfection of the image. He made films of incredible beauty, and stu-
dents thank me for introducing them to him, because watching one of his films allows them to experience a sort of spiritual communication we seldom have the chance to enjoy today.
— Has the relationship between East and West improved over the years? — If we are talking about Russian culture, the largest of the Slavic cultures, and the rivalry or quarrel between Russia and the West, I think it will always be an issue. They are two worlds that do not truly communicate with each oth-
sian and Slavic culture, but the lack of communication remains. You cannot come to understand Russia, Spain or Catalonia if you are biased from the start. You need to be open-minded. If you seek only to understand the conflicts based on the parameters you have internalized, you are highly unlikely to succeed. Too many historical realities, too many cultural, anthropological and even psychological and mental aspects, come into play.
— Are the wounds from the Balkan wars gradually healing? — The Western Balkans have always been a region in which not more than thirty years go by without a major conflict; they stand at a crossroads between East and West. History tells us some circles repeat themselves, sending off sparks that too easily ignite conflicts and fratricidal wars. Just as the wounds of WWII seemed to have finally healed, the economic crisis of the 1990s breathed new life into nationalist discourses, and the people took to them quite readily, which is something you are less likely to do when you feel your life is sorted out. Today, Bosnia is once again in the throes of a major crisis, Serbia has a very populist government, etc. There is a lot of corruption and instability. People say, ‘We just want to live a normal life’, but there are no visionary, forward-thinking politicians doing the right things to enable that.
— What is your take on the conflict between Russia and Ukraine? Frederic Camallonga
er; there is always a sort of underlying incomprehension that does not evolve. Look at Dostoyevsky, who, in the 19th century, spent years living in the West and dealing with this issue. Today, more and more people are interested in Rus-
‘I am very pleased with the positive energy created and the diverse public that attended the Dialogues in the Humanities’
— The situation there is even more contradictory. I have been travelling to Russia a lot for work since 1996. When I’m in Moscow, I see an increasingly splendid city, brimming with big cafés, academic institutions, museums, etc. But when you speak to the people, they tell you that it is all a façade, designed by Putin to impress the world, and that his policies are despotic. I have pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian friends; most of them tell you things they have seen from the inside, and you can see what happened in the former Yugoslavia happening again. All of them are right to a certain extent, but they are speak-
upf.edu 09 ing from their gut based on personal experience; they lack an objective perspective. I, like most everyone else who lives in those countries, I’m sure, never imagined that Russia and Ukraine, considered Slavic brothers, would be at war. I find it appalling to think that political and economic interests have led us to this point.
— What can be done to solve the refugee crisis? — Given the helplessness and despair many of us feel as a result of this situation, I have come to the conclusion that we can each do our part, even if it is a small one. UPF, as an institution, can also help. Amongst other projects, at my proposal, the Office of the Vice-rector for Social Responsibility and Promotion is in the process of creating a grant to enable a Syrian refugee to come to UPF to study the master’s programme in Immigration Management.
— Why is it so hard to learn from our mistakes? — When you have had a complicated life experience, such as I have, you relativize. I feel very far removed from any sort of fanaticism or radicalism. For me, what matters, what makes sense, is friendship, loving what I do, sharing, explaining aspects of Slavic culture. In the end, we don’t learn from our mistakes, but rather from suffering. The Greeks knew that through suffering comes knowledge. When I travel through the Balkans, I see twenty-something students who seem much older than ours, because they have had harsher experiences and lives. The way I explain the Balkan conflict is shaped by the fact that I left the region and came to Catalonia. When you experience things from the inside, it is harder not to be radical.
She likes: the sea a musician: Atahualpa Yupanqui a book: The Master and Margarita,
by Mikhail Bulgakov a value: generosity she doesn’t like: envy
Philanthropy and patronage: in search of new resources for the university UPF launches the UPFund programme to diversify its sources of funding and forge links with potential donors In 2015, UPF launched the UPFund - Sponsorship and Patronage programme with the aim of diversifying its sources of income and obtaining additional resources that, in a context of budget constraints, would make it possible to maintain the university model. According to Jaume Badia, manager of UPF and one of the people behind the initiative, ‘The launch of UPFund is important, because it is an essential first step: it will lay the groundwork for forging bonds and partnerships with potential donors.’ Traditionally, fundraising programmes at Spanish universities have been few and far between and heavily concentrated at private institutions and business schools. ‘The lack of references allowed us to design the programme almost from scratch’, explained Pau Fernández, the UPFund director. ‘We have learned that donors do not want to give to the university generically, but rather to specific projects and causes’, he continued. ‘They have to know what their donation is being used for at all times.’ In this regard, transparency, accountability, thanks, and donor recognition are the cornerstones of UPFund. The tax benefits of donating are an important and largely unknown aspect for much of the general public. As of 2016, donors can deduct up to 75% or 35% of the first €150 of their donation, depending on whether they are a physical or legal person. ‘Despite the improvements in the law, if the aim is truly to promote the construction of a culture of patronage and philanthro-
CHANGES IN THE TAXATION OF DONATIONS Individuals
You can deduct 75% of your donations to the university, up to a maximum donation of €150
You can also deduct 30% of the portion of your donation in excess of €150
If it is moreover the third year that you have donated an equal or greater amount, instead of 30%, you will be able to deduct 35% of the portion in excess of €150
DONATIONS IN GENERAL
You can deduct 35% of the total value of your donations to the university from your gross corporate income tax
BENEFITS FOR REGULAR DONORS
If it is the third year that you have donated an equal or greater amount, you can deduct 40% of the amount of your donation from your corporate income tax
Any amount donated under a corporate cooperation agreement to activities of general interest will be considered a deductible expense for the purposes of taxable income
* IN ALL CASES, THE DEDUCTION IS LIMITED TO 10% OF ALL TAXABLE INCOME
py that today is virtually non-existent, it remains clearly insufficient and offers few incentives’, Badia said. For instance, there is room for improve-
ment in the additional deductions the Catalan government allows taxpayers to take for donations to institutes and research centres, but not to uni-
versities. ‘Obviously, universities also conduct quality research. It seems incongruous that, for tax purposes, this activity is not treated the same way’, Badia pointed out. ‘Although’, he added, ‘I know that the current directors of the Catalan Secretariat for Universities and Research agree on this point.’
What are the donations used for? The UPFund programme is aimed at both individual and corporate donors and is organized around six types of projects. Special projects comprise innovative, strategic and multidisciplinary initiatives. Many of the activities organized in honour of UPF’s 25th anniversary fall into this category, such as the 1st Alumni Meeting, the inauguration of UPF Art Track, or the holding of the Young Universities Summit with Times Higher Education. Other recent projects in this group include the promotion of the Pompeu Fabra Chair, the restoration of the Dipòsit de les Aigües building, and the reinstallation of a mural by Perico Pastor. Research projects include initiatives in all fields of knowledge that would benefit from external funding. The UPF Knowledge portal makes it possible to filter these initiatives by area of knowledge and research group. Company chairs focus on disseminating knowledge on a given topic of interest to both the university and a company to the community at large and are intended to promote long-term partnerships, as they reflect the interests, challenges and needs of both institutions. The UPF Scholarship Fund is a new instrument that will allow the university to supplement and increase the volume of resources currently allocated to its various scholarship programmes, such as grants for students facing unexpected financial hardship; the stipend programme, which provides an additional grant in the form of a stipend to supplement the Equity grants awarded to students in economically precarious situations; or tuition waivers for students who graduate with top honours in secondary school. Solidarity projects make it possible to fund charita-
Why give to UPF?
