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  • 07.05.2018

    78% of those attending with the right to vote at the meeting of the Senate of the University of Vic - Central University of Catalonia (UVic-UCC) supported the government plan that the Professor of Economics and Accounting of Pompeu Fabra University (UPF) and the candidate for the UVic-UCC Vice Chancellor, Oriol Amat, presented at an extraordinary meeting that took place at noon last Thursday in the UVic's Aula Magna.    At the extraordinary meeting, which was attended by 315 senators of the 600 who were convened, the representatives of the community explained the selection process for the candidate in which they participated through the selection committee. They agreed it was a "transparent process in which the best candidate from those possible ones was selected". As stipulated in the University's Organisational and Operational Regulations, the Senate meeting was chaired  by the president of the FUB Board of Trustees and mayor of Vic, Anna Erra, who thanked the rector Montaña for his work over the last 8 years. She also announced that "a new era is beginning which we hope will be full of success, with the help of everyone."    Action plan for excellence and internationalisation Afterwards, Amat discussed his project for 45 minutes and called for the support of the community to carry out "an exciting project through a peaceful change." The candidate, who requested the participation of everyone, made it clear that the position of the Senate is "binding" on him, and concluded that "I will only come if what we are doing today works out well." The candidate focused his action plan on four main objectives: "fostering the maximum enthusiasm and cohesion among the members of the university community," "placing people at the centre to contribute to a better world", "guaranteeing excellence in all the activities that the University carries out" and "maximising its scientific, economic and social impact." According to the candidate for rector, "the strategy that the University has adopted in recent years has taken it in the right direction," and in his opinion, with its strengths and "its unique good government, it is the Catalan university that is best placed make a great qualitative leap in the coming years." To achieve this, the economist set out seven strategic lines that "can help fulfil the institution's mission." According to Amat, these are "training with impact: singular and involving excellence", "the search for excellence with impact and knowledge transfer," "people's enthusiasm," "impact on the region," "internationalisation," "sustainable financing" and "excellence in governance and management." Next steps Amat maintained that once appointed rector, he will implement a 90-day plan in which he will talk with everyone to carry out a diagnosis and identify the situation, identify measures to take and assess their impact. He also announced the drafting of a new strategic plan for 2019-2022. With this decision by the Senate, the FUB Board of Trustees will appoint Oriol Amat fifth vice-chancellor of the UVic-UCC at its plenary session of 28 June. On 19 April, an extraordinary meeting of the Board of Trustees designated Amat as a candidate for rector. Amat was selected from among the 13 nominations that were submitted to lead the institution. The selection committee was chaired by the first deputy mayor of Vic, Dr. Josep Arimany. The other members were the Councillor for Education and Universities of Manresa City Council, Dr. Mercè Rosich, on behalf of the FUBages; Dr Arcadi Navarro, on behalf of the Government of Catalonia; Joan Font on behalf of civil society, and a trustee representing the Senate, who was the lecturer and researcher Dr. Núria Simó. The committee also included three external academics, the UAB professor and former president of the College of Doctors, Dr. Miquel Vilardell; the former Secretary General of the Inter-University Board of Catalonia, Dr. Claudi Alsina, and the director of ICREA, Dr. Antoni Huerta, who assessed the candidates based on their academic and research merits.

