Research in action Research in action

Fields of knowledge and outstanding projects Fields of knowledge and outstanding projects


Engineering and Information and Communications Technologies

Despite its short history, the Department of Information and Communication Technologies (DTIC) is already recognized for its high-quality research output and international impact. DTIC is leader in both the number of researchers contracted through the Catalan government’s ICREA programme and the number of grants received from the European Research Council (ERC). It is also the department that does the most to make UPF the top Spanish university in terms of ICT R&D funding from European funds.

In 2015, the Department was named a “María de Maeztu” Unit of Excellence, a programme funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness with the aim to accredit public research centres and units in any field in which they demonstrate scientific leadership.

These and other achievements have helped to position DTIC within the top 100 departments of its kind in the world, according to the prestigious Shanghai ranking.

Health and Life Sciences

In recent years, the Department of Health and Life Sciences(DCEXS) has made a name for itself in a variety of research fields with a growing research output. Members of the DCEXS publish over 500 research articles a year, more than 75% in top-quartile journals. The Department has also proven increasingly able to secure competitive funding.
Moreover, the DCEXS has been a pioneer in creating programs for Postdoctoral and PhD researchers to get the basic knowledge and skills used in university teaching. 
The department is located within the PRBB, a large scientific infrastructure housing several public research centres that is moreover physically connected to Barcelona’s Hospital del Mar, making it one of the largest biomedical research hubs in southern Europe.
In 2015, the Department was named a “María de MaeztuUnit of Excellence. This programme is funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness. Its aim is to accredit public research centres and units in any field in which they demonstrate scientific leadership and can have a global impact whilst at the same time actively collaborating in their social and business environment.


The Department of Law has decades of experience in applied research in the social sciences, as well as in researcher and postgraduate training. It is home to around 150 researchers and 12 research groups that aspire to provide legal practitioners with tools to improve institutions and, thus, citizen welfare. The research potential of these groups has been recognized through the funding obtained in competitive research calls and can be seen in their extensive scientific output.

The department promotes highly innovative master’s programmes with a markedly international orientation. It also offers a PhD programme that was awarded the Pathway to Excellence label by the Spanish Ministry of Education in 2011 and that, in the last five years, has accumulated more than 70 PhD theses.


The Department of Humanities encompasses 38 areas of knowledge, grouped into four paths: History, Thought, Art, and Literature and Literary Theory. There is a consistent link between research and teaching, particularly within postgraduate programmes, as witnessed by the topics explored in the Faculty’s master’s theses and PhD dissertations.

Economics and Business

Since UPF’s founding in 1990, the Department of Economics and Business has evolved into a leading centre for research and teaching. It ranks among the most outstanding departments in Europe and brings together an international community of more than 20 different nationalities.
Intellectual life in the Department is centred on a variety of weekly research seminars in the Department’s areas of research. In addition, the Department hosts a large number of visiting scholars and lecturers. As a result, students and teaching staff are exposed to a continuous flow of new researchers working at the frontiers of knowledge in their fields.

Finally, with the financial backing of the Catalan government, the Department, together with the Institute for Economic Analysis (IAE-CSIC) and the Department of Economics at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), created the Barcelona Graduate School of Economics (Barcelona GSE), ranked among the top 8 international research centres in Spain (Severo Ochoa accreditation).

Political and Social Sciences

The Department of Political and Social Sciences was formally founded in 1996. Since then, it has managed to consolidate a series of research areas and has established itself as an attractive academic institution with a strong, international profile. Today, the unit offers academic programmes and research in the fields of political science, public administration, sociology, social psychology, social determinants of health, criminology, and social science methodology. Currently, have around a hundred researchers in all.
The unit is organized into two scientific sections: Political Sciences and Sociology. It also includes the sub-sections of Social Psychology and Social Science Methodology. The two scientific sections are organized into ten main lines of research, each associated with a different research group.

Translation and Language Sciences

Research activities of the Department of Translation and Language Sciences focus on language and linguistic communication in various forms and contexts, spanning a wide range of research areas and disciplines in theoretical and applied linguistics, translation, and related areas of literary studies.

The Department is home to 11 research groups, which conduct their activities through competitively funded research projects. The Department organizes regular research-related activities (conferences, workshops, talks and seminars) and encourages the publication of working papers by its researchers and graduate students.


The UPF Department of Communication ranks among the most outstanding departments in this area in Spain in terms of both scientific output and its capacity to secure funding.

The teaching and research activities take place at the Poblenou campus, which was built in 2009 and offers state-of-the-art facilities. The campus is located in Barcelona’s [email protected] district, the largest urban, economic and social transformation project the city has promoted in recent years. The district is home to modern technology areas and offices, as well as research, innovation and university education facilities, media business incubators, and residential areas for entrepreneurs, students and lecturers involved in the communications sector.


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Why UPF?

The research in figures

10 best university in the world among universities aged 50 years or under (THE)
1 best Spanish university in international outlook (THE)
46,3 € million from Horizon 2020
39 ERC grants
26 % of international faculty
57 ICREA research professors
2 María de Maeztu accreditation
75 % theses defended in English
40 Industrial PhD projects

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