Rita Wing ‘To build a free and ethical society, we need to promote disciplines such as the humanities’ Her donation was used to finance full tuition for a student on the master’s programme on International Studies on Media, Power and Difference.
Maria Lluïsa Pachán ‘Global progress depends on scientific advances’ Her donations to the CEXS have made it possible to finance PhD scholarships and acquire cutting-edge scientific equipment, such as a DNA sequencer.
ble, social entrepreneurship, development cooperation, and volunteering initiatives. Finally, the international projects being prepared will make it possible to promote the university’s internationalization in various fields.
Scholarship campaign targeting alumni This September, the Alumni programme launched a fundraising campaign for the UPF Scholarship Fund. For Anaís Tarragó, deputy director general of the UPF Foundation and one of the initiative’s sponsors, ‘Alumni collaboration is important, because alumni know what it means to study and enjoy the experience at UPF. They are thus our best ambassadors. With the slogan “Give talent a chance”, we want our alumni to be able to give
Associació Pompeu Farra Its donation went to the scholarship programme for students in situations of hardship, aimed at students who face significant financial difficulties to pay all or part of the cost of tuition.
Antonio Gallardo ‘The effort put in by these researchers, often in war-torn regions, has to be recognized’ His donation was earmarked for the Archaeology Laboratory, which is working on an excavation in the city of Tyre, in southern Lebanon.
someone else the opportunity to enjoy the same experience they did.’ Throughout the campaign, alumni will be informed of the tax benefits of donating. An annual donation of €150 to the scholarship fund will cost donors only €37.50, since the remaining €112.50 is tax-deductible. According to Tarragó, ‘This donation amounts to just over 10 cents a day, 10 cents that can give an opportunity to a talented individual who would otherwise not have it.’
PROFESSOR IN THE DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMICS AND BUSINESS AT UPF AND DIRECTOR OF THE RESEARCH CENTRE FOR INTERNATIONAL ECONOMICS
‘The economy no longer responds to stimuli, because they have been exhausted’ Jordi Galí (Barcelona, 1961) is the
director of the Research Centre for International Economics (CREI), linked to the Catalan government and UPF, and a consultant for the European Central Bank. His research is focused on macroeconomic theory and monetary policy.
— Economists are often accused of having failed to predict the crisis. — It is a common accusation, although not entirely accurate. It is impossible to predict a crisis; there are so many factors completely beyond economists’ control. Of course, there are a number of observable indicators that might point to a high likelihood of an economic crisis in the more or less immediate future. Empirical evidence points to two key indicators: very strong growth in bank lending, accompanied by a disproportionate increase in the price of a given asset that is important for the economy as a whole. In Spain’s case, it was the price of real estate. The problem is more one of public authorities. It is very difficult for governments to put an end to a situation like that, because everyone seems to be coming out ahead.
— Are we emerging? — We have overcome the initial financial crisis. Many of the tensions that existed in the interbank markets and
the global mistrust of banks have abated. Additionally, the market for public debt has normalized. In the eurozone, the situation is more normal now than before the crisis, when the spreads between countries were practically zero. All the countries seemed to be equally creditworthy, which was obviously not the case. However, we are in a different situation from before the crisis, because the growth rate is much lower than what it was ten or twenty years ago. It is a new situation that may last quite a long time, what is known as ‘secular stagnation’. Economic policymakers continue to view it as an anomaly that should be addressed with stimuli, but the economy no longer responds to these stimuli because they have been exhausted. Central banks do not know what to do; interest rates are near zero in most advanced countries; there is little room for manoeuvre in terms of fiscal policy, because countries are so indebted. Most problematic of all is that this is not a short-term situation; it is something we need to get used to.
— How might Brexit affect things? — Brexit is a ticking bomb; it remains to be seen of what magnitude. Clearly, it is a headache from an institutional point of view, as it will require a whole series of changes, which will be very expensive to make. That said, it is not the end of the world. The US has many re-
strictions regarding who can enter the country, and it is not considered an obstacle to the global economy. From a more pro-Europe perspective, it may be a good thing that the British have left. In a certain sense, they had always been an impediment to true European integration. Those of us who remain now have more room to deepen the political integration, although not everyone is equally excited by the prospect.
— As a consultant for the European Central Bank, can you tell us how the ECB is coping with Brexit? — The ECB is more concerned with other things than Brexit, such as the status of certain banks in the eurozone, specifically, the Italian banks, which are on the brink. I would not be surprised to see some sort of intervention in the form of a bailout. Now that could have major implications for the EU economy.
upf.edu 13 that it largely serves as an apologia for capitalism. I think that is entirely misguided, because most modern economic theory seeks to identify market imperfections, flaws in the functioning of the economy, and to analyse what types of government interventions can address them. The vast majority of what we do is to present, analyse and discuss deviations from the ideal economic scenario, which does not exist. What is true is that we do not spend much time studying alternative economic systems, given that they are of limited interest right now because they have gradually disappeared. Take the case of North Korea and Cuba. It may be of theoretical interest, but it has little practical relevance.
— You have sought to bridge the gap with secondary education through the ‘Bojos per l’Economia’ (Mad about Economics) programme.
— What is the aim of your research, which has been awarded an ERC Advanced Grant? — I am researching how monetary policy, interest rates, should respond to the existence of a speculative bubble in an asset market. It’s interesting, because the models economists and central banks use do not provide for this possibility. Under the current models, it is impossible for such a bubble to arise, for asset prices to evolve beyond whatever is justified by the dividends they generate. I’m trying to figure out how to modify these models to allow for the possible emergence of these bubbles and to study what types of monetary policies are more or less desirable when such phenomena occur.
— You have taught in the US. What differences are there with regard to our system? — At the doctoral level, none. UPF’s
programmes are absolutely comparable to a PhD programme at a good American school, in terms of recruiting talented and international students, size, curriculum, etc. The fact that many of our alumni end up getting very good jobs at universities such as Stanford, the University of Chicago, or Boccioni, or at international organizations, such as the ECB or the US Federal Reserve, bears witness to that. The undergraduate programme is quite different, because there is much less specialization there. Here, students end up taking many economics courses and are thus very well prepared, better than at American universities.
— Lately we have seen the emergence of the post-crash current, which is critical with the training in economics offered at universities. — Some critics claim that the type of economics being taught is neoliberal or
— Yes, and it has been a very positive experience. It is part of a broader programme sponsored by the Catalunya-La Pedrera Foundation. The aim is to bring together bright, motivated young people in their second year of high school who are especially interested in economics but are not satisfied with the training they receive at their schools. They come for eight Saturdays, and each session features a presentation by a renowned lecturer from the university. The idea is for them to acquire a different perspective. We talk about issues such as economics and armed conflicts, economics and happiness, economic experiments, etc.
— Do secondary school students need more training? — Many of them have deficient quantitative training. For several years now, students do not need to have passed normal mathematics to enrol on economics, but rather mathematics for social sciences, which are less rigorous. Those students coming from technological or scientific secondary school tracks, which include more advanced mathematics, find it much easier. I would give priority to students who have a stronger background in mathematics.
