Archive for category: News

The Alliance of 4 Universities (A-4U) and the Cervantes Institute organize a seminar of Spanish Language and Culture in Kenya

The Alliance of 4 Universities (A-4U) and the Cervantes Institute organize a seminar of Spanish Language and Culture in Kenya

Within its strategic framework for internationalization, the Alliance of 4 Universities has organized from the 23 to the 25 of October 2023 a seminar about Spanish language and culture in Kenia together with the Cervantes Institute, the Spanish Embassy in Kenya and the United States International University-Africa.

More Erasmus+ funds for academic mobility with non-European countries

Alianza 4 Universidades (A4U) has secured 367,710 Euros of Erasmus+ funding in 2022. These funds will help continue student and staff exchange between 4 member universities of A4U (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid and Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona) and 53 partner universities in 13 countries: Russia, South Africa, Iran, Indonesia, Vietnam, Botswana, Kenia, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Namibia, India, Malaysia and Thailand.

Since 2015 A4U was awarded a total of nearly 2 million Euros of Erasmus+ funding, which enabled the exchange of almost 500 staff and students from A4U and its partner universities, with almost 90 more being planned for 2023-2024 academic year. 

As a result of the exchange, students improve their language and intercultural skills, increase their confidence and gain international experience that counts towards their qualification. A research stay abroad can help doctoral students jumpstart their career. 

Elizaveta Cherepovskaia is a Linguistics student of the Southern Federal University in Russia who visited the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona in 2021. She relates: “Erasmus+ academic stay helped me greatly in all aspects of life. It enhanced my studies. I had never experienced how it feels to be an international student, cooperate with people from different countries, solve daily-life issues abroad speaking only foreign languages. Erasmus+ stay was the best period of my life that changed my mindset radically. I would certainly recommend others to consider going on Erasmus+ exchange.”

Staff also benefit from exchange as they learn and share best practice and have a chance to have a first-hand experience of a different educational system.

Dr Marcos Rodriguez Millan from the Polytechnic school of Universidad Carlos III de Madrid visited the Indian Institute of Technology of Delhi in India in 2019. He says: “The stay allowed me to learn about other research and teaching methodologies. I was able to share teachings with students from different countries close to India. It allowed me to establish new links with the researchers of the university.  I was able to produce a joint research paper and I am still in contact with them. The researchers showed me a portion of their culture in addition to their methodologies and potential synergies, which was personally very enriching.”

Students from disadvantaged backgrounds are welcome to take part in the programme and may receive top-up grants.

Through participation in Erasmus+ programme, universities have opportunities to forge cooperation in teaching and research, attract talent and increase the number of international students and staff, which in turn contributes to their diversity and internationalisation.

A compilation of stories from previous Erasmus+ participants can be consulted here.

A4U takes part in ACA flagship event

A4U took part in the flagship seminar “What’s new in Brussels?”, organized by the ACA on 2-3 February 2023 in Brussels.

Institutional Mission to Senegal and Gambia

The 4 Universities Alliance (A-4U) has carried out an institutional mission to Senegal and Gambia from the 13th to the 23th of November.

Within the strategic framework for internationalization of the 4 universities which constitute the consortium, the A-4U has developed the institutional mission to Senegal and Gambia in order to promote bilateral collaboration agreements between Senegalese or Gambian universities and each of the A-4U universities in the areas of research, teaching and technology transfer. The A-4U delegation was made up of the Vice-rectors of International Relations of each of the 4 universities and the International Relations Coordinator of the 4-AU.

The Quality of A4U Research Stands Out Internationally

The Alianza 4 Universidades recently published a report on research activities conducted at its member universities, entitled “INFORME 2020 DE LA ACTIVIDAD CIENTÍFICA DE LAS UNIVERSIDADES DE LA ALIANZA 4 UNIVERSIDADES (2009-2018)”. The report was drawn up by the Research Institute for Higher Education and Science (INAECU) and highlights the scientific and technological quality of A4U, both at domestic and international levels.

The report points to competitiveness and scientific production as the strong point of the A4U member universities, given that they have obtained a total of 17.37% of funding for European projects under the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, Horizon 2020, within the Spanish university system, and have an average of 1.58 projects for every 100 lecturers, while the average at national level is 0.55 projects for every 100 lecturers. Of the total scientific production in Spain analysed by the WoS database for the period 2009-2018, 13.6% is produced by one of the four universities of the A4U group. The A4U presents a high level of productivity (2.11 articles per lecturer) and is 2.62 times more productive than the average reached among other Spanish universities (0.81 articles per lecturer).

The data also shows that A4U takes part in a large number of international collaborations. Member universities represent 15.67% of all international collaborations conducted by Spanish universities.

With regard to the quality and impact of scientific publications, the A4U presents a greater percentage of documents in the first quartile (55.75%) than other universities in Spain (52.92%). During the period analysed, the A4U published 11.95% of its production in TOP3 journals, whereas other universities published 9.95% of their production. In absolute impact (total number of citations), the A4U received 16.4% of all citations, while the related impact of A4U throughout the period analysed was 21.27 citations per document, above the average reached by all universities in Spain, which was 17.62 citations per document.

With regard to technological production, the study confirms that the patents issued to A4U member universities represent 6.48% of all patents issued within the Spanish university system.

