Archive for year: 2012

Week of Spanish Law in Russia

During 14-16 of November, A-4U held a Week of Spanish Law, hosted by Moscow State Law Academy. As part of the Week, eight academics, experts in various areas of Law, two from each university of the Alliance, gave lectures and research seminars to students and academic staff members at Moscow State Law Academy.

The aim of the Week was to present topics of Spanish Law to the Russian audience while fostering contacts between academics from A-4U and Moscow State Law Academy.

Presentations covered topics in Environmental Law, Energy Policy Law of the European Union, Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, as well as International and Civil Law.

This activity has received the support of Spanish Institute for Foreign Trade (ICEX).

Alliance attracts the best European universities in a workshop on the European Research Council

On November 6th, the leading European universities participating in European Research Council (ERC) competitions participated in A-4U workshop on “Experiences in ERC Promotion: a practical view from grant university managers”.

The ERC grants have become a symbolic capital, not only for researchers, but also for research organisations. They are intended to support excellent research at the frontier of knowledge. The promotion of ERC grants is one of the key objectives of A-4U universities as part of their excellence and internationalisation strategy.

The workshop was hosted by Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and brought together 11 of the most successful universities participating in ERC grants: University of Zurich, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitat Munchen, University of Bristol, University of Edinburgh, Hebrew University of Jeusalen, Aarhus University, Copenhagen University, Eidfenossische Technische Hoghschule in Zurich, King´s College in London, and Università di Bologna.

The workshop provided a platform for discussion and exchange of good practices in universities to attract ERC grants, taking into account the national, regional, and institutional policy frameworks aimed at attracting and retaining talent.

The discussions focused on central themes, on which basis good practices and recommendations were identified: mobilisation of potential in house ERC candidates in universities, attraction and retention of ERC talent, as well as good governance of European Research Offices at universities.

The workshop was part of two day’s programme focused on ERC. The conference jointly organised by the ERC and UPF on “Enhancing the attractiveness of European Research Activities as a destination for world class researchers” and the ERC information session on latest developments in the 2013 call (Synergy and Consolidators Grants) preceded the workshop.

Philosophy, politics and economics: a cross-cutting approach to new social challenges

On November 13, A-4U is organising a debate that will discuss a multidisiplinary approach to the analysis of current social landscape.

Participants in the debate include:

Carmen Beviá, Chair in Economics, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Fernando Vallespín, Chair in Political Science and Administration, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

Carlos Thiebault, Chair in Philosophy, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid

Jesús Silva, Chair in Criminal Law, Universitat Pompeu Fabra y abogado

Participants will also include the four rectors of A-4U universities: Ferran Sancho i Pifarré (UAB), José María Sanza (UAM), Daniel Peña (UC3M), and Josep Joan Moreso (UPF).

The event will take place at 19:00 at CaixaForum, Paseo del Prado, 36, Madrid. This event, to be moderated by Ángel Gabilondo, forms part of “Madrid and Barcelona in dialogue” series.

Entrance is free and attendance should be confirmed by email to

Indian delegation visit, to promote collaboration

Following A-4U institutional visit to Indian in 2010 and signature of general agreements with six universities and consortia a group of Indian academics have been invited to visit the four universities of the Alliance.

During the week of 22-26 of October, five academics from the fields of Social Science, Information Technologies, Engineering, Biomedicine, and Psychology visited UAB, UAM, UPF and UC3M where they met professors and researchers from the respective areas of knowledge, and visited various departments and research facilities.

The aim of the visit was to strengthen existing collaboration, establish new contacts, and identify areas of interest for joint initiatives.

The members of the Indian delegation were:

Sudhir Kumar Goel, Head of Petroleum Toxicology Division, Indian Institute of Toxicology Research, Lucknow.

Rajendra K. Jain, Chairman of Centre for European Studies, Jean Monnet Chair in European Integration and International Relations, Jawaharlal Nehru University.

Pankaj Jalote, Director of Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology, Delhi.