Esteve and NeuroPhar, united against chronic pain The pharmaceutical company Esteve and UPF’s Neuropharmacology Laboratory (NeuroPhar) have strengthened their partnership through the creation of the Esteve-UPF Joint R&D Unit, which will focus on the discovery of new analgesics. One in every five Europeans suffers from chronic pain, a condition for which there is currently no effective treatment. In addition to affect-
From left to right: Carlos Plata, José Miguel Vela and Rafael Maldonado. Frederic Camallonga
ing the everyday lives of those who suffer from it, chronic pain also poses a burden to the European economy; the associated healthcare costs are
estimated at more than €34 billion a year. In this context, and with the aim of discovering new treatments for the condition, the company Esteve and
the UPF Neuropharmacology Laboratory (NeuroPhar) have created the Esteve-UPF Joint R&D Unit. Since it was founded, in 1998, NeuroPhar, which is part of UPF’s Department of Experimental and Health Sciences, has partnered several times with Esteve, a leading Catalan pharmaceutical company, whose strong R&D division is located in Barcelona. The two institutions have teamed up in two consortia within the context of the Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology’s (CDTI’s) CENIT programme, launched in 2006 to stimulate public-private partnerships in industrial research. In 2014, Esteve also joined the European NeuroPain project, which is coordinated
·Innova· by Rafael Maldonado, the director of NeuroPhar. ‘The scientific cooperation with NeuroPhar has been ongoing, synergic and very productive’, explained Carlos Plata, scientific director at Esteve. ‘Now it has taken the form of a joint unit, which will further integrate the work jointly planned and carried out by UPF and Esteve’s Discovery and Preclinical Development team.’ The two institutions’ prior collaborations have already led to significant advances in the field of pain, as reported in six papers published in international journals in recent years. According to Maldonado, ‘The partnership with Esteve has made it possible to carry out new applied research projects, as well as to identify and validate new therapeutic targets for the treatment of chronic pain. One major benefit of the partnership is the access it provides to resources and specific research tools without which these ambitious projects would not be possible.’ Representatives of Esteve – Carlos Plata, scientific director; José Miguel Vela, director of Drug Discovery and Preclinical Development; and Manel Merlos, director of Pharma-
‘The scientific cooperation with NeuroPhar has been ongoing, synergic and very productive’ cology – met last February with representatives of UPF – Francesc Posas, vice-rector for Science Policy and Faculty Affairs; David Comas, director of the Department of Experimental and Health Sciences; Rafael Maldonado, director of NeuroPhar; and Miquel A. Martín, director of the joint unit – for a formal ceremony to sign the agreement to create the unit within the broader context of technology transfer. Under the agreement, five researchers have been contracted to evaluate Esteve’s products in animal pain models. This structure, which
upf.edu 15 is planned to remain in force until at least 2025, begins with annual funding of €375,000, a considerable economic injection for the university and a guarantee of stability, both for the participating researchers and to achieve the stated goals.
In search of new drugs The projects to be carried out as part of this initiative aim to study new therapeutic targets at the preclinical level in order to evaluate new drugs and thus find complementary or alternative strategies for treating chronic pain. The research will primarily focus on neuropathic, osteoarthrosic and inflammatory pain. The Esteve-UPF team will follow various experimental strategies.
‘It is essential to evaluate the affective and cognitive manifestations of symptoms of pain’ First, they will use compounds able to block or activate different receptors or signalling systems in the central nervous system. Second, they will use mice genetically modified to be unable to produce a specific protein, so that they will lack it throughout their life. Finally, the joint unit will provide new models to evaluate the role played by both affective components, such as anxiety and depression, and cognitive ones in the development of pain, as well as study dependency models, which are crucial to ruling out the addictive potential of the prospective drugs. ‘Our research lines make it possible to develop new experimental models to evaluate the different consequences associated with pain’, explained Maldonado. ‘It is essential to evaluate not just the symptoms, but also the affective and cognitive manifestations of pain, as the efficacy of the new drugs we develop largely depends on them. A drug that is unable to effectively combat these manifestations of pain is unlikely to be effective in humans.’
From left to right, Montserrat Espinós, José María Micó and Adela d’Alòs-Moner. Frederic camallonga
Donors: the soul of the university’s library The UPF Library/CRAI’s current collection, which includes more than 600,000 monographs, would not be possible without the selfless bibliographic donations of individuals and organizations. ‘Without donors, the current UPF library would not be what it is today, in terms of quality or quantity.’ So said Montserrat Espinós, director of the UPF Library/CRAI, underscoring the quality and relevance of the donated collections. As part of the events commemorating the university’s 25th anniversary over the course of the 2015-2016
academic year, on 14 April, UPF held a ceremony on the Ciutadella campus to thank its donors. The ceremony was planned to coincide with the inauguration of the exhibition ‘Exclòs de préstec. El fons desconegut de la Biblioteca de la UPF’ (Not for loan: the unknown collection of the UPF Library), which ran from 14 April to 20 May 2016.
Donations account for approximately 40% of the 578,000 physical monographs currently in the Library’s collection, which also includes 31,000 digital monographs, 13,000 collections of physical journals, and 20,000 subscriptions to e-journals. According to Espinós, had it not been for this formula, it is unlikely the institution could have acquired the donated volumes, many of which are quite valuable. Javier Aparicio Maydeu, a professor in the Department of Humanities, director of the UPF-BSM master’s programme in Publishing and Editing, and the rector’s delegate for culture, explained, ‘The books we have at UPF, which is a very young university, are well in excess of what a 25-year-old institution would normally have. In other words, our library is infinitely more valuable than what would typically correspond to a university founded just 25 years ago. The donors, who have a lot to do with that, have performed a miracle: in just a short time,
they have turned a library that should have grown gradually into a very valuable one.’
Donating a private collection to the UPF Library What leads someone to donate his or her collection of books, built over the course of many years and of great personal value, to an institution like UPF? For José María Micó, a professor in the Department of Humanities and the donor of a collection of approximately 12,000 volumes in various stages beginning in 2006 (a collection of extraordinary quality, selected according to rigorous academic criteria), it was a tough decision. ‘I thought about it long and hard, but in the end I did it with great conviction.’ Professor Micó explained his reasons thusly: ‘Some of the works on mediaeval subjects that I had I no longer used, because my research interests had changed. Also, I was swayed by the idea of endowing the library of a public university like UPF with a large selection of 15th- to 17th-century Spanish literature, as well as other European literatures, which is what the collection contains.’ He concluded, ‘I’m thrilled that the university’s library has a Micó Collection, with books that people use and check out, and to see them provide a service, far more so than they did when I had them at home.’ The case of the donation by the Alòs-Moner siblings (Pilar, Maria, Montserrat, Ramon and Adela d’Alòs-Moner i Vila) is a bit different. It is a family library created by their grandfather, Ramon d’Alòs-Moner i de Dou, with contributions from ancestors and, subsequently, his son, Lluís. It was donated in 2010 and consists of some 20,000 volumes, approximately 10% of which date from the 16th through 19th centuries. In terms of subject matter, it is a humanistic collection, largely comprising literature and literary criticism, as well as religious works, with a special focus on books by, and on, Dante Alighieri and Ramon Llull. ‘We asked an expert, Amadeu Pons, at the University of Barcelona (UB), and he told us that, above all, we
Montserrat Espinós: ‘Without donors, the UPF Library would not be what it is today’ Adela d’Alòs-Moner: ‘Pompeu Fabra University offered the best assurances’ José M. Micó: ‘At the library, my books provide a service, far more so than when I had them at home’
upf.edu 17 should make sure the collection was not broken up. UPF was the institution to offer the best assurances in this regard’, explained Adela d’Alòs-Moner, currently president of the Social Library Foundation. ‘It was a library with a large number of documents, and we thought it would be of great interest to make it available to the public. And so a collection that had previously been known only to specialists, in particular, on Dante Alighieri and Ramon Llull, became accessible to all’, she explained. Adela d’Alòs-Moner, who, as a result of her career, is well-versed in the field of libraries, said that this formula is becoming more common. ‘I may be wrong, but I think donations have increased over the years. As investments in libraries have grown and they have come to be able to guarantee services that were not available a few years back, private individuals’ confidence in them has increased.’ Indeed, the world of libraries has undergone significant changes in recent years. With regard to the UPF Library, Espinós described its recent transformation, explaining, ‘Our model has changed. We have become a hybrid library that combines paper and digital formats, as well as a resource centre, which provides services to all the groups in the university community. It has nothing to do with a classical library, whose services were organized around a document storage room.’
