Catalonia participates in the first edition of EAIE Community Exchange, the online higher education event launched this year to replace the Annual European Association for International Education (EAIE) Conference and Exhibition. The Europe's largest international higher education event, which starts today and will take place until Friday, is adjusted to a new virtual format to implement prevention and safety measures adopted due to COVID-19 pandemic.
Along these three days of presentations and development of collaboration networks between agents of international higher education, the Catalan university system has its own virtual stand to exchange ideas and acquire information, both on innovation in international mobility programs and best practices in the international university field.
The General Secretary of the Inter-university Council of Catalonia (CIC) Josep Ribas Seix pointed out the value of "going on with the policy of visibility and international promotion of the Catalan university system in Catalonia, despite the exceptional circumstances of the pandemic”. Ribas Seix has also mentioned the new prevention and safety measures introduced this academic year 2020-2021 in Catalonia to guarantee the rigour and quality of teaching “while facing this scenario of high complexity due to the COVID-19. These measures are especially important in a global context and have a considerable impact on the mobility of the university community”.
In the virtual event, Catalan universities presented its system of higher education offering a total of 525 undergraduate degree programmes and 650 master's degree programmes; 110 of them taught in English and 44 of them collaborating with a foreign university centre. The system consists of a total of 259,476 students and 17,342 are PhD students. In the field of research, Catalonia has 1,068 recognized research groups (SGR2017 call), 744 of them collaborate with Catalan universities. Overall, the Catalan knowledge system has 30,391 researchers and a total of 51,830 people involved in research and development activities.
Regarding the internationalization of the system, prior to the pandemic, 39.2% of master's students and 37.3% of doctoral students came from abroad. ICREA Researchers programme consists of 58% members from outside our borders (38% from the rest of the European Union; 16% from the United States and Canada; 13% from European states outside the EU, and 2% from other areas such as Latin America, the Middle East, Asia or Australia).
Universities recognized in the international rankings
Likewise, Catalan universities also stand out in the international rankings of university excellence. Three centres in our country (UPF, UAB and UB) are among the 300 world's best universities and 150 are among the Europe's best universities according to THE (World University Rankings). The study THE 250 under 50 places UPF 11th and URV 78th among the world’s best young universities. Within the same ranking, two Catalan centres (UPC and UOC) are among the 150 best-rated universities. In the same field, the international ranking QS 150 <50 includes two Catalan centres (UPF and UPC) among the TOP 15 young European universities. In terms of areas of knowledge, according to data from the study QS by Subject, Catalan universities are among the 50 world’s best and the 20 Europe's best in 9 out of 46 areas.
The centres of the Catalan university system also receive greater recognition with regards to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Three Catalan universities are among the top 100 universities in the world in terms of sustainability criteria (UPF is the 29th, UAB is the 35th and UPC is the 99th), according to the THE Impact Ranking. Catalonia is the country that measures a better achievement of UN SDG for Reducing Inequalities in its universities.
In-Person Event in Barcelona in 2022
In the framework of the last edition of the event held in September 2019 in Helsinki, Catalonia was appointed host country of the 32nd annual EAIE conference. The in-person event could not take place in Barcelona from the 15th to 18th of September this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, but it will in 2022.
Catalan participation in the event is also active in the parallel sessions of the exhibition dedicated, among other areas, to the plan of the university system in the Agenda 2030, research in COVID-19, teaching innovation projects or virtual transformation in international mobility.
The annual conference of the EAIE, Europe's Largest International Higher Education Event, in past editions brought together more than 5,000 delegates from nearly a hundred countries around the world. The event offers various activities, including workshops, exhibitors and conferences designed for the exchange of ideas among professionals from various academic environments. Catalonia has been present in EAIE editions with its own stand, Study in Catalonia, where a delegation coordinated by the Inter-university Council of Catalonia (CIC) included 12 universities of Catalonia, the Catalan Association of Public Universities (ACUP) and the Secretariat of Universities and Research. The Catalan delegation to the event provides complete information on the Catalan university system and its offer of degrees, masters and PhDs.