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UPF proposes to the Spanish government the creation of a National Research Centre for Public Health around the Ciutadella of Knowledge project

UPF proposes to the Spanish government the creation of a National Research Centre for Public Health around the Ciutadella of Knowledge project

The University suggests it be located in the vicinity of the Old Fish Market, within the framework of the Ciutadella of Knowledge initiative. The rector, Jaume Casals, has submitted the proposal to the minister of Health, the minister of Science, the Catalan Government and Barcelona City Council.

27.07.2020

Imatge inicial

The coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 pandemic we are experiencing has highlighted the urgent need to strengthen health systems and the need to have public health infrastructures of scientific excellence and international relevance. In this context of health emergency and in the framework of strengthening the health system, Spain needs a National Research Centre for Public Health to provide ground-breaking knowledge in this area and establish synergistic relations with the various public health agencies and with research centres in Spain in areas related to public health.

The goal of this scientific strategy is to create a scientific research centre in Public Health that is internationally recognized, conducting basic research and, at the same time, as quickly as possible transforming the knowledge acquired in innovation, increasing public and private capabilities, and including support for the formulation and implementation of public health policies.

The new National Research Centre for Public Health should stand out for interdisciplinary research and merge the capacities of the health sciences with those of the natural sciences, the social sciences and the humanities.

UPF has submitted its proposal to the minister of Health, and puts itself at its entire disposal to enable the National Research Centre for Public Health, while also suggesting locating it in Barcelona, more specifically around the University’s Ciutadella campus.

The new National Research Centre for Public Health should stand out for interdisciplinary research and merge the capacities of the health sciences with those of the natural sciences, the social sciences and the humanities.

UPF aims for the Spanish government to incorporate this proposal within the series of projects that Spain is to submit to the European Union under the European Recovery Plan which will involve the unprecedented mobilization of resources for the different countries of the European Union.

The proposal submitted by UPF to the minister of Health, which has also been reported to the Ministry of Science and Innovation, the Catalan Government and Barcelona City Council, presents five arguments to substantiate the strength of the offer:

  1. UPF stands out and is internationally recognized in the field of public health (it is ranked 19th in the Shanghai World Ranking 2020, and is the third university in the European Union after the Karolinska Institute and the University of Copenhagen). In addition, UPF coordinates Spain’s most renowned master’s degree in Public Health. All in all, it already has the suitable academic and scientific environment to generate synergies and impact with the future National Research Centre for Public Health.
  2. UPF has launched a strategic programme to position itself as a global benchmark in research, teaching and innovation around the concept of planetary wellbeing, understood as an integral goal of human development, based on the evidence that human wellbeing, in its broader sense, is heavily dependent on the natural and environmental equilibrium of the Planet, and the strength and legitimacy of society’s political, financial, legal and cultural institutions. This strategic programme will undoubtedly provide another source of synergies with the proposed National Research Centre for Public Health.
  3. UPF, together with the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and the Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology (BIST), is developing the scientific project of the Old Fish Market, which involves the creation of a new complex for research and innovation, focusing on precision medicine, biodiversity and planetary wellbeing, to be built on land annexed to UPF’s Ciutadella campus. This project is the first visible action of the “Ciutadella of Knowledge” scientific, cultural and urban development initiative that aims to turn the surroundings of Ciutadella park into a benchmark urban hub of knowledge in southern Europe, and enjoys extensive institutional support.
  4. The Ciutadella district already hosts a variety of prestigious teaching, research and innovation institutions in the field of biology and health: the Spanish headquarters of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), the Barcelonaßeta Brain Research Centre (BBRC) of the Pasqual Maragall Foundation, the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM), the Hospital del Mar, the Institute of Marine Sciences (ICM-CSIC), the Marine Technology Unit (UTM-CSIC), the Institute of Evolutionary Biology (IBE-CSIC/UPF), the UPF Department of Experimental and Health Sciences, and the Center for Brain and Cognition of the same University. This group of institutions of excellence are an unbeatable setting for the future National Research Centre for Public Health, which could be physically located in the area of the Old Fish Market or on a neighbouring State-owned plot.
  5. In recent decades, Catalonia has developed and maintained a solid track record of research in public health, and is a leader in this field in Spain. This is highlighted by the creation in the 1980s of the Barcelona Public Health Agency (ASPB), the IMIM in the 1990s, the Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL) and the Barcelona Centre for International Health Research (CRESIB) at the turn of the century, and, more recently, ISGlobal, resulting from the fusion of the last two. On these bases, a National Research Centre for Public Health in Catalonia would consolidate and strengthen this field of science, which is strategic for the future of the health system.

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