The case of Jordi Llovet, a special donation ‘I have donated almost everything I own to UPF: not just my books, which number close to 40,000 volumes, but also my paintings, albums, furniture, etc. I have no heirs and, to paraphrase Walter Benjamin, there is no better destination for a library than a public institution, such as UPF, where everyone can enjoy it.’ This professor emeritus of comparative literature at UB, writer, translator and literary critic noted that ‘UPF has proven it takes good care of the book collections it receives.’
However, this donation, primarily consisting of works on literary theory and criticism, linguistics, history, art history and theory, and philosophy, is special, as it will become effective mortis causa: the library currently remains in Llovet’s possession, but it will be transferred to UPF upon his death, as specified in the notarized document drawn up to this end. ‘For now, I have the books in usufruct, because I could not live without their presence, but all of them will ultimately go to the university’, he said.
HEAD OF THE ACADEMIC MANAGEMENT SERVICE
‘The university’s responsibility is to give students criteria’ coro pozuelo (Sallent, Bages,
1958) has been a member of the UPF administrative and service staff since the university was founded, in 1990. He has been head of the Library and the student information desks (PIEs). As head of the Academic Management Service, he helped oversee the entire adaptation process to the Bologna system.
library was housed in a space – I don’t know if it still exists – that had previously been the Fòrum Vergés conference hall. It wasn’t exactly cosy, but we were so excited that we loved it. I remember we set up the Library, the academic year began, and a few days later we had to take everything back down, because they were holding the opening ceremony for the academic year, in the same place!
has always had is its user orientation and the emphasis it places on offering quality service, to both the teaching staff and students.
— How did you first join the university?
— What other services and buildings have you worked in?
— I studied at the University of Barcelona, first history, and then library and information science. I earned the second degree whilst working at the magazine Integral. In 1988, I took a job with the provincial government of Barcelona’s public library system, where we worked with manual files. In the summer of 1990, I got a call telling me they were holding tests to work at a new university, UPF. I thought it was a good opportunity, and on 1 October 1990, I began to work there as a reference librarian, first on Gran de Gràcia, and then at the Balmes building.
— After Balmes, in 1993, the university opened its facilities at the França building, and I went there as the Library director. It was a very nice period; there was a very good atmosphere. At the end of the 1994/1995 academic year, I returned to Balmes, where I stayed until they closed the building, and in 1996 we moved to the Ciutadella campus, where I was the head librarian. In 2000, the student information desks (PIEs from the Catalan) were put under the Library’s control, and I was tapped to oversee their operation. It was another step in my evolution within the university, because it gave me a very broad view of many things. In 2006, they held a competitive exam for the position of Head of the Academic Management Service, I sat it, and here I am.
—How have the students changed over the years?
— What would you say is one of UPF’s most distinctive traits?
—Has the management of students’ records changed much?
— One of the best things the university
—Since I came to the Academic Man-
— What memories do you have of the early years? Do you have any anecdotes you could share? — I was very excited when I began: it was a new project, and I believed in it at once, like everyone who was there, I suppose. At the Balmes building, the
—UPF students are very bright and intelligent. That has been and remains a constant. Those of us of a certain age have to remember that when we began in 1990, we were all very young, between 22 and 30 years old, more or less, and we felt very close to the students, who were 18. We had only recently been that age ourselves. Now our students are still that age, but we have gotten older, and that changes our perspective of them, it widens the gap between us. I don’t think that students today are more immature; they have changed just as society has. I think that the role of the university is to give them criteria and to teach them to use the tools they have at their disposal well. That is our responsibility.
“The universities that are leading the way, like ours, need to have room to move forward”
agement Service, we have made a major effort to make sure that students have access to their records, which is extremely important, and to provide them with as many self-service, computerized tools as possible, so that they do not have to come in in person. We want students to be independent and, at the same time, to be able to take care of everything they need to do from wherever they might be. That applies to everything except first-year registration, where we specifically have them come in, because we believe in quality service and we want the students to meet us.
— What was the adaptation process to the European Higher Education Area like for you as head of the Academic Management Service? — I arrived in November 2006, and in 2008 we began to launch the new degree programmes, and that was madness. I didn’t know anything about academic management or regulations, and I had to learn as I went along. The changes that were taking place were like a wave you had to ride lest it drag you out to sea, but we did it very well:
we managed to roll out six undergraduate programmes the first year. We had to adapt management software to the new reality, design a system for phasing out old programmes, etc. It was really tough. But we pulled it off, because we had and still have great people.
— What is the line of work in the field of academic management at UPF? — The basic idea is that we are facilitators and, at the same time, that we are a service that makes sure that everything moves in the same direction with regard to the students, that they are all treated the same way, regardless of their degree programme. We have to think about what tools we need to offer the groups we serve: students, teaching staff, centre and department secretariats (now called administrative management units).
— What does UPF’s 25th anniversary conjure for you? — That we are getting old, that’s a reality. That UPF is young, but not as young as it once was. Certain entrenched things and policies may need to be re-
vised. I understand that some people may no longer have the same enthusiasm they had before. Personally, all these years, I’ve been changing jobs, so I have always had to remain mentally on my toes. A lot of us have been here for many years, and renewal is very important. You have to remember that and proceed accordingly. One thing we must not forget is that we all have to work to maintain the quality of the research and teaching.
— What do you think the university will be like in ten years? — We have the human resources and technological potential to achieve a lot of goals, but there are also obstacles that prevent them from being met. If we continue with the kinds of legalistic straightjackets and ministerial regulations we have now, we won’t survive. If we become an independent country, but nevertheless implement an excessive standardization and control of the university, we also will not be able to advance. Therefore, I think that the universities that are leading the way, like ours, need to have room to move forward.
The Barcelona Centre for New Medical Technologies (BCNMedTech) is founded The new unit aims to become a leader in translational research in Europe The Barcelona Centre for New Medical Technologies (BCN-MedTech) was created on 6 July by resolution of the UPF Board of Governors within the university’s Department of Information and Communication Technologies to provide an interdisciplinary and translational platform for research in biomedical engineering. It arose from the conviction that the rapid and exponential development of medical technology must be understood from a comprehensive technological, clinical, social and industrial perspective if it is to have a true impact on the many areas of application in the healthcare sector. The BCN-MedTech unit is made up of five UPF research groups, three of which have been recognized by the Catalan government: PhySense (Sensing in Physiology and Biomedicine), SimBioSys (Simulation, Imaging and Modelling for Biomedical Systems), and MBIOMM (Multiscale and Computational Biomechanics and Mechanobiology). The remaining two are the BERG (Biomedical Electronic Research Group) and NTSA (Nonlinear Time Series Analysis) research groups.
A translational multidisciplinary platform The BCN-MedTech members’ experience with signal processing, imaging, physiology, biomechanics, electronics, biomedical simulations, and computer-assisted surgery will be decisive
in achieving the unit’s goals. The interdisciplinary composition of the research team, made up of nearly forty people, ensures BCN-MedTech’s ability to meet its goals comfortably. Moreover, the industrial and clinical partners’ active participation offers an ideal framework to propose and carry out biomedical applications and new prototypes for clinical practice.
