14 March 2023
Conceptualisation of the UOC’s Interdisciplinary R&I Hub inauguration event
In October 2022, the Open University of Catalonia (UOC) held an inauguration event to celebrate the opening of its brand new Interdisciplinary R&I Hub in Barcelona’s 22@ district. We were contracted to conceptualise the narrative of the event, plan the visit path of the invited delegation, prepare the key speeches, and help design the spaces.
The UOC’s Interdisciplinary R&I Hub is a new 2,700 square-metre space given over entirely to the research, innovation, knowledge transfer and entrepreneurship taking place at the university. The inauguration event was overseen by Pere Aragonès, President of the Government of Catalonia, and Josep A. Planell, President of the UOC, with other representatives from the Catalan government and from the Barcelona City Council as well as various Catalan research organisations in attendance.
UOC’s R&I has experienced incredible growth in recent years, giving rise to solid and mature research, aligned with the changing society in which we live, and with a high degree of impact. We wanted to capture this scale of this with our event conceptualisation and design. Each of the four sections of the event space showcased different aspects, laboratories, and success stories of the UOC’s R&I. For example, we presented the work of Ágata Lapedriza, researcher in Computer Studies, Multimedia and Telecommunications at the UOC, who connected from MIT while on a trip to visit colleagues with whom she is developing robot therapists for mental health assessment and monitoring. And downstairs, we discovered the Cognitive Neurolab and the Wireless Networks lab, led by Elena Muñoz and Xavier Vilajosana, respectively.
But even in a nicely planned event, one of the most memorable moments came spontaneously, when researcher Rachel Palmén was presenting a new European centre of excellence for gender equality in research, and asked the president and the Catalan minister of research and universities, as well as the rector of the UOC, all of them men, for more support and visibility for women in research. Dozens of UOC employees in the room were listening to her and burst into a resounding applause in unison.
We’re excited to continue witnessing the growth of this Hub in the years to come.
In the main image (from left): Marta Aymerich, the Vice President for Strategic Planning and Research of the UOC; Joaquim Nadal, the Catalan Minister for Research and Universities; Pere Aragonès, the President of the Generalitat de Catalunya; and Josep A. Planell, the President of the UOC. Credit: UOC.