More scientific productivity and visibility despite scarcity of resources

Spanish universities have increased their scientific productivity, visibility and the number of patents granted despite the loss of human and material resources in recent years. These are some of the conclusions of the new annual report on university R&D&I by the IUNE (Spanish acronym for Research Activity at Spanish Universities), an observatory of the Alianza 4U (the 4U Alliance)—the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona, the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid and Universitat Pompeu Fabra.

This new edition of the report analyzes the research activity of the Spanish University System (initialed SUE in Spanish) over the last decade. In doing so, it considers a large set of indicators with data on 79 public and private Spanish universities from the years 2006 to 2015.

Economic and Research Data

According to the conclusions of the report, the slight increase in internal spending per researcher in Spain in 2015 does not equal the figures from 2008. Moreover, revenue generated by research (R&D) diminished by 19% from 2008 to 2014, with sharp declines of nearly 67% at some universities. Revenue earned by non-financial operations of the universities, according to the CRUE, has decreased since 2008 by an average of 14.02%, and by more than 18% at some universities.

The number of researchers in the Spanish science system is also in decline, having fallen 9.1% between 2010 and 2015, with a slight improvement in the last year analyzed. The number of professors in the SUE has slightly increased (8.65%), with an average accumulative growth of 0.93%.

Productivity and Collaboration on R&D&i

The productivity of professors almost doubled during this period. On the Web of Science (WoS), a platform that compiles references of the main scientific journals, the average number of publications per professor per year went from 0.49 in 2006 to 0.83 in 2015. By autonomous regions, Catalonia leads as the most productive, responsible for 25.68%, followed by Madrid (with 19.91%) and Andalusia (with 15.63%).

On breaking down production by subject areas, the data show that the experimental sciences continue to be the most represented (with some 36 publications), although they are down compared with 2006 (42%). Noteworthy are the improvements of the social sciences (10.8% at the end of the period compared with 7% at the beginning) and the arts and the humanities (5.89% compared with 3.51%).

With regard to scientific collaboration, the report highlights the increase in international collaboration, which reached 48.11% in 2015, up from 36.8% in 2006. In this area, the United States continues to be the country that collaborates the most, followed by the United Kingdom and Germany.

Impact of Research

As for the impact of the research, in terms of visibility, the report highlights the increase of publications in journals from the first quartile (top 25% of journals with the highest international impact), which went from 49.09% to 53%. Also to note is the increase in the number of patents granted, which increased by 125.36% over the period.

The analysis of competitiveness notes a decline in the number of projects presented in national plans with respect to international plans, data indicative of the search for opportunities in the European sphere (Framework Programme Horizon 2020).

With regard to talent attraction, there was an increase in Juan de la Cierva and Ramón y Cajal postdoctoral contracts as of 2013. FPU pre-doctoral contracts declined considerably in 2008, with a recovery in 2015. The number of theses increased by nearly 113%.

Complete report: http://www.informes.iune.es/Informe%20IUNE%202017.pdf

Further information: www.iune.es

The universities of the A-4U are among the 20 most outstanding Spanish entities for economic return in Horizon 2020

According to the latest provisional data available for the period 2014-2016*, the universities of the A-4U are among the top 20 Spanish entities for economic return in EU’s Framework Programme for Research and Innovation ‘Horizon 2020’.

The report of the CDTI (Centro para el Desarrollo Tecnológico e Industrial) highlights not only the number of activities but also those that are led by Spanish entities.  Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona occupies the 6th position, followed by Universitat Pompeu Fabra (7th position), Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (15th position) and Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (17th position).

Moreover, the total of Spanish entities have obtained grants representing EUR 1.933,8 million in calls for proposals between 2014 and 2016. This results in 9,8% EU-28 of economic return for Spain, and a 4th position in the ranking of EU countries with highest number of grants, following Germany, UK and France. These provisional results already surpass not only the total Spanish participation in VII Framework Programme (8,3% EU-28), but also the target objectives for the whole period of Horizon 2020 (9,5%).

Source: CDTI

YERUN General Assembly, March 2017

On 17th March, YERUN members gathered for their General Assembly, hosted by Universidad Autónoma de Madrid with the assistance of the representatives of A4U. The meeting was chaired by Prof. Juan Romo (YERUN President).

Members decided on upcoming priorities for the network taking into account the YERUN Strategic Plan adopted for the period 2016-2020. YERUN members will continue working on research and education collaboration, knowledge exchange and graduates’ employability. The General Assembly also adopted by unanimity a BREXIT statement in order to emphasize the importance of scientific and educational collaboration during the negotiations between United Kingdom and the European Union now that the UK Government has triggered article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon.

The next General Assembly will take place on 26th October at University of Ulm, in Germany.

Institutional Mision to Malaysia

The 4 Universities Alliance (A-4U), a strategic association of four leading public universities in Spain: Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM), Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) and Universitat Pompeu Fabra Barcelona (UPF) has carried out an institutional mission to Malaysia from the of 26th February to 5th March.

Within the strategic framework for the internationalization of these universities, the A-4U has developed the institutional mission in Malaysia with the aim of promoting bilateral collaborations between Malaysian and Spanish universities in the areas of teaching, research and technology transfer. The institutional mission was attended by the representatives of international relations of the four universities and the coordinator of the International Relations department of the A-4U.

The mission, which was held for a week in Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Johor Bahru, has developed a series of meetings and visits to the main Malaysian universities to establish contact and strengthen relations with the main agents of the country. The institutions visited were: Universiti Kuala Lumpur(UniKL), University of Malaya(UM), Universiti Putra Malaysia(UPM), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia(UKM), Universiti Sains Malaysia(USM), Universiti Teknologi Malaysia and el Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE).