Providing new knowledge through cooperation The new unit’s mission is to provide new knowledge through cooperation between all the member research groups and their joint participation in educational and technology transfer projects. Thus, BCN-MedTech aims to become a European leader in integrative and translational research,
A translational and interdisciplinary platform for research in biomedical engineering offering a new paradigm that combines mathematical and computational models with cutting-edge diagnostic and computer-assisted treatment systems to solve relevant clinical problems and offer innovative products to the healthcare sector. The unit was created based on the notion that progress and advances in medical technology stem from multidisciplinary teamwork through which clinical and
From top to bottom: Bart Bijnens, Jérôme Noailly, Antoni Ivorra, Óscar Cámara, Gemma Piella, Miguel Ángel González Ballester, and Ralph Andrzejak Frederic Camallonga
Integrated research, a common objective BCN-MedTech brings together seven principal investigators with proven track records as researchers and extensive experience in managing goal-oriented research projects in the field of biomedical technologies and imaging. The unit is led by two ICREA researchers from the Department of Information and Communication Technologies – Miguel Ángel
González Ballester, technical director, and Bart Bijnens, scientific director – who are responsible for the integrated research in seven fields, each of which is coordinated by a principal investigator and member of BCN-MedTech. The rest of the team is made up of postdoctoral researchers and doctoral students, eight of whom are enrolled on the programmes.
Bart Bijnens Computational Cardiology
Gemma Piella Medical Imaging
Antoni Ivorra Biomedical Electronics
Jérôme Noailly Biomechanics and Mechanobiology
Miguel Ángel González Ballester Computer-Assisted Surgery
Ralph Andrzejak Biomedical Signal Processing
technological researchers pursue the common goal of developing new concepts for preventing, diagnosing and treating the most prevalent conditions, drawing on all available convergent technologies.
The latest advances in Big Science With regard to facilities and infrastructure, BCN-MedTech has access to the computing capacity provided by the DTIC’s joint virtualization cluster, which is supplemented with access to the Barcelona Supercomputing Centre, for instance, when needed for the computational cardiovascular physiology studies carried out by the group’s members. Additionally, the Barcelona Biomedical Research Park’s facilities provide biomedical equipment and animal ex-
Óscar Cámara Physiological Modelling
perimentation facilities. The unit has created a broad network of national biomedical and clinical partners, as well as Barcelona-based and international hospitals, which provide it with access to images and the clinical physiological data of patients and healthy volunteers, to study and use to validate new technologies and scientific advances. BCN-MedTech has also secured access to major infrastructure in and outside the country, such as the ALBA synchrotrons (Cerdanyola del Vallès), ESRF (Grenoble, France), BESSY (Berlin, Germany), and Diamond (Oxfordshire, UK), for instance, to obtain high-resolution images for the study and characterization of whole hearts and the formation of 3D imaging of whole cells.
UPF students at the academic graduation ceremony.. frederic camallonga #UPFGraduation2016
1,900 students attend inspiring 2016 graduation ceremony A total of 1,917 undergraduate and postgraduate (master’s and doctoral) students from the class of 2016, UPF’s 23rd graduating class, celebrated their graduation on 1 and 2 July in the company of family and friends. At the 2016 academic graduation ceremony, held in the Roger de Llúria building courtyard on the Ciutadella campus, the students were invited on stage to receive their
diplomas. Spread out over six different sessions, the ceremony was streamed live on the institutional website and could be followed via Twitter (#graduacioUPF16). A total of 6,633 people participated in the ceremony over the course of the two days. The rector, Jaume Casals, presided over the different sessions, accompanied by Núria Basi, president of
the Board of Trustees, which supports the event, and by the different vice-rectors and academic officials. Each of the undergraduate sessions (involving 1,567 students in all) included: the projection of a commemorative video; a commencement address; a performance by the UPF choir of the song ‘Mr Sandman’; the award of the diplomas; speeches by graduates; an address by the president of the Board of Trustees; closing remarks by the rector; and a performance by the choir of Gaudeamus Igitur. The postgraduate session drew some 350 students and was organized similarly to the undergraduate sessions.
Master of ceremonies and addresses The six sessions were led, respectively, by six UPF alumni journal-
Fernando Genestar GRADUATE IN TRANSLATION AND INTERPRETATION (SIGN LANGUAGE)
‘Interpreting for the deaf has been an unforgettable experience’ — Did you always know that you wanted to study Translation and Interpretation?
ists: Mònika Jiménez Morales, Txell Bonet, Marta Narberhaus, Imma Amadeo, Marta Vives and Ainhoa Sorrosal. The six commencement addresses were given, respectively, by the following UPF teachers: Carlos Alberto Scolari (Department of Communication), Josep Joan Moreso (Department of Law), Aida Torres (Department of Law), Enric Vallduví (Department of Translation and Language Sciences), Klaus Jürgen-Nagel (Department of Political and Social Sciences) and Jaume Ventura (Department of Economics and Business). At the end of each session, the graduates marched festively to the Jaume I building courtyard, where the UPF Alumni programme, in collaboration with the RACC, held a reception.
— What aptitudes do you need to work with this language?
— No, no, I didn’t always know. In fact, when I enrolled at the university, I was 26 years old, so I was a bit older than my classmates. What I had always known was that I wanted to study something related to languages. Also, I have always liked literature, and I thought that this would be a good programme to improve my knowledge of both things.
— Mainly, you have to be sympathetic, empathetic and committed to making yourself understood and to understanding others in any circumstance. Those are probably the most important aptitudes and values to work with this language, much more than your level in terms of using the lexicon, syntax or grammar.
— What convinced you to specialize in Catalan sign language? How did you first come into contact with it?
— What are you considering doing now that you have finished your studies? What are your future prospects?
— Before enrolling on the undergraduate programme in Translation and Interpretation at UPF, I completed a two-year advanced training programme to become certified as a sign language interpreter. I discovered the language there and met people from the community that uses it. I ended up there by chance; it was a time when I didn’t really know what to do with my future, and I have to say I found sign language fascinating from the start! When I finished, I decided I wanted to keep studying. People recommended this programme, and since I didn’t know much French or German, I decided to continue to specialize in sign language and English.
— Well, you never know what the future might hold. I have two interesting job offers beginning in September, both to work as an interpreter in the field of education, and I plan to enrol on the master in education at UPF. I am also waiting to hear back on two applications I submitted for positions abroad.
— What did you gain from your time at the university? — Over the years, I have definitely grown as a person. I imagine the university had something to do with that. In fact, I’ve occasionally worked with the university as a sign language interpreter on open days or even at faculty meetings.
The filmmaker Frederick Wiseman awarded honorary doctorate by UPF The American filmmaker Frederick Wiseman, considered one of the most prestigious documentary filmmakers in the history of film still working today, was awarded an honorary doctorate by UPF at a ceremony held last May in the Ciutadella campus auditorium. The ceremony was presided over by Jaume Casals, rector of the university, who was joined at the presidential table by José Fernández Cavia, director of the Department of Communication, Núria Basi, president of the Board of Trustees, and Pelegrí Viader, secretary general of UPF. Wiseman was accompa-
The honorary doctorate was awarded in recognition of the filmmaker’s bold career nied at all times by his sponsor, Jordi Balló, a lecturer in the Department of Communication. The honorary doctorate was awarded in recognition of the filmmaker’s bold career, a benchmark in film studies, and a body of work that has helped to expand cinematographic and sociological knowledge through an unwavering commitment to progress and the institutions that govern society. Mercè Ibarz, a lecturer in the Department of Communication, gave the speech in honour of Wiseman, whom she defined as a ‘a dramatist of public life’. Ibarz reflected on Wiseman’s work, noting that, with a total of 44 films under his belt to date, he has become ‘not only a unique filmmaker, but also an anthropologist,
Frederick Wiseman after receiving his medal at UPF. FREDERIC CAMALLONGA historian and social analyst’. The most solemn moment of the ceremony came when Wiseman received the UPF medal of honoris causa from the rector. As a newly minted UPF PhD, he then gave his acceptance speech, in which he spoke of his time as a law professor and about how he makes his films: ‘For me, technique should serve content, not the other way around.’ This was followed by a screening of the documentary On Wiseman, which captures the voices and
testimonials of fourteen filmmakers trained in UPF’s master’s programme on Creative Documentaries and shaped by the new PhD’s work. The event ended with an emotive closing speech by Jaume Casals and a performance of Gaudeamus Igitur by the UPF choir.
