The Rovira i Virgili University (URV) was created in 1991 by the Catalan parliament. Located in southern Catalonia, it has developed a multi-centre structure with six campus sites. The URV employs nearly 1,000 full-time equivalent academic staff (4 per cent international, 38 per cent adjunct lecturers) and 640 administrative and service staff. Its total budget is €98.9 million. The URV’s scientific production is reflected in its 998 Web of Science publications (2013) and its presence in six ESI areas of excellence. The number of publications per permanent member of teaching staff is the fourth highest in Spain. The special emphasis that the URV has placed on research allows it to play a leading role in regional development, especially in the areas that are closely linked to the economic strengths of the region: chemistry and energy, nutrition and health, tourism, heritage and culture, and oenology. The wide-ranging and well-defined relationship between the university, business and society is one of the main reasons why the URV and its surroundings have been recognised as a Campus of International Excellence by the Spanish Ministry of Education. As such, the URV provides the region with a knowledge structure that is internationally visible and that achieves international recognition.