President of the Valencia Region Government.
President of the University of Alicante.
President of the Universitat de València.
President of the Universitat Politècnica de València.
President of the Universitat Jaume I de Castelló.
President of the Miguel Hernández University of Elche.
President of the “Saint Vincent Martyr” Catholic University of Valencia.
President of the European University of Valencia.
Chair of the Social Council.
PhD García Chamizo.
Members of the university community.
Ladies and gentlemen.
During the academic year opening ceremony, it is customary at the University to present a summary report on the previous academic year, in order to give an account of the activities undertaken by the University. We do this as a way of serving society and the university community. Therefore, we will now provide an overview of the most relevant aspects of the past academic year.
An academic year that started like any other and finished in the exceptional context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On 19 September 2019, the academic year opening ceremony took place. The opening lecture was delivered by Juan Carlos Gómez Sala, Professor of Financial Economics and Accounting.
The University Senate met in regular session on 20 November 2019 to receive reports from the University President and the University Ombudsperson, and the elections for the University Senate were held.
During the past academic year, the following members joined the University of Alicante Social Council: the new representatives appointed by the Valencia Region Parliament, by the Regional Department of Innovation, Universities, Science and Digital Society, and by the Alicante Provincial Council. Eight meetings of the respective Social Council committees were held, plus two plenary sessions.
Elections took place for the Student Council. Álvaro Asencio Gallego was elected President.
Elections for the office of University President were called in the 2019/2020 academic year, as mandated by law, but they had to be cancelled, since the declaration and extensions of the state of emergency made it impossible to hold them within the academic term.
Regarding studies planning and training actions, the following dual degrees were implemented over the last academic year: Law & International Relations; Physics & Mathematics; Business Administration & Marketing; and Business Administration & Economics.
A specific agreement was also signed to establish, over the next academic year, the Interuniversity Programme of International Dual Degrees between the University of Alicante and the University of Vale do Itajaí. Under this programme we will expand our educational offer, allowing students to choose from among 11 new international dual degrees to be implemented in the 2020/2021 year.
We also strengthened our postgraduate offer. The Spanish National Agency for Quality Assessment and Accreditation (ANECA) approved four new official degrees, set to start this year: the master’s degrees in Cultural Tourism; Biodiversity Conservation and Marine and Terrestrial Environment Restoration; Digital Communication; and Data Science.
We offered a total of 55 postgraduate and specialisation programmes, with 10 new UA-only programmes, 6 of which were implemented in the 2019/2020 academic year.
As for UA-only master’s degrees and specialisation and expert courses, 86 programmes were approved (including renewed programmes as well as new projects) and 512 specialisation courses and activities were delivered.
Regarding the Doctoral School, 67 PhD candidates defended their theses, 24 of them with international PhD endorsement, and 10 international joint supervision agreements were approved.
Within the Lifelong University Programme, 117 courses were delivered. The Comprehensive Programme for Seniors became an established initiative and various extracurricular activities were run, including projects to encourage ICT skills acquisition among older people and the start-up mentoring programme, in partnership with the Science Park and the UAEmprende entrepreneurship campaign.
The University Library started changing its library management software to implement a system encompassing all print and electronic resources. Also noteworthy were the courses in digital skills offered by the Library and taken by more than 4,000 students, the high usage rates of its bibliographic collections and the activity of the UA Repository, with more than 2.5 million queries.
As for our work placement and internship programmes for UA students, over the past academic year 471 agreements were signed with companies and institutions, allowing almost 7,000 UA students to undertake work placements and internships before onsite activity was suspended.
With respect to employment and entrepreneurship, work was carried out throughout the academic year to implement a new job portal, to be launched in the 2020/2021 academic year. Remarkable actions include:
- 2nd GENNERA Programme, 5th Academic and Career Development Programme and the Tabarca Emprende entrepreneurship seminar, in partnership with ImpulsAlicante.
- Continuation of the Better Job Opportunities Programme.
- Other activities: business mentoring; Aula Emprende entrepreneurship workshop; Escape Room for entrepreneurs; Smart Cities, Work and Travel USA, and workshop for creating historically based games.
During the past academic year, the UA played an active role in employment and disability actions. Queries were answered through the Employment Centre’s online service and we cooperated with the working groups of the Spanish University Presidents Council (CRUE), the network of Valencia Region universities and international projects.
The Web Accessibility and Mobile Applications Unit was created. Among other initiatives, the Unit launched a campaign to increase accessibility at the UA and developed Online Automatic Transcription, a web application especially designed for students with hearing, cognitive and motor difficulties. The app was a nationwide success.