Video: highlights of the ceremony
Carlos Toscano wins the Rin4’ science competition
New ways to treat Down’s syndrome
The PhD student from the Dynamic Systems Biology Lab in the Department of Experimental and Health Sciences won first prize, worth €900, as well as the special prize awarded by the audience, worth €200, for his presentation ‘Oscillating genes and talking bacteria’. Toscano’s research focuses on the stationary phase of E. coli bacteria, that is, the stage in which, due to a shortage of nutrients, the bacteria do not divide but rather remain in a resting phase. As he explained, ‘It is a relatively unexplored growth phase and one that my microscopy experiments are showing holds more surprises than we thought.’ The Rin4’ doctoral competition aims to enhance the communication skills of the university’s doctoral students with a view to facilitating the scientific dissemination of their research. Second prize went to Álvaro Castells, a PhD student in the Reprogramming and Regeneration research group pursuing a doctorate in Biomedicine, for the presentation ‘Using high-resolution microscopy to observe RNA’, and third prize went to Diana Zejcirovic, from the PhD programme in Economics, Finance and Business, for her presentation ‘Size Matters: World Maps and Biased Perceptions’.
Using speech melody and gesture shape to understand In the field of language development, relatively little attention has been given to when infants begin to associate melodic and gestural patterns with communicative intentions or to whether they are able to understand these meanings based on the prosody of a sentence and gestures alone. Núria Esteve Gibert and Pilar Prieto, researchers from the Prosodic Research Group in the Department of Translation and Language Sciences at UPF, working with Ulf Liszkowski, from the University of Hamburg (Germany), have studied when and how infants learn to interpret others’ intentions. Their findings show that adults use speech melody and gestures to convey each communicative intention, and that at just 12 months, infants already know how to use these cues exclusively to understand what adults are saying. According to Prieto, ‘Although at 12 months, infants can barely form simple words, such as momma or papa, the study showed that they can already understand the underlying intentions of communicative acts and that they do this by paying attention to the melody of adults’ speech and to the gestures that accompany their words.’
A team of scientists led by Dr Rafael de la Torre, director of the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM) and a tenured professor in the Department of Experimental and Health Sciences (DCEXS) at UPF, and Dr Mara Dierssen, a researcher at the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), have shown that epigallocatechin gallate, a compound present in green tea, together with a cognitive stimulation protocol, might improve certain intellectual capacities in individuals with Down’s syndrome and might modify the excitability and functional connectivity of their brains. The finding is the result of a long basic pharmacological and clinical research effort and underscores the importance of cooperating and following a multidisciplinary strategy in research, as well as the participating centres’ commitment to conducting translational research. The discovery is a scientific and social milestone for people with Down’s syndrome and their families, as well as for the Catalan research system, as it bears witness to the quality and leadership of its centres. ‘This is the first time a treatment has shown efficacy in the improvement of certain cognitive functions in individuals who have this syndrome’, explained Dierssen, head of the Cellular and Systems Neurobiology group at CRG and lead author of the paper. ‘In any case, it is important to stress that our discovery is not a cure for Down’s syndrome and that our findings still need to be tested in a larger population sample. Nevertheless, they may point to a treatment to improve these individuals’ quality of life’, she added.
Design of a molecule effective against four viruses
Audiovisual Communication students continue to rack up awards
AIDS, hepatitis C, West Nile and dengue fever are the four viruses against which the new molecule has proven to be effective. The compound was specifically designed to inhibit a cellular protein called DDX3, which is essential for the replication of viruses belonging to various families. The discovery thus opens the door to the creation of a new family of broad-spectrum antiviral drugs.
Simplifying treatments The Infection Biology Research Group in the Department of Experimental and Health Sciences at UPF participated in the research, which was led by researchers from IrsiCaixa and published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The group was responsible for conducting the clinical tests against the West Nile and dengue fever viruses. According to Andreas Meyerhans, leader of the UPF group, ‘We had observed broad-spectrum antiviral activity in compounds derived from microorganisms before, but it was very interesting and exciting to observe this antiviral action in molecules designed from scratch.’ The development of new molecules such as the ones in the study would make it possible to simplify the treatment of people co-infected with multiple viruses and to fight viral diseases against which no specific drugs have yet been approved.
The Faculty of Communication is celebrating. Oliver Laxe, an Audiovisual Communication alum, won grand prize in the Critics’ Week competition at Cannes for his film Mimosas, made with the assistance of three UPF professors. It was the second award the Galician filmmaker has received at the festival; six years ago, he won the FIPRESCI prize for his debut film Todos vós sodes capitans (You all are captains). Separately, the film Soleá: els néts dels altres Catalans (Soleá: the grandchildren of the other Catalans), by the Audiovisual Communication students Marc Hernández, Maria Llinás, Natàlia Morales and Marta Vivet, won best film in DOC-U, the DocsBarcelona festival section devoted to Catalan university productions. This is the second consecutive edition in which a UPF short has won the prize, on the heels of the victory last year of En el bar (In the Bar) by Itsaso Arizkuren, which also won best screenplay in the Nova Autoria (New Authorship) section of the Sitges Festival.
Still from Oliver Laxe’s Mimosas.
The Mercè Rodoreda building is capped in green Pompeu Fabra University has signed a cooperation agreement with the company EixVerd to create, together with the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC), the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) and other organizations, an experimental green space on the roof of the Mercè Rodoreda building on the Ciutadella campus. The green roof is currently hosting three parallel studies that aim to determine which substrates are best for creating green spaces on urban rooftops. One of the experiments being conducted seeks to compare substrates for use as agricultural cover, in light of future plans to build an agricultural deck on the roof of the Dipòsit de les Aigües building. The proposal arose as a result of the desire of UPF and its partner organizations to pave the way for the installation of green spaces on buildings throughout Barcelona and to make urban spaces greener and more sustainable. The project ultimately hopes to include a 3,000 m2 organic garden managed by people at risk of social exclusion, which it will support through a series of parallel activities, such as beekeeping, open workshops on environmental issues and garden management, a possible new venue in the neighbourhood, and different tours or events, amongst others.
upf.edu 27 #UPFResearch
La UPF reaffirms its leadership
Phil Baty, editor of THE World University Rankings, Jaume Casals, rector of UPF, and Miquel Àngel Essomba, commissioner for education of the City of Barcelona, at the opening ceremony for the THE Young Universities Summit. eva guillamet This academic year, UPF has carved out a place for itself in the national and international vanguard. Various rankings have positioned the institution as leader in Spain and a benchmark in Europe and the world. U-Ranking, for example, which is jointly prepared by the BBVA Foundation and the Valencian Institute of Economic Research (IVIE) and which evaluates teaching, research and innovation at Spanish universities, ranked UPF the number-one most productive university in the country overall. Similarly, the Knowledge and Development (CyD) Foundation ranking named UPF the most efficient university in Spain. That ranking examines 32 institutional indicators divided into five categories: teaching and learning; research; knowledge transfer; international outlook; and contribution to regional development.
