The Governing Council of the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) agreed on 16 March 2005 to name Dr Tony Bates Doctor honoris causa for his leading role worldwide in the systematic application of ICTs to higher education, an approach that is leading to a change in student learning model and also in the organisational model of institutions. He has created his own perspective and view in this field, both of which have been acknowledged throughout the world.

Doctor Bates has projected and led an option that holds the UOC as a centre of excellence regarding research and innovation in e-learning throughout the world.