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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.