UB was founded in 1450. Today it boasts of a student body of 74,000 and a teaching staff of 4,150 members. Degrees are offered in 71 different fields with numerous postgraduate programs as well as continuing education courses. UB is the largest of the six universities of Barcelona and of the ten in Catalonia. The UB is ranked the first Spanish university, and the twenty third European institution, in scientific quality and productivity. The UB manages about 150 European projects per year, for an amount of about 19.3 million euro. The Enteric Virus Group of the Department of Microbiology of the University of Barcelona has been involved since 1979 in research on environmental virology, and particularly on the development of procedures for the detection and characterisation of human enteric viruses. The stability of enteric viruses under natural and disinfection conditions is also a major research subject for the group. Research on hepatitis A virus started in 1986, covering many aspects of clinical, environmental and basic biology of the virus. Current tasks of the group include studies of viral safety assessment, which comprise standardised determination of HAV in blood derivatives. On the other hand, the group has been actively involved in the production of synthetic and recombinant hepatitis A virus immunogens. The facilities are fully equipped for handling human pathogenic microorganisms, cell culture procedures and molecular biology studies. The Scientific Technical Services of the UB include highly sophisticated equipment, including Real-Time thermocyclers, automated sample robot processors, and specifically trained technical support, fully available for the development of this project. The Enteric Virus Group of the UB was the first university laboratory in Spain to receive the certification of Good Laboratory Practices compliance for validation studies of viral safety.