News

The A-4U strengthens collaboration ties with the Cervantes Institute

Last January, the A-4U signed a new framework agreement with the Cervantes Institute to express the will of both signees to collaborate in the creation of joint actions to develop and strenghten the learning of Spanish as a foreign language and the internationalization of Spanish higher education.

Science Diplomacy Seminar: Research Collaborations between the National Kapodistrian University of Athens and the Alliance of 4 Universities

On the 18th of December 2023, the A-4U organized a Science Diplomacy event to promote collaboration initiatives between the National Kapodistrian University of Athens (NKUA) and the A-4U universities, as well as to present the A-4U to researchers and students from all Greek universities.

Institutional Mission to Kenya

From the 23rd of October to the 1st of November, a 4 Universities Alliance (A-4U) delegation carried out an institutional mission to Kenya.

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.

More non-European countries available for Erasmus+ exchange

Prof. Fernando Camacho Padilla of Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, during his stay at Allameh Tabataba’i University, Iran

In 2020 Alianza 4 Universidades (A4U) has once more been successful in securing Erasmus+ funding for student and staff exchange with non-European countries. This year the scope of the programme has been increased and 49 partner universities in 10 countries, Russia, South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Iran, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, are now part of the scheme.

The inclusion of new partner universities is possible thanks to the ongoing support of the Spanish Institute of Foreign Trade, a governmental agency that co-finances A4U institutional visits. During these visits A4U representatives establish links with the leading universities, researchers have the possibility to know each other and explore possibilities of cooperation in teaching and research. Due to COVID-19 pandemic, the visits in 2020 took place online.

Since 2015 A4U has been awarded a total of 1.644.103 Euros of Erasmus+ funds, which has enabled the exchange of almost 500 staff and students from A4U and its partner universities. Funds obtained in 2020 will be used to support mobilities during 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 academic years. The calls for applications are now open and applications can be submitted via A4U webpage.

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

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.

Erasmus+ continues during COVID-19 pandemic and mobilities can take place as and when the health situation and travel restrictions in the sending and receiving countries allow it.

Check Erasmus+ stories of exchange participants on https://alliance4universities.eu/en/erasmus-stories/

Thai delegation visits A-4U universities to foster international mobility collaborations

Thai delegation visits A-4U universities to foster international mobility collaborations

From the 26th to the 29th of November, the Alliance of 4 Universities received a visit from a delegation of 3 main Thai universities: Mahidol University (MU), Thammasat University (TU) and Khon Kaen (KKU). The 3 delegates invited by the consortium visited the A-4U universities’ campuses in Madrid and Barcelona and met with A-4U representatives, as well as Faculty members of each of the A-4U universities to foster international collaboration exploring possible lines of cooperation in the framework of the Erasmus+ KA107 mobility program for students, professors and staff.

 

 

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).

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