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About UPF

UPF presentation

Questioning. Advancing. Transforming.

Founded in 1990, UPF is a public university based in Barcelona that is highly competitive in research and aims to transform education to respond to future challenges.

In a context of major global challenges, UPF has undertaken an imperative commitment as a university institution: to help find solutions for the main challenges facing humanity and the planet, which are set out in the Planetary Wellbeing initiative.

Mission, vision and values at UPF Rankings

To improve the world we live in… To improve the world we live in…

As a public university, UPF fulfils its commitment to tackling the major challenges of the 21st century by creating, transmitting and transferring new multidisciplinary knowledge to guide the implementation of discerning policies and inspiring leadership.

The University carries out this activity in eight disciplines spread across three campuses in Barcelona

Facts and figures

2020-2021 academic year

10419 Bachelor's degrees students
27 Bachelor's degrees programmes
1279 Master students
31 Master programmes
455 UPF master’s studies students
25 UPF master’s studies programmes
1317 Doctoral students
9 Doctoral programmes
1283 Full-time equivalent teaching and research staff
308 Permanent teaching staff
719 Administrative and service staff
147,3 2021 Budget (M€)

… training and shaping outstanding professionals and responsive, responsible and committed people

UPF’s education model (EDvolution) prepares students to thrive in a global, changing and highly competitive job market.

Competency-based training (communication skills, digital literacy, autonomy, etc.), student support and tutoring, the use of new learning methodologies and a cross-disciplinary approach to programmes and degrees are part of a model that aims to shape cultured and insightful people, good professionals and committed citizens.

Alta demanada

Admission: high demand for study programmes

  • Two applicants per available place (2020-2021 academic year)
  • 13% of new students graduated from secondary school with honours (2020-2021 academic year)
Model educatiu

Education model

  • Spanish public university with the highest performance rate since 2014 (Conference of Spanish University Rectors (CRUE) Report, 2020)
  • 100% of undergraduate, master’s and doctoral studies positively assessed (AQU Catalunya, 2020)
  • Innovative degrees: Open Bachelor’s Degree Programme, Global Studies, Bioinformatics, Double Degree in Law with King’s College London, etc. 
  • Positioning in MOOCs: partnerships with Coursera, FutureLearn, Miríada X and edX
  • Internship agreements with more than 1,000 companies (2019-2020 academic year)


  • 87% graduate employment rate (AQU Catalunya, 2020)
  • Around 30% of UPF graduates find a job through the University (AQU Catalunya, 2020)
  • Alumni satisfaction: 90% of graduates would choose UPF again (AQU Catalunya, 2020)

…leveraging its research capabilities to meet global challenges

The research culture at UPF, based on responsible research and innovation principles, emphasizes the transfer of results and their social impact. Through open, collaborative, cross-disciplinary research, UPF strives to deliver solutions to the main global challenges, contributing to the wellbeing of people and the planet.

This model is made possible by the quality of the university’s teaching and research staff, as witnessed by UPF’s excellent research indicators with regard to both research funding secured, especially in Europe, and scientific output.

Qualitat i  impacte internacional

International quality and impact

  • 1st Spanish university in percentage of papers published in the most influential journals (Leiden, 2020)
  • 1st Spanish university in percentage of papers published in collaboration with other Spanish institutions (Leiden, 2020)
  • 2nd Spanish university in percentage of papers published in collaboration with foreign institutions (Leiden, 2020) 


  • EU Horizon 2020 programme results (2014-2020): 166 projects and €82.3 million, including:
    • 33 ERC grants
    • 56 Marie Curie actions
  • Results of the 7th European Union Framework Programme (2007 to 2013 calls): 145 projects and more than €75 million:
    • This amount accounts for 10% of the total obtained by all Spanish universities, even though UPF has just 1% of the Spanish university system’s teaching staff.
    • UPF was the No. 2 Spanish university in European funding secured in absolute terms despite its size.
  • Spanish National R&D and Innovation Plan: 308 projects and €30.2 million (2014 to 2020 calls)
  • 1st Spanish university in yearly scientific output per lecturer (IUNE Report, 2020)
  • 1st Spanish university in citations per lecturer (IUNE Report, 2020)
  • 1st Spanish university in National Plan projects (per 100 lecturers) (IUNE Report, 2020)
  • 1st Spanish university in EU Framework Programme projects (per 100 lecturers) (IUNE Report, 2020)
Capacitat formativa

Training capacity

  • 1st Spanish university in FPI grants (per 100 lecturers) (IUNE Report, 2020) 
  • 1st Spanish university in doctoral theses read (per 100 lecturers) (IUNE Report, 2020)
  • 73% of doctoral theses were written and defended in English (2019-2020 academic year)
  • 41 industrial doctoral projects funded by the Catalan government (2013-2020)
Captació i retenció de talent

Talent recruitment and retention

  • European Research Council (ERC):
    • Calls from 2014 to 2020: 33 ERC grants, making UPF the institution to receive the most funding from this body (CDTI report, 2018)
    • Calls from 2007 to 2013: 19 ERC grants. UPF was the No. 1 Spanish university in ERC Starting, Advanced and Consolidator Grants, accounting for 19% of the total number of ERC grants obtained in Spain.
  • Spanish and Catalan programme results: 43 ICREA, 22 Ramón y Cajal, 16 Juan de la Cierva, 12 Marie Curie, and 6 CIBER grants (as of January 2020)


  • Launch of UPFVentures, a start-up to strengthen the university’s relations with industry
  • 1st Spanish university in revenue from licences (per 100 lecturers) (IUNE report, 2020)

…networking and collaborating on international partnerships to design a global university

Internationalization is one of UPF’s founding goals, with regard to both the composition of its community and the orientation of its training and research. The ability to attract international talent at all levels is one of its trademark features.

The campus exudes diversity, creating unique opportunities for internationalization at home and in the classroom to supplement the wide range of mobility options in Europe and the rest of the world. 

In addition to the cooperation programmes and extensive network of exchange agreements, UPF’s participation in strategic projects such as EUTOPIA, to create a new European university model, reaffirms its ambition to remain in the leading position it has achieved in recent years.



  • 44% of master’s and doctoral students are international (2020-2021 academic year)
  • 46% of graduates have studied abroad (2019-2020 academic year)
  • 27% of the teaching staff is international (2020) 
  • 1st Spanish university in international outlook (Times Higher Education (THE) ranking, 2021)
  • Agreements with 28 of the Top 50 universities in the world (THE ranking, 2020) 


  • European universities: EUTOPIA  
  • Other networks: A4U, Europaeum, The Guild, ALEUESS, CASA (Consortium for Advanced Studies Abroad)
  • Public Policy Center with Johns Hopkins University (since 2013)   
  • Barcelona Centre for European Studies (BACES), with the Jean Monnet seal
  • 4 Erasmus Mundus joint master’s degree programmes, 9 double master’s degree programmes, and 3 double degree programmes (King’s College London, the Higher School of Economics Sant Petersburg, and Toulouse 1 Capitole University)
  • Barcelona International Summer School (BISS), Barcelona Program for Interdisciplinary Studies (BaPIS) and the Education Abroad Program

…from a humanistic perspective, in which culture permeates teaching and research

The university is, in essence, a place for debate, discussion and reflection, an ‘idea factory’ that must provide us with tools to decipher and interact with the world. UPF is an institution where scientific knowledge and humanistic culture advance together in search of answers and solutions to the challenges we face as a society.


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