Singh Kamlesh, Professor at the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi.

Thippur Sreenivas, Professor at the Department of Electrical Communication Engineering, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.

As part of the visit, Prof. Rajendra Jain gave a public conference “European Union and India as Global Powers”, hosted by Casa Asia Madrid.

The visit was co-financed by Spanish Institute for Foreign Trade (ICEX), which supports A-4U international activities.

Russian scientists visit A-4U

Following A-4U institutional visit to Russia in 2011, selected Russian academics have been invited to visit four universities of the Alliance.

During the week of 15-19 of October. five academics from the fields of Humanities, Mathematics, Engineering, and Chemistry visited UAB, UAM, UPF and UC3M where they met professors and researchers from the respective areas of knowledge, and visited various departments and research facilities.

The aim of the visit was to strengthen existing collaboration, establish new contacts and identify areas of interest for joint iniciatives.

The members of the Russian delegation were:

Alexandr Aptekarev, Professor of Mathematics, Moscow State University, Keldysh Institute of Applied Mathematics, Moscow.

Oskar Koifman, Rector, Ivanovo State Chemistry Technology University, Ivanovo.

Boris Kudryashov, Professor, Saint Petersburg University of Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics, Saint Petersburg.

Igor Mednikov, Director of Iberian Studies Centre, Russian State University for the Humanities, Moscow.

Faina Solovyeva, Leading Researcher, Sobolev Institute of Mathematics, Siberian Division of Russian Academy of Sciences, Novosibirsk.

The visit was co-financed by Spanish Institute for Foreign Trade (ICEX), which supports A-4U international activities.

A-4U visited by prominent Indian professionals

On June 1, A-4U welcomed a high-profile delegation of Indian professionals that visit Spain as part of “Future Indian Leaders” programme.

This programme is organised by Foundation Council Spain-India, of which A-4U is part, and aims to give selected Indian professionals, opinion-makers in business, academia, research and media, a first-hand experience of today’s Spain. As part of their visit to Spain, the Indian delegation visited UAb and UPF on June 1.

At UPF the delegation was received by the Vice-Rector for International Relations Josep Ferrer, members of academic staff at the Department of Economics and Business and the Department of Experimental and Health Sciences, and also visited UPF campus. At UAB, the delegation was welcomed by the Vice.Rector for International Relations Mercedes Unzeta, participated in meetings with representatives of the Faculty of Economics and the Faculty of Biosciences, and were given a campus tour. These visits are expected to strenghten existing links between A-4U universities and India.

During their week’s stay in Spain, from 28 May to 1 June, the delegation also visited a number of governmental institutions and businesses in Madrid, Valladolid, and Barcelona. Members of the delegation are:

ZReuben Abraham. Clinical Assistant professor and Executive Director, Centre for Emerging Markets Solutions, Indian School of Business, Hyderabad.

Sanaa Arora. Research Analyst, Strategic Foresight Group (think-tank).

Indrajit Hazra. Novelist and jouranlist. Writer of Sunday Hindustan Times column “Red Herring”.

Sanjeev Kapoor. Chef and entrepreneur. TV presenter, Khana Khazana TV Show, Foodfood Channel.

Alok Nanavaty. Director, Centrum (financial company).

Sunitha Raju. Chairperson (Research), Indian Institute of Foreign Trade.

Trilochan Sastry. Former Dean and Professor, Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore.

Sanjeev Sharma. Professor and Head of Department of Biotechnology, Jaypee Institute of Information Technology.

Samarth Singh. CEO, Hybrid Content (brand management company).

Sharon Thomas. Responsable de películas clásicas e independientes, Sony Pictures India.

Foundation Council Spain-India (FCEI) exists to channel efforts made by different sectors of the Spanish society to promote relations with India. The Foundation participates in several government initiatives, including visits to India, cultural and educational activities, investment forums, and meetings sponsored by the Spanish Institute of Foreign Trade (ICEX), and other business organisations. The Foundation is made up of five Spanish ministries, the city councils of Madrid and Barcelona, a number of banks and building societies, businesses, universities and cultural institutions, such as the Cervantes Institute and Casa Asia.