  • 04.05.2018

    The University of Vic - Central University of Catalonia will award a Doctorate Honoris Causa to the teacher Maria Teresa Codina i Mir, at the proposal of the Faculty of Education, Translation and Human Sciences, on the fortieth anniversary of its foundation. Ms Codina, who is ninety-one years old, will be sponsored by the dean of the Faculty, Eduard Ramírez, and by the lecturer and ex-dean Joan Soler, who will deliver the Laudatio, in an investiture ceremony which will take place in the Aula Magna of the UVic at 6 pm on Tuesday 5 June. Maria Teresa Codina is considered one of the major cornerstones of the educational renewal movement in Catalonia, and played a key role in education in the twentieth century, when she and the generation of teachers to which she belongs were the driving force behind the wave of educational renewal in Catalonia. This renewal was inspired by the principles of active education in the early twentieth century, and exerted a major influence during Spain's transition to democracy and the early years of democracy after the Franco dictatorship. This will be the first Doctorate Honoris Causa  that Maria Teresa Codina has received. She was born in Barcelona in 1927, qualified as a primary schoolteacher, and graduated in Philosophy and Arts, in the specialist field of classical philology. Later, in France, she studied at the Centre d?Études Pédagogiques, where she met the pedagogue Pierre Faure. From the Talitha school to Can Tunis, by way of teacher training She founded the Talitha school in Barcelona in 1956. This was a significant milestone in the educational renewal movement which at the height of the Franco dictatorship, aimed to restore the Catalan pedagogical tradition dating from prior to 1939, and to rebuild democracy in Catalonia. The school consolidated a robust educational approach based on teamwork, teaching of the Catalan language, relationships with its environment, comprehensive training, democratic and participatory management and relationships with families. Renowned teachers in Catalonia such as Maria Antònia Canals, Marta Mata, Pilar Benejam - a member of the UVic-UCC's Consultative Council, Anna Maria Roig, and Maria Teresa Fort came together under her pedagogical leadership. In 1965, she was part of the group of seven people led by Marta Mata who founded the Rosa Sensat College of Teachers, which is today an association, and which was been a factor in the promotion of continuous training for teachers involving courses and seminars and above all, summer schools. The College of Teachers was a link between this wave of renewal in the second half of the century and the pedagogical climate of the Second Republic. Maria Teresa Codina's other great achievement was her involvement in the fight for the right to education and equal opportunities. In 1978, with Basilio Gonzàlez, she established the Avillar Chavorrós school in the neighbourhood of Can Tunis, followed by the Xavó-Xaví adapted secondary school in 1988. These two projects were a model for education in a difficult environment like Can Tunis - a marginal neighbourhood with a mostly gypsy population, to address the challenge of equal opportunities for children and adolescents. Having completed these projects, Codina was commissioned to run special action programmes, compensatory education initiatives and diversity education projects in the Catalan Ministry of Education from 1983 to 1987, and then with Barcelona City Council until she retired in 1992. References, publications and prizes When establishing her ideas on education and didactics, and about the importance of continuous training so that teachers can adapt to their social context, Maria Teresa Codina has been inspired by great contemporary pedagogues ranging from Piaget, Cousinet, Makarenko, Freinet, Montessori and Dewey who with other Catalan pedagogues such as Alexandre Galí and Artur Martorell have always been her benchmarks. Her publications include Educar en temps difícils. Talitha, 1956-1074  [Education in difficult times. Talitha, 1956-1074] (Eumo Editorial, 2008); the anthology La renovació pedagògica a Catalunya des de dins (1940-1980) [Pedagogical renewal in Catalonia from within (1940-1980)] (Rosa Sensat/Edicions 62, 2001); Gitanos de Can Tunis 1977-1983: Crónica de un proceso educativo [Gypsies of Can Tunis 1977-1983: Chronicle of an educational process] (Mediterrània, 2000), and El adolescente marginal: Escuela y trabajo [The marginal adolescent: School and work] (Rosa Sensat, 2001). She was awarded the Ramon Llull prize for pedagogical experiences (1979), the Ramon Fuster Prize for her professional career (1995), the Hidalgo Presencia Gitana Prize (1983) and the I Catalan Education Prize (2001).

