From day one to international excellence, in 25 years

Pompeu Fabra University (UPF) is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. It started to operate in the academic year 1990-1991 in the Balmes Building, which today houses the Barcelona School of Management higher education centres. 316 students enrolled on two degree courses (Law and Economic and Business Sciences). On 8 October 1990, the first UPF lecture was held in the Balmes Building.

Pompeu Fabra University became the fourth public university in Catalonia in 1990. In 1994 the first students graduated and just two years later the university started on the first major extension works: the Ciutadella campus. Years later the university participated in the creation of the Biomedical Research Park and the Continuing Education Institute, the new Campus del Mar and Campus de Poblenou, the 22@ and a whole host of institutions and centres specializing in teaching, research and transference. Together they constitute the UPF Group. ‘In 1993 the IDEC Foundation, otherwise known as UPF Barcelona School of Management, was established in the Balmes Building. It focuses on higher education (master programs and postgraduate courses) and places emphasis on training and the professional side of things’ explains Daniel Sierra de la Figuera, the current Dean of UPF Barcelona School of Management and a lecturer of Economics at UPF since 1991.

Anna García-Altés was one of the first students from the first class of Economic Sciences at UPF. ‘We were all new: the lecturers, the University, the students...’ she remembers. ‘The atmosphere was really refreshing. People were very eager and wanted to do well, provide good training, be great students’, she added. She also remembers that they had a different curriculum from the rest of the universities. ‘It was really innovative. We were subject to continuous assessment; we had classes in the morning and the evening, a lot of practical classes and lots of exercises to complete’.

Over the last 25 years, UPF has managed to become a university that is recognised globally, has been proclaimed the twelfth best university in the world amongst those that are less than 50 years old, and the fifth best university amongst those that have made the most progress in the ranking in the last 5 years. UPF IDEC and UPF Barcelona School of Management have established themselves as UPF’s higher education centres. They offer a wide and varied range of postgraduate courses and master programs that are designed to satisfy the latest tendencies and needs of the labour market.