More information on the programme is availble on FCEI website.

A-4U universities among top 50 universities in the world

A-4U universities, the only universities from Spain, are included in the latest QS Top 50 Under 50 ranking.

QS, specialising in the assessment of educational and research institutes, has just published the new QS Top 50 Under 50, a classification of the top 50 universities around the world that were founded less than 50 years ago.

Four universities from Spain are included in the ranking, all of them members of A-4U: Universidad Autònoma de Barcelona, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Universidad Carlos III and Universitat Pompeu Fabra, that rank 14, 19, 50 and 39 respectively. These are the only universities from Spain represented in the ranking.

The ranking includes centres from 23 different countries, with Australia occupying ten positions in the ranking, followed by the UK with seven.

More information on QS Top Universities.

Observatory for monitoring R+D+i at Spanish universities is launched

The Observatory of Spanish University Research (Observatorio de la Actividad Investigadora de la Universidad Española – IUNE) has been launched. This Observatory is a database, whcih allows the R+D+i activities at public and private Spanish universities to be seen and analysed using 6 categories of data and 42 indicators. This initiative, coordinated by the Laboratory for Metric Information Studies (Laboratorio de Estudios Métricos de la Información – LEMI) at Carlos III University of Madrid, has been developed as part of Alianza 4 Universidades (A-4U), which also includes Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.

iUNE Observatory is the most complete platform for evaluating scientific activity and knowledge transfer that currently exists within the Spanish university system, since – according to its creators, a team of more than twenty researchers from A-4U – it includes dimensions that are not dealt with in other national or international rankings. Having initially been financed by the Ministry of Science and Innovation, it currently receives support from the Ministry of Education, which considers this laboratory the official source for indicators of research undertaken in Spanish university system.

With this tool, the most significant results of scientific and innovation activities taking place at 73 Spanish universities (48 public and 25 private) can be seen. The dynamic open web platform that has been created ( allows the user to visualize data from a set period and obtain graphics automatically. To do this, the platform is based on a range of 42 clear, simple, and comparable indicators of university activity, grouped into 6 categories, such as the number of professors, the recognition that they obtained, the characteristics of their scientific activities (production, productivity, collaboration, impact, visibility, etc.), their competitiveness in obtaining projects, innovation (patents, licenses, spin-offs, etc.), and the education capacity of the institutions they do research for (scholarships, aid, contracts, thesis, etc.)

Information provided in these six categories dates back to 2001 and is updated annually on all of the indicators obtained, thanks to the data that is gathered from contrasted and accessible information sources, such as the Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology (Centro para el Desarrollo Técnico Industrial – CDTI), National Commission for the Evaluation of Research Activity (Comisión Nacional Evaluadora de la Actividad Investigadora – CNEAI), Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (Fundación Española para la Ciencia y la Tecnología – FECYT), National Statistics Institute (Instituto Nacional de Estadística – INE), Spanish Patent and Trademark Office (Oficina Española de Patentes y Marcas – OEPM), Office for the Transfer of Research Results Network (Red OTRI), and Web for Science platform, among others.

Increasing productivity in Spanish universities

This set of variables enables the measurement of different aspects of research activity. “By using these indicators, each university can determine the characteristics of its activity and examine its position within the Spanish university system, based on its scientific activity or the subject areas it wishes to analyse”, explains Professor Elias Sanz, coordinator of iUNE Observatory and head of UC3M Laboratory for Metric Information Studies (LEMI). “With the creation of the Observatory – he adds – an attempt is being made to overcome the complete and systematic lack of information that exists with regard to the scientific activity being carried out at Spanish universities”.

The results obtained show, for example, an overall annual increase in productivity at all universities. At the end of the analysed period, this increase reaches 95.31% since year 2002. “It is interesting to see that 5 of the 10 most productive universities are small, which shows that it is useful to weigh the absolute values of publications by the number of professors”, comments Professor Elias Sanz.

