This plan for hiring academic staff is named after Doctor Jaume Serra i Húnter, the first rector of the Autonomous University of Barcelona (the name of the University of Barcelona during the Second Republic), which in 1933 broke with the rigid system of state competitive examinations.
Graduated simultaneously in Laws and Arts from the University of Barcelona, in 1913, at the age of 35, he became professor of History of Philosophy, a discipline in which he was a leading figure in Europe. At the University of Barcelona, he did important work in the field of teaching and academic organisation. When the Second Republic was proclaimed, Serra i Húnter took office as dean of the Arts Faculty and, a month later, he became rector of the university (1931-1933), which at the time was known as the Autonomous University of Barcelona. During this period, the Republican university hired people of singular merit, who were selected by the institution on the basis of scientific and academic merits. Thus, under the lead of Serra i Húnter, the teaching structure was modified to appoint professors according to prestige and to allow the incorporation of specialised professionals through the figure of free professors, who were granted permission or venia docendi to deliver lectures on equal terms as regular professors appointed by the state.
In addition to his academic work, Jaume Serra i Húnter was a fellow of the Institute of Catalan Studies and the Royal Academy of Belles-Lettres of Barcelona. He was also an active politician, and was elected member of the Catalan Parliament in 1932. At the end of the Spanish Civil War, Serra i Húnter went into exile, initially in France, and later in Mexico, where he was a member of the National Council of Catalonia until his death in 1943.