UB sustainability roadmap approved

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The first ordinary session of the Governing Council of the 2021-2022 academic year took place today. One of the most important measures taken in the session was the approval of the roadmap for implementing sustainability actions and responsible ecological behaviour at the University of Barcelona. The plan, drawn up by the Vice-Rector’s Office for Equal Opportunities and Gender with the collaboration of other UB units, will last three years and includes eight basic objectives.

Firstly, the aim is to ensure that UB buildings comply with current environmental regulations. Also, sustainability requirements are being promoted in administrative contracts; sustainable mobility is being reinforced, and the year 2050 is set as the deadline for achieving carbon neutrality at the UB. It also seeks to implement a culture of consumption that minimizes waste generation, and to incorporate the perspective of sustainable development into the academic curriculum.

The Governing Council has also approved the new University of Barcelona Heritage Regulation. This document, which replaces the current one, dating from 1997, adapts to current regulations and to the current needs of heritage management.

Regarding another issue of the agenda, the vice-rector for Research, Jordi Garcia, has proposed the UB’s accession to the San Francisco Declaration , an initiative born in 2012 during the annual meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology in this city in the United States, which establishes the need to improve research assessment. Its objectives are to call attention to new research evaluation tools and processes; and the responsible use of metrics that align with academic values and promote consistency and transparency in decision-making; develop new policies and practices, and to call for a broader representation of researchers in the design of research evaluation, among others. The Governing Council voted in favour of this proposal.

In the session, the attendants also informed about the deployment of the Erasmus Charter for Higher Education (ECHE) at the University of Barcelona, an accreditation that allows universities to participate in the Erasmus program during the period 2021-2027. The most important commitments established by the Charter consist of reaching four objectives: digitization, inclusiveness, sustainability, and civic engagement.

The vacancies for the tenure-track 1 lecturers and the call for the positions of tenure-track 2 lecturers and tenure university lecturer have been approved as well.

Rector’s report

In his report, the rector, Joan Guārdia, spoke about several issues. First, he mentioned the analysis conversations of the parliamentary process of the organic law of the university system (LOSU) and the resolution of the Investigo program for the recruitment of young researchers (aged under 30), a resolution "that has been very difficult and has not been very favourable for public universities". The rector also referred to the fact that the great European center of neurotechnology, Spain Neurotech, will be installed in Madrid, even though Barcelona is a city particularly well positioned in the field of neuroscience in Europe. In this sense, he noted that "together with the Ministry of Universities and Research and the rest of Catalan rectors, we are already working to implement a project of our own, with a mixed Catalonia-Basque Country structure, the Catalonia-Euskadi Neurotech".

Finally, the rector highlighted the University’s good results in terms of this year’s pre-enrolment data: "The UB has once again increased the number of first-choice applications and offers four of the seven degrees with the highest grade point average".