After onsite activity was suspended, the Student Support Centre shifted the focus of its activities and started working on a series of emergency funding schemes allowing students to keep studying online. 158 funding applications were processed.
Over the 2019/2020 academic year, the SICUE National Mobility Programme was run, in which 120 UA students and 59 incoming students took part. As for the ERASMUS PLUS European Mobility Programme, 524 UA students and 619 incoming students participated. Finally, participation rates for the UA’s own Global Mobility Programme remained high, with 125 UA students and 229 incoming students, due to the signing of new agreements with prestigious universities from all five continents.
Regarding research and knowledge transfer, during the 2019/2020 academic year, more than €10 million were raised through public R&D projects under national and regional programmes, a remarkable increase over the amount raised in the 2018/2019 academic year. As for international R&D&I programmes, we provided assistance in preparing 99 proposals submitted for 33 different European calls for applications. Moreover, 27 contracts were signed with the European Commission that resulted in more than €4 million being awarded. We also managed the execution of 95 international R&D&I projects, six of them coordinated by the University of Alicante.
During the past academic year, 586 research agreements and contracts were signed, amounting to €4.6 million. 19 Spanish and 12 international patent applications were submitted.
The 1st LEAN CT Programme was launched. Under the programme, intended to support science- or technology-based entrepreneurship, eight projects were selected. Those participating in the programme attended training sessions and received support from mentors with experience in relevant sectors and companies.
Throughout the 2019/2020 academic year, many UA research groups offered their technologies and capabilities to tackle the COVID-19 crisis and its consequences in all areas. After health authorities and public administrations called for cooperation, the University immediately offered its facilities, labs and material, as well as the talent and capabilities of its research staff in a wide range of knowledge areas. Many researchers applied for COVID-19-related urgency grants, including the UA’s own funding scheme.
In keeping with the University’s commitment to quality and educational innovation, over the 2019/2020 academic year several actions were undertaken. These included the accreditation renewal of 24 degrees and two new international quality assurance seals (EUR-ACE and EURO-INF) received for the master’s degrees in Chemical Engineering and Computer Engineering. In total, the University of Alicante has received nine international quality assurance seals.
The results of the 1st Teaching Quality Assessment Programme, found to be highly satisfactory, were published. Those teachers who received top scores within the DOCENTIA programme were awarded a symbolic diploma by the UA in recognition of their high-quality teaching work.
The University of Alicante continued to implement educational innovation actions. The most remarkable initiative this past academic year was a Teacher Training Programme with a focus on online teaching due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with 33 webinars that will remain available to the university community.
We are also pleased to state that the University of Alicante has been included in the world’s three leading university rankings. In the Shanghai ranking our results are similar to those obtained in the previous year and, in some disciplines, the UA ranks among the world’s top 400 universities.
In the prestigious QS ranking, the UA is featured in the 101-150 band for universities founded less than 50 years ago. Only nine Spanish universities are listed in the 2020 ranking. Our position in the overall QS ranking by fields of knowledge is particularly high, which is an important landmark given that only 27 Spanish universities are among the world’s best.
In the Times Higher Education World University Ranking, which analyses 1,500 institutions from all over the world, the University of Alicante performs strongly in all fields of knowledge. Moreover, this year a ranking has been published that measures how universities are adapting to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The University of Alicante ranks highly in gender equality, quality of education, and health and wellbeing.
As for campus facilities, the construction of the first phase of the Business Creation Centre, within the UA Science Park, is underway; the Natural Collections building won an award; the UAStore project and the roof of the Polytechnic School patio received awards from the Architects Association of Alicante; and the UA became the first university to implement NaviLens technology, which facilitates mobility for people with disabilities.
Regarding technology, the UA continued to implement new e-administration procedures and to expand the functionality of services offered to the UA community from UACloud. Of particular relevance were the implementation of online work and teaching solutions as well as the improvement and reinforcement of technological infrastructures, due to the shift to online activity and the greater burden on the related systems, particularly concerning online assessment.
In the field of prevention, activities were carried out to comply with all health regulations related to the pandemic.
With respect to culture, the 20th anniversary of the University of Alicante Museum was held, with a commemorative exhibition and book.
A particularly remarkable achievement was how we adapted to the new circumstances arising from the pandemic, which allowed us to maintain our cultural offer with the creation of a series of online resources across all areas, under the UAOnlineCulture label. Similar initiatives were launched for language-related and sporting activities.