In order to develop iUNE, to which various research groups from the universities involved have dedicated over three years of work, guidelines have been adopted, which must follow the classification of universities, both in the international context and within Spain. In addition, it has been decided that the Berlin principles will continue to be followed in the creation of rankings of this type, which have become a useful tool for evaluating activities in higher education institutions.

More information can be found on iUNE website.

“Sui Iuris”, an Ibero-American Association of School and Faculties of Law, is established

From 12 to 14 of April, a meeting of 25 Deans and representatives of Law Faculties from 20 Spanish and Latin American leading universities took place in Mexico City and in Guadalajara. The event was attended by four universities from Spain (A-4U: Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, and Universitat Pompeu Fabra de Barcelona), four universities from Mexico (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Universidad de Guadalajara, Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México, and Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey), three universities from Argentina (Universidad de Buenos Aires, Universidad de San Andrés, and Universidad Torcuato di Tella de Buenos Aires), three universities from Chile (Universidad Diego Portales, Universidad de Valparaíso, and Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso), two universities from Brasil (Fundaçao Getulio Vargas de Sao Paolo, Pontificia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro), two universities from Peru (Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, Universidad del Pacífico de Lima), one from Colombia (Universidad Nacional de Colombia), and one university from Venezuela (Universidad Metropolitana de Caracas).

This is the third meeting in the series that promotes international cooperation between the network members, with the first two meetings held in Barcelona in 2010 and in Santiago de Chile in 2011. In this meeting, hosted by UNAM and Universidad de Guadalajara, the participating universities agreed to establish “Sui Iuris”, an Ibero-American Association of Schools and Faculties of Law.

The aim of “Sui Iuris” association is to provide space for an open and independent dialogue on questions related to the teaching of Law and legal practice, to encourage continuous improvement of Law Faculties and Scholls in the Ibero-American space, and to stimulate staff and student exchange between participating universities. At the meeting proposals were were made to establish a future accreditation system of Law Faculties and Schools, and to formulate syllabus recommendations for undergraduate programmes in Law and teaching methodology. To achieve this, two working groups have been set up to prepare proposals that will be discussed at the next meeting of the association. Also, a session dedicated to staff and student mobility was held, where potential was identified for signing an exchange agreement involving all participating universities.

For the next two years, the association will be presided by José Joan Moreso, rector of Universitat Pompeu Fabra de Barcelona. The Executive Committee will be formed by the Law Faculty of Pontifícia Universidad Católica do Rio de Janeiro (taking on the Vice-President role), Universidad Diego Portales de Chile, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Universidad Pontificia Católica de Perú and Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. In the future, the association might include other universities of recognised excellence from Latin American countries and Portugal.

A-4U expands to include collaborations with South Africa

From 23 to 26 of April, A-4U delegation travelled to South Africa on an institutional visit to a number of leading universities in the country and governmental bodies concerned with higher education.

The aim of the visit was to identify common areas of interest and to discuss specific initiatives such as staff and student exchange programmes, joint seminars, and participation in the European Framework Programme projects. The following institutions were visited:

University of Pretoria

University of Witwatersrand

University of Stellenbosch

University of Cape Town

University of KwaZulu-Natal

Ministry of Higher Education and Training

national Research Foundation (part of the Ministry of Science and Technology)

Higher Education South Africa (an association of all South African public universities)

Spanish Embassy in South Africa

As a result of the visit, A-4U started the process of signing general agreements with the above universities, which will open the way to setting up student and staff exchange programmes as well as research collaborations.

Internationalisation is one of the main objectives for creating the Alliance. The four universities have developed a joint strategy of internationalisation with priority in BRIC countries: India, Brazil, Russia, and China. Recently, the BRIC group has expanded to include South Africa, an emerging economy that is currently leading on the African continent. The visit to South Africa was co-funded by the Spanish Institute for Foreign Trade (ICEX), which supports A-4U international activities.

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