  • 24.04.2018

    The Board of Trustees of the Balmes University Foundation has designated Oriol Amat as a candidate for the position of rector of the UVic-UCC. At the plenary session that took place on Thursday 19 April, the University's trustees selected Amat as a candidate to present his programme for government to the community at an extraordinary meeting of the Senate that will take place on 3 May. The candidate will submit his programme and the Senate will vote on it and issue a non-binding report on its content. After the community has given its opinion, the Board of Trustees will appoint Amat, or may open new proceedings to select the holder of the highest academic post at the University for the next 4 years. At a press conference held in the Doctor Junyent room at the Casa Convalescencia just after the meeting of the Board of Trustees, its president and the mayor of Vic, Anna Erra, said that the election "is a mixture of pride and satisfaction. Pride because we have found that the UVic-UCC is an attractive proposition, and satisfaction because the election mechanism has been thorough and transparent." The director general for Universities of the Government of Catalonia and the patron of the FUB, Josep Pallarès, highlighted the University's governance model, and said that the selection process is unique in Catalonia, but "equivalent and comparable to the normal procedures in the majority of international universities." Pallarès emphasised that the candidate's programme is based on "enthusiasm and the cohesion of the university community, putting people at the centre of the project, university excellence and maximising the scientific, economic, social and cultural impact." Selection process The deadline for presenting the documentation necessary to apply for the position of rector expired on 16 March, with 13 people having submitted the documents required. Of those, five fulfilled the requirements stipulated in the call, and at its meeting on 21 March, the Selection Committee studied them and agreed to pass on its proposal to the Executive Committee of the FUB Board of Trustees so that the Board could designate a candidate. The president of the Selection Committee for the new Rector, and the trustee of the FUB, Josep Arimany, explained that the candidate had been selected unanimously, and that "he fulfils what we were expecting of the new rector of the UVic-UCC: a research profile, an academic and scientific background, management experience and a major impact in his field." Arimany also pointed out that Amat's government plan for the University is "engaging." Mercè Rosich, the Councillor for Universities of Manresa City Council and a member of the selection committee, stressed that "the rector must be a good leader and Doctor Amat will be able to develop this federation even further." The new rector will take over from Jordi Montaña, who finishes his second term as the holder of the highest academic post at the UVic-UCC this July. These years have seen the University federate with the Bages University Foundation, creating the University of Vic - Central University of Catalonia with one campus in Vic and one in Manresa, with facilities in Granollers and in Barcelona. In addition, teaching has begun on the degree course in Medicine in the 2017-2018 academic year, with teaching units in Vic and in Manresa, and the institution has also become the most transparent institution according to the latest report issued by the Commitment and Transparency Foundation. Biography Oriol Amat is Professor of Financial Economics and Accounting at Pompeu Fabra University (UPF), where he was Vice-Rector of Economics and Information Systems and Director of the Department of Economics and Business. Amat has also been a visiting lecturer at various European, American and Asian universities. He is the president of the Catalan Accounting and Management Association (ACCID), and is the author of several books on accounting and finance which have been translated into several languages. He was a board member of CNMV (the Spanish Commission of the Stock Exchange) between 2011 and 2015, and a member of the Member of the Government of Catalonia's Advisory Council for Catalan Economic Growth during the same period. He was a member of the Parliament of Catalonia from 2015 until 2017. He has also been a member of the Advisory Council of the PIMEC Observatory and the President of the Register of Accounting Experts.

