The rector of the Basque public university, Eva Ferreira, has expressed her satisfaction with this important progress in the project: “We have had to overcome unforeseen difficulties – she declared – the economic crisis, derived from the increase in energy costs and the war of Ukraine, made it impossible to materialize the previous award, but we have not given up in the effort to carry out our commitment. The Faculty of Medicine and Nursing, the health sector and Basque society itself deserve to improve the teaching and research infrastructure of this center and we have finally taken the decisive step. I want to thank all the people from the university community who are firmly committed to the project for their collaboration and also the decision with which the Department of Education of the Basque Government has committed itself to the task, providing financial resources, but also their political and institutional support”.
The works have been tendered for an amount of 64,092,555.22 euros. Companies will be able to submit their offers until February 3, 2023. The forecast managed by the university is that the signing of the corresponding contract will be formalized in the second half of May 2023, with a subsequent period of one month for the start of the plays. In other words, the necessary works will foreseeably begin in the second half of June 2023. The Basque public university is confident that the building will be operational throughout the 2026-2027 academic year.
As will be recalled, last August the University of the Basque Country terminated the procedure for awarding the works contract for the new building, due to the fact that the winning entity, a joint venture (temporary union of companies) made up of three companies, declined ultimately formalize the contract. For this, they justified the economic situation, which had triggered a disproportionate rise in costs in the energy, raw materials and construction markets that made the offer they had submitted unaffordable. Faced with this situation, the UPV/EHU has had to reformulate the conditions of the new tender and call it again.
The new building will also house the Advanced Pole in University Training, Collaborative Research and Knowledge Transfer in Health Sciences that emerged after the framework of reflection between the Department of Education of the Basque Government and the UPV/EHU, in the field of Health Sciences. Health in the Basque Country. Its financing is part of the Euskadi Next 2021-2026 Program, aimed at enhancing the strengths of the Basque Country in the use of European funds, which has one of its main axes in the health and care of people. The Advanced Pole will make it possible to optimize the excellence of the three dimensions of university activity in the field of Health Sciences: training, research and knowledge transfer.
In the field of teaching, the new building will house the degrees in Medicine, Physiotherapy and Nursing, as well as the seven official master’s degrees in the area of Health Sciences: Healthy Aging and Quality of Life; Pharmacology; Biomedical engineering; Biomedical Research; Microbiology and Health; Neurosciences; and Public Health. This new infrastructure will allow early contact of the student body with the reality of the patient, as well as improve coordination between degree courses, create scenarios that encourage learning, and promote new synergies with nearby centers, such as the Bilbao School of Engineering, where from the next academic year 2023-2024 the degree of Biomedical Engineering will be offered.
With regard to research, it will promote new projects associated with Biomedical Engineering, Family Medicine and Personalized Medicine, and will strengthen the areas of Nursing and Physiotherapy, through doctoral programs that maintain specific lines for these areas.
In the third area, the competitiveness of R+D+i and the transfer of results will be increased, both by basic research groups and by those of a more healthcare nature. This collaborative environment will allow the promotion of applied research projects for companies in the Biomedical Engineering sector and will be a dynamic element for the transfer of knowledge generated through patents and start-ups.
The building has a configuration of four combs to optimize the available space, the largest (south area) being the one that will house the research spaces and teaching laboratories. It will be built on the triangular plot of around 5,300 square meters, limited by Avenida de Montevideo and Calle Gurtubay. The term of execution of the work will be 36 months.