Jaume Puy has been in command of the University of Lleida since 2019. During this time he has experienced the arrival of a pandemic, its management and its adaptation to it. The UdL combines a long university tradition with a young and dynamic structure that is committed to quality training and research. It currently has more than 9,000 undergraduate and graduate students.
After a complicated year due to the arrival of Covid-19, how is this school year planned?
Fortunately, mass vaccination seems to be paying off and we will be able to relax containment measures a bit. We are going to gradually increase attendance, without neglecting the already consolidated preventive measures (hygiene, ventilation, mask and distance where necessary) and in turn we are going to promote vaccination among students, always in coordination with the Department of Health of the Generalitat de Catalunya.
What goals has your government team set for itself in the coming months?
We hope to be able to redirect activities towards normality prior to the pandemic, incorporating everything that we have learned in the process and that has improved some areas of our activity, such as electronic administration. We are going to continue negotiating with the Catalan government to improve university funding, to confront the immediate future of the institution with guarantees. Likewise, the new strategic plan that is being drawn up should mark the actions of the UdL in training, research and transfer of results for the coming years.
How would you summarize this past year marked by the pandemic?
For all universities, the pandemic has been a stress test from which we have emerged reinforced, since, even with all the problems that have occurred, we have been able to implement methodologies, mechanisms and tools so that the administration, training and the investigation were still active. Students have continued to graduate and researchers have continued to request projects and publish.
What changes will you make compared to previous years?
We are in the second half of the mandate and the immediate objectives are the recovery of normality, the consolidation of the improvements carried out, and the administrative restructuring to make the operation of the UdL more efficient.
“One of the immediate objectives is to make the University more efficient”
What role will the internationalization of the university play in this course?
The flow of international students has been greatly affected by the pandemic, so we aspire to recover the previous figures for mobility, and once again encourage cooperation with institutions in other countries for academic and research purposes.
The University of Lleida is ranked 16th in the world in terms of quality of teaching, according to the Times Higher Education ranking. How important are these classifications for the institution?
Appearing in these external classifications where the institution is evaluated independently is convenient due to the stimulus and projection it entails, and today it is a requirement for us to be eligible as a destination for students in certain scholarship programs in some countries. And beyond the general classifications, the sectorial ones help us to show the scientific areas where we are best situated.
Placing ourselves among the first universities in the world is a recognition but also a stimulus and a challenge to stay active and try to establish ourselves in such outstanding positions.
What are the most popular undergraduate and graduate courses at this university?
There are a good number of degrees (Medicine, Nursing, Veterinary, Law, Education, Business Administration, Engineering, Computer Science ??) that have a sustained high demand over time and in which the graduates achieve very high levels of employment. Other degrees, such as agri-food or forestry, are known for their specificity in the Catalan system and are also recognized for their great research activity. We also have an excellent offer in the humanities, with good professional prospects.
“Being among the best institutions is a stimulus to continue active”
Research is also a fundamental part of universities. How will it develop in this academic year?
We have a complete recovery of the activity, which at no time has been interrupted. Both the research centers associated with the UdL and our departments, the scientific-technical services and the administrative units that support research are 100% active. Our project aims to make our university an attractive place for well-trained researchers to carry out their research projects. We are committed to attracting pre and post-doctoral researchers to energize our research groups.
What relationship does the University have with the business world?
Despite having a significant number of agreements with private companies, facilitating our students to do internships in companies in all our degrees, having research groups and high-quality support services and being partners with the city council of the science and technology park of Lleida, the transfer results have a long way to improve. It is a commitment to the competitiveness of the economy that the university must face decisively.