The analysis also includes a comparative study of the A4U with other international university systems. On the one hand, it compares it to the four universities belonging to the Yerun association and its positioning in the latest ARWU ranking (Brunel University London, University of Antwerp, Dauphine Université Paris and Tor Vergata University of Rome). On the other hand, it compares it to the five top British universities in terms of number of research and teaching staff members: University College London; Oxford University; Cambridge University; Imperial College of London; and University of Manchester. These five institutions are among the top 40 of the ARWU ranking.

The analysis shows that the research quality of the A4U institutions maintains a level of excellence at international scale, as well. Its production in journals included in the Web of Science (WoS) database for the 2014-2018 period is higher than each of the universities belonging to the Yerun association, as well as the sum of production of all member universities. At the same time, the A4U occupies fifth position in production in WoS when compared to the British universities analysed.

Annual productivity per research and teaching staff member during the 2014-2018 period places the A4U in third position with regard to the British universities analysed, and in second place versus the Yerun universities selected for analysis. In the 2014-2018 period, the citations per document place A4U in second position when compared to the Yerun universities included in the evaluation, and in fifth position regarding British universities. The A4U presents the second highest percentual value in Highly Cited Papers when compared to the Yerun universities, and fifth highest regarding British universities. Lastly, the report points out A4U’s second position in percentage of open access publications, in comparison to the Yerun universities selected for analysis.

The research activity was evaluated using a set of indicators on economic resources, competitiveness, excellence, scientific and technological production, visibility in international rankings, and research training, which were based on the information obtained by the IUNE Observatory; the Spanish Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI); the Web of Science (WoS); the ARWU, QS and THE rankings; the Spanish Patent and Trademark Office (OEPM); the European Patent Office (EPO); the Ministry for Universities; and the Spanish National Statistics Institute (INE).

The A4U to offer a new science degree in 2020/21

The Alianza 4 Universidades presents a novel feature for the 2020/21 academic year: the new Bachelor’s Degree in Sciences, with lectures taking place in both Barcelona and Madrid. Classes in Madrid will be offered by the UAM and the UC3M, while classes in Barcelona will be offered by the UAB.

The new bachelor’s degree combines contents in experimental sciences, mathematics and engineering to train multidisciplinary professionals prepared to work in transversal sectors. Students will design their own syllabus thanks to a wide array of optional credits and the help of a guidance counsellor. Students can enrol in a general study plan, or they can choose to take one of the three specialisations offered: biosciences, science and technology, or Earth science and the environment.

These new times require open minds: the science of the 21st century seeks answers to complex problems through the joint forces of specialists from a diversity of fields, capable of working in different areas of knowledge. That is why the A4U has devised this original academic programme which provides interdisciplinary training with a markedly social and ethical perspective. Graduates will be prepared to work in research centres and universities, in R&D&i laboratories and firms, in scientific and technical services, in the publishing and scientific communication sector, and in many more professional areas.

More information: Bachelor’s Degree in Sciences

A4U takes part in exchange of good practice in Erasmus+ ICM

During 6-8 November 2019, Dr Olga Belova, International Project Manager at A4U, participated in “Exchange of good practice in Erasmus+ ICM projects” seminar, which took place in Larnaca, Cyprus.

A4U was one of three Spanish institutions selected for the participation in the seminar, along with other 55 institutions from 19 European countries.

Dr Olga Belova was invited to give a presentation on good practices in managing Erasmus+ ICM projects, which was well received by the public and led to a lively discussion. It helped give A4U and its good work visibility among European universities and national agencies.

Other topics covered during the seminar included: university internationalization strategies via Erasmus+ ICM, key success factors and challenges, preparation of a successful funding application, and recommendations for the future Erasmus+ programme.

The seminar provided an excellent opportunity to exchange experience with other European universities, learn about different work methods, and expand the network of contacts, making it a very useful experience overall.  The materials obtained at the seminar have been shared with the International Offices of the four A4U universities, broadening in this way the outreach of the seminar.

A4U has been taking part in Erasmus+ ICM since the programme began in 2015. The successful implementation of awarded mobility projects has contributed to the internationalization of the 4 universities members of the Alliance and of nearly 30 partner universities in Russia, South Africa, India, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia and Vietnam.


Institutional mission to Namibia and Botswana

Institutional Mission to Namibia and Botswana

The 4 Universities Alliance (A-4U) has carried out an institutional mission to Namibia and Botswana from the 30th of September to the 8th of October.

Within the strategic framwork for internationalization of the 4 universities which constitute the consortium, the A-4U has developed the institutional mission to Namibia and Botswana in order to promote bilateral collaboration agreements between Namibian or Botswanan universities and each of the A-4U universities in the areas of research, teaching and technology transfer. The A-4U delegation was made up of the Vice-rectors of International Relations of each of the 4 universities and the International Relations Coordinator of the 4-AU.

During the 9 days of the mission, which was carried out in the cities of Windhoek, Gaborone and Palapye, the delegates held several meetings in the main Namibian and Botswanan universities to get to know and strengthen the relationship with the main High Education agents in both countries. The visited universities are: University of Namibia (UNAM) and Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) in Namibia, and Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (BUAN), Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST), University of Botswana (BU), and Botswana Accountancy College (BAC) in Botswana.

The A-4U delegation also took the opportunity to hold a meeting with the Spanish Embassy in Windhoek, Namibia, and contacted the Spanish Honorary Vice-Consul in Maun, Botswana.

























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).

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