Graduation of the Second Promotion of Philosophy, Politics and Economics

The graduation of the second promotion of the Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics took place on 30 June at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. The degree has been offered through the Alliance 4 Universities since 2013.

In the event, General Director of the news agency Servimedia José Manuel González Huesa gave a conference entitled “La comunicación, una cuestión de responsabilidad” [Communication, A Question of Responsibility]. The conference was followed by the traditional handing of diplomas and a speech by the students’ representative. The graduates of this second promotion also offered a musical performance and commemorative video made by them. The event ended with a few words from the current President of the A4U and Rector of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona Margarita Arboix.

These types of studies have an extensive and prestigious academic tradition in English-speaking countries. Students acquire solid training in political science and economics, with an important foundation in critical and moral analysis skills proper of the humanities. The uniqueness of this degree is student mobility, given that students have the chance to study in both Barcelona and Madrid, as well as spend a semester or more abroad.

Scientific publications from Spanish universities have increased more than 70 per cent

The number of scientific publications carried out by research staff from Spanish universities has increased by more than 70 per cent in the last decade, according to the results of the last annual report made by IUNE on University R+D+I, an observatory by the 4U partnership, (universities Autónoma de Barcelona, Autónoma de Madrid, Carlos III de Madrid and Pompeu Fabra).

This new edition of the report by the IUNE Observatory analyses the research and innovative activity of the Spanish University System (abbreviation in Spanish: SUE) by means of a set of indicators with data from 79 Spanish public and private universities from 2007 to 2016. Over this period, the number of scientific publications in the Web of Science (WoS) has gone up from 31,690 to 54,764 documents. That is to say, it has increased by 72.81%.

This increase in the number of scientific publications (which is one of the indicators for the evaluation of the research activity has come about despite there being no significant increase in the University teaching staff, which has gone from 59,925 in 2007 to 64,296 in 2016 in Spain.

Research paper rankings per geographical and subjects areas

Per autonomous regions, Catalonia has contributed 25.85% of the total publications of the SUE, followed by the Community of Madrid (with 19.97%), Andalusia (15.84%) and Valencia (12.63%). Andalusia is the region that has shown the largest increase in terms of publications in WoS during the analysed period.

Per subject area, Experimental Sciences are the ones that publish the most in WoS, with 37.4% of the total. Medicine and Pharmacology take second place with 27.36%, followed by Architecture, Engineering and Computer Science, with 25.39%. The subject areas with less publications in WoS are Social Sciences, with 10.67 %, and Arts and Humanities, with 5.96%. However, if the data on its development is taken into account, these areas are in fact the ones which have grown the most over the analysed period: 133.38% and 185.03% respectively.

The percentage of high-visibility documents (Journal publications situated in the first JCR quartile) has increased, going from 48.07% of documents in 2007 to 52.88% in 2016.

The international collaboration of Spanish universities has also increased during this decade, going from 37.18% of publications in 2007 to 50.23% in 2016. That is to say, researchers from other countries have participated in half of the scientific publications of Spanish universities. On the other hand, the opposite is true for national collaborations, which have decreased from 28.96% to 22.70% during this period.

Innovation and university competitiveness

With regards to innovative activity, the number of SUE patents granted by the Spanish Office of Patents and Brands (abbreviation in Spanish: OEPM) also has experienced an increase, it has gone from 256 in 2007 to 524 in 2016, which shows an increase of 104.69%. The 10 universities with the highest number of patents represent 57.26% of all university patents.

The analysis of competitiveness shows a reverse trend in national and European competitive projects. Whilst the former decreased by 12.65% (they’ve gone from 2300 in 2007 and to 2009 in 2016), on the contrary the European projects have increased by 53.01%, with 249 projects in 2007 compared to 381 in 2016).

Further  information: www.iune.es

Student and staff exchange made possible after securing Erasmus+ funding

Alianza 4 Universidades (A4U) has been successful in gaining Erasmus+ funding, securing 275.050,00€ in the latest round of funding award. A4U is a consortium of 4 Spanish public universities: Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid and Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona.

Thanks to this funding student and staff exchange will be carried out between universities members of A4U and their partner universities in Russia, South Africa, Iran, India, Indonesia and Malaysia. As a result of the exchange, students will return with improved language and inter-cultural skills, increased confidence, and gain international experience that counts towards their qualification. Staff will get to know first-hand the workings of a different educational system, learn and share new ideas and explore best practices to take back home. They will also be able to benefit from research and teaching development opportunities, and receive training.

Bachelor, Master and PhD students as well as teaching and administrative staff from all subject areas from partner universities and A4U universities can apply. Erasmus+ funding covers travel and living expenses from 3 to 5 months for students, and for 7 days for staff. The time spent abroad is recognised by the sending university, and the obtained credits count towards the student’s academic record. Staff deliver 8 hours of teaching or receive training during their stay.

148 staff and students have already taken part in the exchange between A4U and its partner universities in Russia, South Africa, Iran, India, Indonesia since 2015, and 164 more will join them in the next two years.

