According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 15% of the world population suffers some form of physical, psychic or sensory disability. That means more than 1 billion people around the globe.

One of the duties of the welfare state is making it possible for people with disabilities to access work, public services as well as, specific education and assistance programs. That is why public administrations, as well as many private and non-profit organizations, are making great efforts to break down the barriers that prevent these people from developing fully.

Universities play a very important role in this process. In the first place, by giving opportunity to citizens with some type of disability to access education in our centres and overcoming the physical barriers or any other problems that may arise in relation to their disability. To do this, it is necessary to adapt the access routes and have the necessary personnel and support material as well all the relevant information.

I have read several reports published last weekend on the occasion of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. I am saddened that although we are well into the twenty-first century, many factors still prevent people with disabilities from enjoying a normal social and career life. I worry about not being able to develop and implement more and better systems that would make their life easier. But I’m amazed and excited to know that every day many professionals dedicate their time, resources and knowledge to reduce or eliminate the obstacles on their way.

However, I am convinced that we can be proud of the improvements that we enjoy and that all people with disabilities, no matter where they live or what problems they experience, can also participate in the advantages and possibilities that science, technology and knowledge contribute to make this world a better place.

Posted by Juan M. Corchado

Juan Manuel Corchado (15 de Mayo de 1971, Salamanca, España) Catedrático en la Universidad de Salamanca. Ha sido Vicerrector de Investigación desde el 2013 hasta el 2017 y Director del Parque Científico de la Universidad de Salamanca. Elegido dos veces como Decano de la Facultad de Ciencias, es Doctor en Ciencias de la Computación por la Universidad de Salamanca y, además, es Doctor en Inteligencia Artificial por la University of the West of Scotland. Dirige el Grupo de Investigación Reconocido BISITE (Bioinformática, Sistemas Inteligentes y Tecnología Educativa), creado en el año 2000. Director del IOT Digital Innovation Hub y presidente del AIR Institute, J. M. Corchado también es Profesor Visitante en el Instituto Tecnológico de Osaka desde enero de 2015, Profesor visitante en la Universiti Malaysia Kelantan y Miembro del Advisory Group on Online Terrorist Propaganda of the European Counter Terrorism Centre (EUROPOL). J. M. Corchado ha sido presidente de la asociación IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics, y coordinador académico del Instituto Universitario de Investigación en Arte y Tecnología de la Animación de la Universidad de Salamanca e investigador en las Universidades de Paisley (UK), Vigo (Spain) y en el Plymouth Marine Laboratory (UK). En la actualidad compagina toda su actividad con la dirección de los programas de Máster en Seguridad, Animación Digital, Telefonía Movil, Dirección de Sistemas de Información, Internet de las Cosas, Social Media, Diseño e Impresión 3D, Blockchain, Z System, Industria 4.0, Gestión de Proyectos Ágiles y Smart Cities & Intelligent Buildings​, en la Universidad de Salamanca y su trabajo como editor jefe de las revistas ADCAIJ (Advances in Distributed Computing and Artificial Intelligence Journal), OJCST (Oriental Journal of Computer Science and Technology) o Electronics MDPI (Computer Science & Engineering section). J. M. Corchado desarrolla principalmente trabajos en proyectos relacionados con Inteligencia Artificial, Machine Learning, Blockchain, IoT, Fog Computing, Edge Computing, Smart Cities, Smart Grids y Análisis de sentimiento.

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