  • 13.04.2018

    Effluents from abandoned mines may contain high concentrations of heavy metals or salts, which leak through the soil and end up in rivers, where they have a heavy impact on the biodiversity and functioning of those ecosystems. The primary objective of the European Life DEMINE project is to reduce the impact of these mining effluents by applying a new treatment before they reach the river. The project is being led and coordinated by the Technology Centre for Biodiversity, Ecology and Technology, and Environmental and Food Management (BETA) at the University of Vic - Central University of Catalonia (UVic-UCC). Life DEMINE has received European Union funding through its Life programme, and has an overall budget of 2,184,632 Euros. Four other partners as well as the BETA Technological Centre are involved: the University of Swansea (United Kingdom), ELENTEC LTD, a company specialising in water treatment technologies (United Kingdom), the Groundwater Studies Centre in Dresden (Germany), and the Government of the Principality of Asturias (Spain). There are currently around 3,460 closed and abandoned facilities containing mining waste in the European Union, according to figures from the European Commission. In fact, the extraction and processing of minerals is one of the most important sources of waste in the EU: in 2014, it amounted to 28.1 million tonnes, a figure that accounts for almost 30% of the total waste generated in Europe. Demonstrating the effectiveness of an innovative treatment The investigation began last July, and will continue until 2021. For four years, the project will work towards demonstrating the effectiveness of this innovative and versatile treatment, based on the combination of electrocoagulation technologies and membranes, which are already in use separately for various purposes. For the first time, tests will determine whether their combination improves the efficiency of the treatment of mining effluents, and if the method can be replicated for use with waste from different types of mines. Using this new method, the water will first be treated with a membrane system which has different filtration capacities, and therefore different capacities for retaining contaminating particles. The aim of the process is to concentrate the polluting effluent, which subsequently undergoes an electrocoagulation process, in which an even higher degree of concentration will be achieved. In overall terms, the system will reduce the salt and metal content of mining effluents by more than 95%, obtaining treated water that can be poured into the river with no risk to the ecosystem, complying with the legal limits established by legislation and ensuring a low level of environmental impact. A solution applicable everywhere Work is currently being done to optimise the new mining effluent treatment process on a laboratory scale, and then to design a pilot plant that will be tested in a real environment. The facility will be tested first in Frongoch (United Kingdom), treating effluents generated by an abandoned zinc and lead mine, and then at Menteroda (Germany), to treat effluents with a high salt content from a potassium extraction mine, that is also no longer in use. The sustainability of the new system will be assessed using Life Cycle Analysis and Cost Cycle Analysis technology as the results are obtained. Various experiments will also be carried out to evaluate the reduction of the ecological impact involved in applying the new technology. The objective is to demonstrate and validate the success of the solution, so that it can be easily replicated in any environment with the same environmental problem. For example, in Catalonia there are the salt and potash mines at Cardona, Súria and Sallent, with environments that are severely affected by this problem where an efficient solution is urgently needed. There are also numerous cases of abandoned mines elsewhere in Spain, such as the coal mines in Asturias. Awareness-raising initiatives to promote and increase the impact of the project will be carried out, and a computer technology tool will be developed that will enable an initial calculation of the benefits of applying the Life DEMINE solution to the treatment of a specific mineral effluent. This means that any government body or company interested in technology can calculate the benefits that would be obtained by eliminating polluting compounds, as well as the real environmental and economic impact.  