Numerous activities were undertaken at the Alicante City University Venue and all other university venues and off-campus culture halls. Most notably, six new culture halls were created in the following towns: Ibi, Algueña, Monforte del Cid, Pego, Tibi and Balones.
UA triathletes had a brilliant year: Roberto Sánchez Mantecón was crowned U23 world champion; Camila Alonso won the bronze medal at the Spanish Elite Championship; and Fernando Alarza received the Spanish Royal Order of Sports Merit (bronze medal) in recognition of his career and good results at international events.
Before the state of emergency was declared, UA teams won seven medals at university competitions, namely five gold medals (women’s basketball, volleyball, football and 5-a-side football, and men’s volleyball) and two silver medals (women’s rugby and mixed tennis). Individual athletes won 68 medals.
One more year, in its commitment to social responsibility, inclusion and gender equality, the University of Alicante developed initiatives in these areas, such as training actions against gender-based violence; the incorporation of the gender perspective into university teaching; the UA-only degree programme to improve employability and inclusion among the intellectually challenged; and the Protection Protocol for Victims of Gender-Based Violence.
The UA&YOU Volunteering Programme was unveiled to the UA community and Alicante’s society, including, among others, the following actions: a volunteering programme against gender-based violence, the Community Volunteering Programme and the Healthy University Programme.
Also noteworthy is the UA Social Emergency Volunteering Programme. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, this programme has been responsible for, among other actions, running the UA job bank, offering assistance for UA students to finish the academic year, and printing and producing health material for free.
The University of Alicante reaffirms its commitment to institutional research chairs. Five research chairs were created during the past academic year: Research Chair in Justice and Peace; Research Chair in Patient Care; Emilio Balaguer Research Chair in Bioethics, History of Medicine and Social Medicine; Research Chair in Sustainable Architecture; and Research Chair in the Digital Generation Gap. At present, the total number of institutional research chairs at the UA is 24.
At the St Thomas Aquinas ceremony, the UA special awards were presented to top students having completed their degrees during the 2018/2019 academic year.
Other awards and honours include the 2020 UA Gender Equality Award to María Teresa Fernández de la Vega, the Maisonnave Award to the Advisory Board of the University of Alicante Democracy Archive, the Golden Laurel Award to Vicente del Bosque, and the University of Alicante Gold Medal to Francisco Gómez Andreu and Francisco Martínez Mojica.
We also wish to highlight the exhibition “Space, time and university. The future of the University of Alicante in its 40th anniversary year.”
The academic year closing ceremony took place on 11 June 2020. Several security measures, including restricted capacity, were implemented due to the health crisis. Besides, because of this situation, the traditional degree ceremony for new PhDs was not held.
At this ceremony, we would like to remember all those UA community members and other people with ties to the University who passed away during the last academic year:
GERMÀ COLOM I DOMÈNECH and EUSEBIO LEAL SPENGLER, honorary doctors.
LUIS DE CASTRO, Maisonnave Award.
JOAQUÍN ARIAS LÓPEZ, Social Council member.
FERNANDO RODRÍGUEZ TRIVES, co-director of the Arzobispo Loaces Research Chair.
and JOSÉ LUIS IGLESIAS BUHÍGUES, first dean of the Faculty of Law.
Service and administration staff: JOSÉ LUIS TOLÓN SÁNCHEZ, DIEGO IBÁÑEZ AGULLÓ, ALEJANDRO NAVARRO TENEDOR and OLIVIA MANZANARO GARCÍA.
Lecturers: MARÍA DE LOS ÁNGELES AYALA ARACIL, MARÍA LUZ CALLEJO DE LA VEGA, FRANCISCO RODRÍGUEZ REINOSO and ENRIQUE CLAVER CORTÉS.
As a final note, we would like to thank all those who trusted the University of Alicante and helped us achieve our objectives. Of course, we thank UA members, as they allowed the University to undertake all its activities in a particularly difficult academic year. Under these extraordinary circumstances, it would have been impossible for the UA to maintain its activity without the efforts of everyone involved.
Today, we start drafting the report for a new academic year, ready to face situations we could not even imagine a few months ago, and always working to achieve, in any scenario, the best for the University of Alicante.
Thank you very much.
Universidad de Alicante
Carretera de San Vicente del Raspeig s/n
03690 San Vicente del Raspeig
Tel: (+34) 96 590 3484Fax: (+34) 96 590 3464