It is expected that as a result of this exchange programme, participating partner universities and universities members of A4U will:

  • Help students and staff boost their professional, social and intercultural skills, as well as employability;
  • Forge cooperation in teaching and research;
  • Attract talent and increase the number of international students and staff, thus contributing to their diversity and internationalisation.

Check Erasmus+ stories of students and staff who took part in the exchange on http://alliance4universities.eu/en/erasmus-stories/

The universities of the A-4U support the Call on the European Union to strengthen research in Social Sciences and Humanities

A temporary alliance of universities in countries called ‘leading in Social Sciences and Humanities’ by the European Commission, found that there is a strong consensus amongst the European institutions about the need to strengthen SSH research and improve its integration in Framework Programme 9. To help the European Commission to define the actions needed to implement this vision, the authors jointly make five recommendations:

1. The creation of an SSH Platform and strengthening of multidisciplinary collaboration
2. Encouraging researchers to think about how to generate academic and societal impact when drafting proposals
3. Recognizing that all disciplines crucially contribute to the goals of an inclusive and prosperous Europe
4. Investing in high-quality SSH research & innovation opportunities
5. Adding a target budget of 10% to the existing Key Performance Indicators for Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH).

The position paper with the five recommendations is available for download. Other organisations are encouraged to show their support to this call on the EU until 28 February 2018. After this date the final document will be sent to representatives of the European Institutions so that they consider it in the design of the EU’s IX Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (FP9).

The rector’s office hosts the general meeting of the Alliance 4 Universities, reviewing the various projects under way

On 5 February 2018, the rectoral building of Pompeu Fabra University hosted the board of directors and the general meeting of the Alliance 4 Universities (A4U), a strategic association made up of four of the main public universities in Spain: Pompeu Fabra, the Autonomous of Barcelona (UAB), Carlos III of Madrid (UC3M) and the Autonomous of Madrid (UAM).

The meeting was chaired by vice-rector Pelegrí Viader, on behalf of Jaume Casals, UPF rector and chairman of the A4U. Also in attendance were Margarita ArboixJuan Romo and Rafael Garesse, rectors of UAB, UC3M and UAM, respectively, and also vice-chairs of the Alliance. Enric Vallduví, vice rector for research projects at UPF, acted as general secretary, and Jaume Badia, UPF manager, as treasurer.

The agenda, which involved the accountability of 2017 and the approval of the budget for 2018, included the status of the various projects in which the A4U is currently working, related to research, international relations and the IUNE Observatory, which aims to contribute to the knowledge and analysis of the research and technology carried out in the Spanish university system.

Another field that has been dealt with is the bachelor’s degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, organized jointly by the universities of the Alliance whose 2018 graduation ceremony, corresponding to the second class, will be held at the Autonomous University of Madrid (last year it took place at the Cosmocaixa, organized by UPF).

The IUNE Observatory and OPERA, two key elements of the A4U

The IUNE Observatory is the result of the work by a group of researchers of the A4U, with the collaboration of the ministries of Science & Innovation and Education. It offers detailed information on the scientific activities of all public and private universities of the Spanish University System (SUE) and allows making comparisons between them.

As a novelty this year, among the various dimensions of scientific activity (seven in all, among which 44 indicators are distributed) the dimension of Funding has been added, which includes public and private sources of funding, such as deposits settled by non-financial operations and the income generated by research.

Through the IUNE, several figures have been extracted related with the production and the impact of the A4U between 2007 and 2016. So, taking into account that the permanent teaching and research staff of the A4U accounts for 6.4% of the SUE, the productivity of the Alliance is 2.5 times higher than the average for the SUE, and contributes 17.4% of the total production of the system, in addition to representing 21% of the absolute impact.

In addition, and also during the 2007-2016 period, 19% of the production of the SUE in international collaboration was signed by one of the universities of the A4U, and 19.7% of documents of the SUE located in Q1 (quality journals pertaining to the first quartile) are signed by A4U universities. As for articles published by the Alliance during this period, 48% are written in international collaboration, and almost 56% are found in Q1. These percentages, in respect of the average for the SUE, fall to 43.2 and 50.7%, respectively.

On an international scale, the results of the A4U have been compared with the German system (Excellence Initiative). For example, concerning absolute impact, the total number of citations is ostensibly higher in the German system, but if the size of the universities is taken into consideration, in relative impact (citations per document for 2007-2016), the figures are quite close to each other: 19.22 for Germany’s Excellence Initiative and 15.69 for the A4U.

Another notable area dealt with during the meeting was the presentation of the activities carried out in 2017 by OPERA (Office for the Promotion of European Research Activities), the A4U’s office in Brussels for the promotion of the research by the teaching and research staff of the Alliance’s four universities. Noteworthy are the support for the increase and improvement of the participation by the A4U in the European Horizon 2020 programme, the reinforcement of collaborations and contacts in Brussels, the development of individual OPERA plans for each university, and the organization of institutional visits, all of which activities are intended to be pursued in greater depth and expanded on this 2018.