International consolidation UPF ranks prominently amongst young universities (those under 50 years old). For instance, it is 15th in the world according to the Times Higher Education ‘150 under 50’ ranking, a classification in which it especially stands out for the impact of its citations (publications cited by other academics) and its international outlook (ability to attract international students and professors and publication of papers in collaboration with foreign universities). UPF was also included for the first time in the research ranking published by the University of Leiden, with very good results. According to the ranking, it is the leading Spanish university in terms of scientific impact and second in international collaborations. Finally, UPF was 12th in Europe and 1st in Spain in the third edition of the European Union’s U-Multirank.
Identification of 58 proteins involved in fertilization Using technology developed at their own laboratory, a team of scientists from the Proteomics and Protein Chemistry Research Group at UPF, led by David Andreu and Ricardo Gutiérrez-Gallego, working in collaboration with Manuel Avilés at the University of Murcia, have for the first time detected 58 sperm proteins capable of binding with sugars and responsible for the cell interactions that first lead sperm towards the fallopian tubes in order to enable their fusion with the nucleus of the egg. These proteins, called lectins, were found to be involved in two critical stages of fertilization: sperm reservoir formation in the oviduct epithelium and sperm-egg interaction. The proteins identified in this study, published in the journal Molecular & Cellular Proteomics, are often identical to those of human sperm and, as the authors of the paper note, ‘contain structural information that could be used, amongst other things, to facilitate infertility diagnosis and treatment or to develop future vaccines to control fertility’.
Proteomics and Protein Chemistry Research Group. upf
Students in the courtyard of the Jaume I building on the Ciutadella campus. upf
New degree programmes in high demand amongst incoming students UPF’s new three-year bachelor’s programme in Global Studies, rolled out for the 2016-2017 academic year, was well received during the application period. By the first deadline in June, there were four applicants per place (243 applications for 60 places), resulting in a cut-off mark of 12.07. Another new three-year programme this academic year, the joint UPF-UB-UPC bachelor’s degree in Bioinformatics, had a cut-off mark of 7.91 and an applicant-to-place ratio of 1.13. The double bachelor’s degree in Applied Languages and Translation and Interpretation (English) filled all its places, with a ratio of 1 and a cut-off mark of 5. The applicant-to-place ratio for all programmes offered at UPF cen-
tres as a whole was 1.84, i.e., nearly two applications listing a UPF programme as the applicant’s first choice per place offered. Although this figure is slightly lower than in 2015-2016, it is consistent with the trend in recent years. Cut-off marks were fairly similar to those from last academic year and were quite high for most pro-
The applicant-to-place ratio was 1.84, i.e. nearly two applicants per place grammes, with small positive (they increased for six programmes) or negative changes, in most cases of less than half a point. UPF ended the process with five
programmes with cut-off marks over 12 (the maximum score is 14), two more than in the 2015-2016 academic year. These programmes were: Philosophy, Politics and Economics (12.66) and Medicine (12.62) (the fourth and sixth highest marks in the Catalan university system, respectively), International Business Economics (12.08), the new Global Studies programme (12.07), and Human Biology (12.06).
Applicants exceeded places in 70% of programmes For 20 of the university’s’ 28 programmes (70%), the number of applicants exceeded the number of available places. Furthermore, for 11 of the programmes (39%), the applicant-to-place ratio was over 2; of these, 7 had a ratio greater than 3. As in the last academic year, the most popular first-choice programmes were: Medicine (6.73 applicants per place); Philosophy, Politics and Economics (6.1); and the double degree programme in Criminology and Law (5).
SIGN-HUB, an ambitious European project
Destroying tumours by means of irreversible electroporation
Pompeu Fabra University is leading an ambitious European project on sign language called ‘SIGN-HUB: Preserving, Researching and Fostering the Linguistic, Historical and Cultural Heritage of European Deaf Signing Communities with an Integral Resource’. The main aim of the project, coordinated by Josep Quer, an ICREA research professor in the Department of Translation and Language Sciences at UPF, is to provide the first comprehensive response to the social and scientific challenge resulting from the widespread neglect of the cultural and linguistic identity of signing Deaf communities in Europe. SIGN-HUB will create an innovative and inclusive resource hub for the linguistic, historical and cultural documentation of Deaf communities’ heritage, as well as for sign language assessment in clinical interventions and school settings. The project is a key step to promote the engagement of Deaf citizens in the various spheres of public life in equal conditions to those of their hearing peers. It is being undertaken by an international consortium led by UPF and made up of ten institutions from various EU member states, as well as two universities from Israel and Turkey.
Female sexuality seen through the divas of fascism A project led by Núria Bou and Xavier Pérez, researchers in the Department of Communication at UPF, is studying the main common traits and singularities in the imaginary of femininity in Spanish, Italian and German films screened between 1939 and 1945. The research is being funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness and began in 2014. Coordinated by the Center for Aesthetic Research on Audiovisual Media (CINEMA) research group, the project includes Spanish and international researchers. The work consists of a systematic study of the film careers of several actresses who were part of the national star systems of the three film industries during this period. They were chosen because they embodied both the values to be exalted, and the repressed elements of the underlying ideology of the different fascist regimes with regard to female sexuality. The findings to date indicate that although the censors generally frowned on the exaltation of sexuality, the films exerted their own mechanisms of both regulation and subtle permeability.
Researchers from UPF and the University of Saragossa have developed a high-voltage pulse generator to destroy solid tumours by means of a phenomenon known as irreversible electroporation. This phenomenon kills the cells by rendering them unable to repair the damage caused by strong electrical fields in the cell wall. Compared to other methods for eliminating malignant tissues, irreversible electroporation offers significant benefits to patients, as its mechanism of action is not based on thermal alterations, which facilitates recovery and makes it possible to treat tumours that, due to their location, would otherwise be untreatable. The technology has been patented by the researchers from the two universities and has drawn the interest of several companies, which will allow the research on irreversible electroporation as an effective tool for fighting cancer to continue to advance. The generator has been successfully tested in in vivo studies and has demonstrated its ability to destroy large volumes of tissue. The invention process was led by researchers from the Power Electronics and Microelectronics Group (GEPM) at the Aragon Institute for Engineering Research (I3A) at the University of Saragossa, in collaboration with the Biomedical Electronics Research Group (BERG) from the Department of Information and Communication Technologies at UPF, pioneers in the experimental development of irreversible electroporation in Spain.
An automatic method for extracting the meaning of popular emojis #UPFSolidarity
More facilities to study at university UPF and the Integral Education Association of the Raval (AEIRaval) have signed an agreement to promote the Prometheus project, targeted at secondary school students from Barcelona’s Raval neighbourhood. The project, which involves the public secondary schools Milà i Fontanals and Miquel Tarradell, seeks to provide assistance through support actions at the schools, as well as to facilitate the transition to university for students with financial difficulties and from disadvantaged backgrounds. The planned actions were prepared based on UPF’s programme to support educational innovation at secondary schools through the design, development and assessment of various activities, school support by AEIRaval, and annual Prometheus scholarships. Other planned measures include: implementing UPF’s secondary school volunteering programme at the schools; facilitating the schools’ involvement in the Horizons programme, promoted by UPF’s Board of Trustees and the Office of the Vice-rector for Social Responsibility and Promotion; and assisting with the process of defining research topics and providing access to information sources and other resources.
