University of Deusto

Bilbao, Spain

The oldest private university in Spain, Deusto hosts two campuses in Bilbao and San Sebastián and two other educational sites located in Madrid and Vitoria.





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The University

  • It was established in 1886. The concerns and cultural interest of the Basque Country in having their own university, as well as the interest of the Jesuits in establishing higher studies in Spain coincided in its conception.
  • It is striving for internationalisation and demonstrates a clear commitment to Europe and Latin America, having signed agreements with more than 200 universities.
  • It has a clear ambition of societal impact, with a special chair on urban design.

The City

  • Historically developed as a harbour city, with shipbuilding industries, and iron and steel industries.
  • Since the 1990s the city is experiencing a rapid transition.
  • In this transition, Bilbao rose to become an international hub of trade and business travel, playing host to important international events, the Euskalduna Conference Centre and Concert Hall, the Guggenheim Museum, Alhóndiga Bilbao and other venues in town.
  • Bilbao’s amazing transformation has earned the city a few prizes and awards. In 2010, it got the 1st Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize, also known as the Nobel Prize for innovative cities. In the first months of 2013, Mayor Iñaki Azkuna scooped his World Mayor Prize

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University of Deusto and UNIC

The University of Deusto (UD) is located in Bilbao, which is a post-industrial city. Historically developed as a harbor city, since the 90’s the city is experiencing a rapid transition towards a knowledge and innovation city. UD was founded in 1886, therefore combines local roots and global challenges. The institution joined UNIC in order to foster a new generation of young people with the knowledge, skills and social conscience to be the social transformation leaders and active citizens of a common future that shapes the European education space. UD’s main pillars are intellectual rigor and experienced based learning together with values such as leadership engagement and social commitment.

The Strategic Plan of Deusto is well-aligned with the ambitions of the UNIC University. This plan is based on three closely-related inspiring principles, which gather UD’s mission and aims: a people-centred university; a transformational university that also transforms itself; and a university for a fairer society. These main principles are based on values-based education; diversifying and innovating our range of academic programmes; focusing knowledge generation and transfer; promoting networking and its social impact; and strengthening a University Community committed to its Mission. At the University level, the entire Deusto community (university, networks and city) works towards the Deusto’ strategic goals. As such, UNIC adds European and intercultural dimensions to our mission.

The UNIC added value for Deusto is in its alignment with the current Strategic Plan objectives related to internationalization such as to increase virtual, blended and physical mobility of students and university staff, to foster international degrees, programmes and projects and to reinforce strategic networks, consortiums and partners.

Aims and Activities

The University of Deusto is one of the oldest universities in Spain, over 125 years old, non-profit university with 15% international students. UD is one of 18 accredited as an International Campus of Excellence in 2015 out of 51 institutions that applied. The university is remarkable for its capacity to combine a number of contrasting elements: local roots and global challenges, historic awareness and concerns for the future, leadership engagement and social commitment, intellectual rigor and experienced based learning, competition and cooperation, tradition and innovation.

Deusto is internationally renowned for its capacity in the Social Sciences and Humanities, in particular law, economics and business administration, Engineering, education and psychology as well as sociology and social work, culture and tourism, languages and communication and international Studies. 12 research institutes are spread in six main Faculty units. UD combines a high level of internationalization with excellence in teaching and research. UD has a well-established set of International Official Master programmes, including 3 Erasmus Mundus (EM) MSc programmes. Moreover, UD has developed an International Research School, which is one of the flagships of the International Campus of Excellence. In addition, the Resource Centre for Research and Learning houses close to one million volumes in the field of social sciences and offers 1000 work-places for individual researchers and multiple seminar rooms for team work and group debate.

As well as on educational and research excellence, the University of Deusto, has focused on gaining significant international leadership levels during the last few decades through the execution and coordination of academic and institutional cooperation within the frame of international programmes, actively participating in numerous calls. This experience is of great value for UNIC. The University of Deusto has a strong expertise on societal impact, outreaching research and pro-actively exploring challenges with students. For example, in the city of Bilbao, there is an iconic industrial island in the middle of the river which transforms in a multidimensional way: economical (factories are closing), social (families are leaving their houses there), cultural (the facilities are being abandoned). This demands new innovative solutions and is studied in multiple ways by researchers at the University of Deusto in Bilbao.

As part of its institutional policy, a big effort has been made to create International Networks and Projects that have increased the visibility and prestige of our university. Besides offering numerous advantages, this has allowed for sharing experiences and finding synergies in the fields of research, teaching and management, facilitating the exchange of students, teachers and administration and services staff, boosting the task of initiating and executing international projects.

Deusto’s interdisciplinary research is articulated around 5 interdisciplinary platforms on Social Justice and Inclusion, Ageing and Wellbeing, Creative Industries and Cities (B-Creative), Gender, Strengthening Participation, plus 4 interdisciplinary areas on Energy, Health, Territory, and Industry 4.0. Deusto has an important role in the UNICCityLabs. Deusto has a clear focus on the city and its challenges. The university is a business and company oriented university and closely works together with private organizations. An example is the Katedra Citylab.

In conclusion, UD is a Basque and global university with deep roots and open to the world, and with a universal outlook and mentality. It has a commitment with digitalization leading to increased virtual teaching and learning and with diversity as a nowadays value by including an innovative learning model as a coexistence reference in diversity. As such, Deusto is a complementary partner to UNIC.

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