Service learning

Organisations and universities: a partnership for the future
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Service learning (SL) is an educational approach in which participants are trained while working on the real needs of the community with the aim of improving it. In order to disseminate this methodology and publicise some success stories in Barcelona, the virtual conference Entities and universities, a collaboration for the future was celebrated on 23 February 2021.

The conference was proposed by the working group Social Transformation of the Municipal Universities Advisory Board (CAMU), which has been tackling, among other issues, the extension of service learning in Barcelona and its social impact since 2018. The aim of the conference was to respond to some of the city's challenges identified by the working group, such as increasing the visibility of the service learning carried out by universities and strengthening the network of collaboration between them and local organisations. In detail, the conference shared the information needed to undertake a service learning activity with universities, identifying new challenges and opportunities for collaboration and creating a space for debate and contact between organisations and universities at the same time.

Science as a key point

The proposals of the CAMU working groups are promoted by Barcelona City Council's Department of Science and Universities. For this reason, the conference, opened to all kinds of organisations, was focused on the field of science, understood in a broad sense as an essential tool for tackling contemporary urban and social challenges.

The first part of the conference and the final conclusions were broadcast live on Barcelona City Council's YouTube channel, with a live-chat for questions and comments that were sent to the speakers (the detailed programme of the conference can be found at the end of this page).

Positive results

According to the results of the evaluation survey, the conference was considered very positive, especially the round table and the presentation of experiences, and useful for clarifying the concept of service learning and giving greater visibility to universities and organisations working in this field. Also, it proved to be a motivating space for undertaking service-learning activities or projects between organisations and universities. Both organisations and universities were represented in all thematic groups. The number of participants from academia and science outnumbered those from institutions, although the number of organisations almost doubled the number of institutions from academia and science.


Conference video recording

In order to ensure that the information and experiences shared during the conference continue facilitating contact and collaboration between organisations and universities within the framework of service-learning projects, two recordings are available below: a summary version of the conference, which includes the most relevant or representative elements, and an short version with the entire conference (except for the thematic groups, which required registration).

If any entity would like to send proposals or needs related with an SL project, there is a list of online information links from universities.





More resources and information




10.30 - 10.35. Welcome 

Welcome, connectivity check and presentation of the day.

10.35 - 10.45 h. Introduction 

  • Presentation of the Department of Science and Universities and orientation of the conference, by Julia Miralles de Imperial, delegate for Science and Universities of Barcelona City Council.
  • Presentation of the work of the CAMU Social Transformation working group, by Sebastià Sarasa, professor emeritus of the Universitat Pompeu Fabra and coordinator of the working group.

10.45 - 11.45 h. Two service-learning experiences from the scientific field 

  • FAADA and school canteens for climate change, health and animals in the subject of Sustainable Development at the Faculty of Biology of the UB. Service learning experiences promoted by various organisations linked to the Barcelona City Council's Council for Educational Innovation (CIP) and the Faculty of Biology of the University of Barcelona. Presentation by the Faculty of Biology (UB) and the Foundation for Advice and Action in Defence of Animals (FAADA).
  • Climate impact of natural gas and large energy infrastructures. Service-learning experience promoted by the Observatory on Debt in Globalisation (ODG) and the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) in the framework of the Research-Action workshop of the Master's Degree in Science and Technology. Presentation by the UPC's Institute for Research in Science and Technologies for Sustainability and the Observatory on Debt in Globalisation.

11.45 - 12.00 h. Break 

12.00 - 13.00 h. Round table: Service Learning in Universities 

Presentation of the service learning activities and spaces of the Universitat de Barcelona, the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, the Universitat Pompeu Fabra and the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, by:

  • UB - Victoria Morín, lecturer at the School of Nursing, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
  • UAB - Sara Martínez, coordinator of the ApS Office at the UAB (FAS).
  • UPC - Dídac Ferrer, Head of the Innovation and Community Office.
  • UPF - Vanessa Soria, technician of the Teaching Innovation Area.
  • UOC - Nadja Gmelch, Director of the Open Knowledge, Globalisation and Cooperation Projects Operative Group.

Moderator: Mireia Esparza, Service Learning Promotion Centre.

13.00 - 15.30 h. Lunch break

15.30 - 16.30 h. Thematic groups

Contact, debate and prospection of collaborations, divided in groups dynamised by online participation tools and framed respectively in the following three axes:

  • Group 1 - Healthy and sustainable food
  • Group 2 - Environment and cities of the future
  • Group 3 - Gender, diversity and equity

16.30 - 17.00 h. Conclusions and closing

Presentation of the conclusions and main results of each thematic group, by a member of each group. Closure by Julia Miralles de Imperial, Delegate for Science and Universities, Barcelona City Council.



The conference is organised by the Department of Science and Universities of Barcelona City Council with the collaboration of the Municipal Universities Advisory Council and La Mandarina de Newton, which is also conducting the event.


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