In addition, the A-4U has held meetings with the Spanish Embassy in Malaysia and Aula Cervantes in Kuala Lumpur.

UTM
USM
UPM
UNIKL
UM
UKM
MOHE

HR logo

The universities of the A4U foster excellent human resources policies for researchers

After recently awarding Universidad Autónoma de Madrid and Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, all of the A4U universities have been acknowledged by the European Commission with the “HR Excellence in Research” award. This recognition supports those research institutions and funding organisations for aligning their human resources policies and strategies with the principles of the European Charter and Code for Researchers, fostering attractive research careers.

The process usually starts off by creating a multidisciplinary team that carries out several consultations within the academic community. The aim is to design an Action Plan that allows achieving a stimulating and favourable working environment, which should not only attract the best researchers in the world, but also keep their talent.

More information: Human Resources Strategy for Researchers (HRS4R) and acknowledged institutions

 

The universities of the A4U reinforce their commitment to working in a network

From left to right: Jose María Sanz, Margarita Arboix, Juan Romo y Jaume Casals

From left to right: Jose María Sanz, Margarita Arboix, Juan Romo y Jaume Casals

The general assembly of the Alliance of 4 Universities (A4U) held today, 17 January, at UPF has served to strengthen the joint task in teaching, research and internationalization of the four universities that belong to it: Autonomous University of Madrid (UAM), Carlos III University of Madrid (UC3M), Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) and Pompeu Fabra University (UPF).

Attending the meeting were the four rectors and members of their management teams. It reviewed the main achievements of 2016 and served to sketch out new lines of action with a view to 2017, marked by the firm intention to promote new joint projects.

Review of 2016

In the field of research, the high impact achieved so far in the Horizon 2020 programme of the European Commission stands out, with resources being obtained in competitive calls by the four universities. UPF stands out especially in Pillar I of the programme, “Excellent Science” with 38 grants, UC3M in Pillar II, “Industrial Leadership”, with 12 grants, and UAB in Pillar III, “Social Challenges”, with 15 grants.

Moreover, this year the IUNE Observatory has become established and become a national benchmark used by many universities to decide their future strategy. The A4U observatory conducts an annual analysis of the research activity in Spanish universities with comparative data.

In the field of internationalization, the joint work by the Alliance allowed initiating relations with the countries of South-East Asia, as is the case of Indonesia, where a mission was organized to present the academic programmes of the different institutions. The Erasmus+ mobility project has been consolidated with 15 Russian universities and 4 in South Africa, which has benefited 121 undergraduate, master’s and doctorate students.

In teaching, the joint degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics has become established after three years with a high level of demand and an entrance cut-off mark of 12 out of 14. The degree aims to prepare professionals who are solidly trained in political and economic sciences, with a significant base in moral and critical analysis thanks to the humanities’ input.

The main feature of this degree is the mobility involved, since students study the degree between Barcelona and Madrid, with the possibility of stays abroad.

Finally, with regard to communication, the new A4U website has been presented, with a revamped design and structure that is better suited to the new technological requirements

Future challenges

The meeting also lay down the lines to follow with a view to 2017, which are based on strengthening the alliance, especially in the international arena, to manage to gain visibility and attract the best foreign students.

Work will also begin to provide new joint bachelor’s and master’s degrees between the four universities, in view of the successful functioning of the bachelor’s degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics.

The Alliance of 4 Universities is a strategic partnership between four public Spanish universities. It was established in 2008 with a joint commitment to promote high quality scientific research and excellence in education. Its objectives are to improve the international mobility of students, researchers and academics, as well as to establish collaborative partnerships in research throughout the world and enhance the international profile of each of the universities.

The Alliance 4 Universities participates in the European Education Fair in India 2016

A delegation of the A4U has participated in the European Education Fair in India, celebrated in Delhi from the 30th of September. The EHEF 2016 has brought more than 100 European organizations from the Higher Education area, being the edition with the largest number of participants.

The Alliance 4 Universities has signed a Collaboration Agreement with the Catholic University of Salvador, from Brazil

Last October 6th, Jaume Casals, president of the Alliance 4 Universities and rector of the Pompeu Fabra University had an appointment with Maurício da Silva Ferreira, rector of the Catholic University of Salvador (UCSAL) in Barcelona. The objective of the meeting was to strengthen the ties between UCSAL and A4U in research, teaching and mobility. During the meeting, the organizations signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the next 5 years. This agreement confirms Brazil as a key country for the internationalisation process of the universities of the A4U.

The A4U has obtained a KA107 Mobility Program with Russia and South Africa for the period 2016-2018

The Alliance 4 Universities has obtained a KA107 mobility program with Russia and South Africa for the period 2016-2018. This program aims at strengthening and providing continuity to the previous program initiated in 2015. During the program, the A4U will provide 22 scholarships to perform mobilities between the universities of the A4U and Russia and South Africa.

The Alliance 4 Universities has developed an institutional mision to Indonesia

Within the strategic framework for the internationalization of universitiesof the alliance, the A4U has developed an institutional mission to Indonesia in mid-July, aiming at establishing contact and strengthen relationships with key players in the country in the sector Higher Education, such as Universitas Indonesia, the Bandung Institute Teknology Bandung, Universitas Gajda Mada, the Indonesian Education Scholarship (LPDP) or the Ministry of Reshe coordinator of the A4U.