The URV is to coordinate an interuniversity Master’s degree in Biomedical Data Science

This first educational proposal of its kind at postgraduate level in Catalonia comes at a turning point in the healthcare field when large amounts of biomedical data need processing

The Universitat Rovira i Virgili (URV) is to offer a Master’s degree in Biomedical Data Science beginning in September 2022. Participating in this new interuniversity programme, first promoted by the Bioinformatics Barcelona Association (BIB), will be research groups working in the technological and biomedical fields at seven Catalan universities. “This is a URV-led region-wide commitment”, says Domènec Puig, URV Vice-Rector for Academic Programming, Teaching and PDI.

This Master’s degree in Biomedical Data Science will be an official, publicly priced, two-year programme with an international focus since it will be taught in distance mode and entirely in English. The universities participating in the project are the URV, the University of Barcelona, the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, and the Universities of Lleida, Girona and Vic.

This innovative educational programme, which has never before been offered as a Master’s degree at any Catalan public university, comes at a turning point in the global healthcare field as the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the need to process large amounts of biomedical data and turn those data into knowledge and system improvements.

Managing big data in the healthcare field

“Our aim is to train data scientists who can generate value from the big data that are being created in the healthcare field and who can contribute to the advancement of precision and personalised medicine”, say Maria Vinaixa, from the Department of Electronic, Electrical and Automatic Engineering, and Sergio Gómez, from the Department of Computer Engineering and Mathematics, who are the coordinators of the programme.

Students who graduate from this new programme will be able to work in areas such as computational epidemiology: “They will become the people who tell us what we need to do in times of pandemics such as Covid-19”, add the above coordinators. A significant part of the programme will also be devoted to biostatistics and artificial intelligence applied to biomedical data.

The URV Master’s in Biomedical Data Sciences is intended for graduates of scientific and technical degrees related to the subjects taught on the Master’s (e.g. bioinformatics, sciences, engineering) who are interested in specialising in data science in the healthcare field. Prospective students must also have a good level of English and a good background in mathematics and programming.

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