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