Francesco Barbieri, Francesco Ronzano and Horacio Saggion, researchers with the Natural Language Processing (TALN) research group in the Department of Information and Communication Technologies at UPF, have conducted an automatic analysis of 10 million messages tweeted by North American Twitter users and developed a method for automatically characterizing the meanings of popular emojis. They reported their findings in a paper presented at the 2016 Language Resource and Evaluation Conference, held last May in Portoroz (Slovenia). In recent years, the popularity of emojis has skyrocketed and they have become common features of online communication. They encompass an entire universe of meanings, which go beyond the traditional emoticons or graphic symbols used to convey moods, usually formed from ASCII characters. The new method makes it possible to automatically characterize the meaning of emojis; therefore, the ideograms can be compared ‘semantically’, that is, according to their meaning. In addition to enabling understanding of the emojis’ meaning, the model also suggests the words closest to a given ideogram and vice versa, that is, it suggests the best related ideograms to supplement and graphically enrich the meaning of a given text.
Luz Rello, Maria Rauschenberger and Ricardo Baeza-Yates at the 13th International Web for All Conference. #UPFResearch
Music to fight dyslexia A fun activity, such as music, can be used to detect dyslexia in children. This is the line of research that Maria Rauschenberger, a doctoral researcher in the Web Research Group (WRG) in the Department of Information and Communication Technologies at UPF, is working on. Through the design of a web application called DysMusic, Rauschenberger expects to detect a 10% incidence of dyslexia amongst children between the ages of 3 and 6 who have not yet been diagnosed. The app is based on the fact that individuals with dyslexia have poor short-term memory. One of the experiments planned for the study will consist in asking children which of a series of different musical fragments they heard first. Rauschenberger won a Google Doctoral Consortium Scholarship for her work at the 13th International Web for All conference, held in Montreal (Canada) last April.
Àngel Lozano and Jaume Ventura obtain two ERC Advanced Grants
Outstanding results in the Catalan sport championships
The researchers, from the Department of Information and Communication Technologies and the Research Centre for International Economics (CREI), respectively, received their grants for two research projects: the first, on the foundations of the new era of wireless networks, and the second, on the mismatches that globalization causes between economic policy and political structures. In both cases, the research is being conducted at the frontiers of knowledge and has great potential to promote innovation in science and society.
In the 2015-2016 academic year, UPF and its affiliated centres won a total of 44 medals (eight more than in the previous academic year): six at the Spanish championships and 38 at the Catalan championships. Of this count, 18 were gold medals, 20 were silver, and 6 were bronze. At the Catalan championships, UPF took 7 medals in team events, including a gold in men’s beach football, silvers in mixed ultimate frisbee, women’s indoor football, women’s beach handball, and men’s and women’s basketball, and a bronze in women’s rugby sevens. In the individual events (31 medals), special attention should be called to the five gold medals won in swimming, three by Héctor Martel (4x50 m freestyle relay and the 50 and 100 m backstroke events), who also took silver in the 6 x 50 m freestyle relay. The remaining two golds were won by María Cerezo, who stood on the podium six times in all, taking gold in the 50 and 100 m butterfly events, silver in the 100 m backstroke and the 4x50 m and 6x50 m freestyle relays, and bronze in the 4x50 m medley. Other top slots went to Milena Chikripeska, in the marathon and half marathon; Pau Vergés, in the marathon; Guillem Valls (500 m freestyle); Anna Ruiz, in athletics (shot put); David Canudas (tennis); Marc Cunyat (duathlon); and Tomàs Morales (judo).
Research at the frontiers of knowledge Lozano’s POSTCELL project proposes a combination of denser networks and more antennae and base stations. It is a new model that poses a significant challenge for the future of wireless communication and which will involve a complete overhaul of the current architecture. Meanwhile, through his project ‘Globalization, Economic Policy and Political Structure’, Ventura seeks to facilitate understanding and management of the growing mismatch between markets and states, which decreases the quality of economic policymaking.
UPF women’s rugby sevens selection, bronze medal-winners in the Catalan championship. upf
Dialectical battle between students and inmates at Brians 2 A group of inmates from the Brians 2 Prison and a team of students from UPF faced off on 12 May in a debate on the topic ‘Money buys happiness’. The jury unanimously declared both teams winners and highlighted the final arguments and high level displayed with regard to both content and form. Some of the arguments the UPF students put forward to support the thesis ‘Money buys happiness’ were to present money as a value enabling change and one of the main ways to cultivate happiness, as long as it was properly used. In contrast, the Brians 2 inmates argued that money is a myth created for consumer society, citing its destructive capacity. They based their discourse on personal experiences, noting that none of the happiest moments of their lives had been due to money. The event was attended by Jaume Casals, rector of UPF, and Carles Mundó, the Catalan Minister of Justice. The jury included the former Catalan Minister of Justice and Home Affairs Montserrat Tura; Joan Maria Pou, a journalist with RAC1; and Gemma Lligadas, a professor of public speaking at ESADE.
·Our Alumni· Xavier Menós (Audiovisual Communication, 2003) Photographer and community manager for Shakira
‘I am most myself when I am behind a camera’ —From Sudanell (Segrià) to New York. How do you deal with that change? —I always say that the real change was moving from Sudanell to Lleida at the age of 13. After, Barcelona was where I discovered myself, and New York was where I was able to reinvent myself and make a lot of dreams come true, including some I could never have imagined. You might say that there are two rivers that run through my life: the Segre and the Hudson.
—You earned your master’s degree in the US. How did you end up there? —I applied for a ”la Caixa” grant when I was working at Localia Barcelona. I got it and enrolled on a two-year master’s degree programme at the New School in New York. When I graduated, I sent my CV to Shakira, so I’ve never stopped. Everything has happened very quickly, one thing after another.
—When you first enrolled on the Audiovisual Communication programme, what did you really want to do? —The world of communication has changed a lot in fifteen years. When I was in Barcelona, I loved documentaries, and I always say that social media have been an excuse to take pictures and travel. For a while, I was torn inside between photography and social media. In the end, I reached a point where I realized they were not incompatible.
—You are currently Shakira’s community manager. Did you ever think you would end up working in this field? —The truth is I didn’t. I always say that you have to dream in the abstract. If you dream about very specific things, you end up generating a lot of unhappiness. People sometimes ask me, ‘How did you manage to get a job with Shakira?’ And I say, ‘By thinking I would never work with her.’ If you focus on something very specific, you can miss a lot of opportunities.
—What is a typical day in the life of a community manager like? —No two days are the same; every day is different. It all depends on whether you are in the middle of a song release, on tour, if it’s Fashion Week. What is true is that I am never away from my phone.
—You also work in the world of photography. —It’s what I like most. I am most myself when I am behind a camera: time stops, I’m happy, and I feel fulfilled. Last September and February, in New York, I shot 12 shows, from Calvin Klein to Michael Kors, by way of Delpozo, Oscar de la Renta, etc. I was backstage and at the runway. It’s when I’m taking pictures that I feel closest to the self I always dreamed of.
—Future plans… Where are you headed? —I would really like to write a book about networks. I think I have a lot of stories to tell. I would like to come back to Barcelona soon, too: I’ve been in the US for ten years now, and I think maybe it’s time to
come back and live here. I would also like to work for an NGO. In fact, I’d like to make a career change and reinvent myself.
—What memories do you have of UPF? —So many! I think it was the best decision I ever made. I have a lot of memories of my teachers, of Domènec Font, Núria Bou, Xavi Pérez, Jordi Balló... They were the best years, because I was doing what I had dreamed of. UPF also opened my eyes to telling stories. When I went to the US, I got to waive a lot of subjects, because I had already taken them here. It helped me a lot to have such a strong background.
—If you had to offer a word of advice to today’s communication students, what would it be? —I would tell them to keep at it. Not to listen to the naysayers who tell them they won’t be able to find a job when they graduate. To focus on not closing doors, but rather opening new ones. And not to forget the theory, because the theory gives us a basis that sets us apart from the rest.
Published on Nov 3, 2016