  • 05.04.2018

    Biological diversity continues to decline dramatically in all the world's regions, and nature's ability to contribute to people's well-being is being significantly reduced. This trend endangers economies, livelihoods, food security and the quality of life of people around the world. This is one of the main conclusions of the four scientific reports produced by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), which analyse the situation in America, Asia-Pacific, Africa, and Europe and Central Asia respectively. Two researchers at the UVic-UCC participated in the preparation of the reports: the ICREA research lecturer Sandra Brucet and the AXA researcher Federica Ravera. Sandra Brucet, a doctor in Biology and a specialist in Aquatic Ecology, is one of the authors of the report on Europe and Central Asia, and specifically the chapter on the past, present and future state of biodiversity in this region. Her work and contributions focus on the state of biodiversity in the continental aquatic systems. 120 experts from 36 countries participated in this specific report, and more than 4,000 scientific articles were reviewed. Meanwhile, Federica Ravera, of the Chair in Agroecology and Food Systems, participated as an expert in the methodological assessment of scenarios and modelling. The evaluation reports produced by the IPBES are the result of three years of work on the planet's biological diversity and the ecosystems, and were allocated a budget of more than 5 million dollars. 550 scientists from more than 100 countries participated, and they reviewed thousands of scientific articles, government reports and other sources of information, including indigenous and local knowledge. Their goal was to draw conclusions about the marine, freshwater and land-based biological diversity of each region, and the conditions under which the ecosystems operate and the contributions made by nature to society. This information must ultimately act as a roadmap for decision-making by governments and institutions. The results of the four studies were presented in Medellin (Colombia) in late March. The results of the reports The reports stress that biological diversity and nature's contributions to society are an essential part of our survival, as they form the basis of our diet and provide access to drinking water and energy. For this reason, they warn that we must take action to halt and reverse our non-sustainable use of nature. At the same time, they list the causes that lead to the degradation of biological diversity, including overexploitation and the unsustainable use of natural resources, pollution, alien invasive species and climate change. The experts point out that the increase in intensive agriculture in Europe and Central Asia is one of the main factors behind the reduction in biodiversity, and that one of the problems in the region is that more renewable natural resources are consumed there than the region produces. In the European Union, the assessments conclude that 73% of freshwater ecosystems (rivers and lakes) have an unfavourable conservation status, while wetland areas have reduced by 51% since 1970. 37% of freshwater fish species are at risk of extinction, and 71% and 60% of species of the fish and amphibians studied, respectively, have experienced considerable reductions in their populations over the last decade. "In our country, as in the entire Mediterranean region, changes to wetlands and their disappearance as a result of intensive agriculture, water extraction, urban development and climate change is a particular cause for concern," explains Sandra Brucet. In marine ecosystems, 26.6% of fish populations are declining due to unsustainable fishing, habitat degradation or invasive species, among other factors, and 66% of the marine habitats studied were found to be in a poor state of conservation. In addition, according to Brucet, "land-based species and habitats are suffering from a permanent decline due to the destruction and modification of natural habitats as a result of unsustainable urban development, mining and agriculture and forestry." Despite the alarming data provided by the experts, the IPBES reports also provide examples of policies that have proven to be effective in protecting and restoring biological diversity and nature's contributions to society in places where they have been applied effectively. In Europe, some improvements have already enabled these concepts to be incorporated into both public and private decision-making processes. The UVic-UCC researchers Sandra Brucet is a doctor in Biology and coordinator of the Aquatic Ecology Group at the UVic-UCC. She has undertaken several post-doctoral stays abroad, including a Marie Curie stay at the University of Aarhus, Denmark, and has worked at the European Commission implementing the European Water Directive. Her research focuses on studying continental aquatic ecosystems and the consequences of human activities for wetlands. In 2015, she was the first doctor to obtain a contract from ICREA (the Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies) to conduct research and investigation on the UVic campus. Federica Ravera holds a degree in Environmental Sciences from the Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca, and a doctorate in Environmental Sciences from the Autonomous University of Barcelona. She has worked in the field of international cooperation and rural development at the FAO (the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization) and has undertaken several post-doctoral stays. She joined the UVic-UCC in January 2017 with a Juan de la Cierva grant to undertake a project on the role of traditional agricultural and food knowledge in adapting to climate change under the umbrella of the Chair in Agroecology and Food Systems. She has been working at the UVic-UCC with a prestigious AXA post-doctoral grant since September 2017. What is the IPBES? The IPBES intergovernmental scientific regulatory platform is the international body that evaluates the state of biological diversity and the contributions of nature to society, in response to requests made by decision-making bodies. Its mission is to strengthen policy and decisions through science for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, long-term human well-being and sustainable development. In the field of biodiversity, IPBES is considered the equivalent of the intergovernmental working group on climate change (IPCC).

  • 24.03.2018

    The Rector?s Board of University of Vic ? Central University of Catalonia (UVic-UCC) and the Board of Trustees of the Balmes University Foundation regret the sentences dictated yesterday, Friday March 23, which has led to the imprisonment of ex-councillors Jordi Turull, Josep Rull, Dolors Bassa, Raül Romeva and the former president of the Catalan Parliament, Carme Forcadell, as well as forcing the Secretary General of EsquerraRepublicana de Catalunya (ERC), Marta Rovira, to flee the country. At these exceptional and particularly difficult moments, the University calls for dialogue and negotiation and to defend the democratic principles that guarantee the fulfillment of the civil and political rights of our country. We believe that the courts are not the place to resolve political conflicts, and that this is solely and exclusively a political conflict. UVic-UCC reaffirms its commitment to self-government, freedom of expression and dialogue as a means of resolving the conflict in which we are immersed.