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Expenses for university R&D&I increase moderately in Spain


Total public spending on university R&D&I in Spain gradually increased by 6% between 2016 and 2019, increasing from 8,989 to 9,554 million Euros, although it has still not reached 2008 pre-recession levels, when 10,628 million Euros were invested. This data comes from the most recent edition of the IUNE Observatory’s Report, which analysed university R&D&I over the last decade (2009-2018) and which allows its figures dating back to its first edition in 2003 to be consulted. The observatory belongs to the 4 Universities Alliance (A4U, in its Spanish acronym), formed by the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB, in its Spanish acronym), the Autonomous University of Madrid (UAM, in its Spanish acronym), the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M, in its Spanish acronym), and the Pompeu Fabra University (UPF, in its Spanish acronym).

Moreover, public spending on university teaching and research staff has increased by almost 1,000 million Euros since 2012, increasing from 5,550 million Euros in 2012 to 6,505 million Euros in 2019. The number of Spanish university teaching staff has fluctuated significantly but has grown by 2.4% since 2018.

This report from the IUNE Observatory, coordinated by the INAECU Institute (UAM-UC3M), monitors R&D&I within the Spanish University System (SUE, in its Spanish acronym) using a set of indicators based on several large aspects: scientific activity, analysis by areas of knowledge, training capacity, competitiveness, funding, innovation, and teaching staff.

Increase in university scientific production

In regard to scientific production, a growing trend in the number of publications in the Web of Science (WoS) has been observed, with similar year-on-year rates of change since 2016. In addition to this, publications in the first quartile journals of the Journal Citation Reports (JCR), those that have had the most impact, increased between 2017 and 2019 for the entire SUE. The Autonomous Communities of Catalonia, Madrid, Andalusia, and Valencia have the highest number of publications in the WoS for the period between 2010 and 2019, accumulating 25%, 18%, 14%, and 11% of the total national production. The five universities with the highest volume of publications are the University of Barcelona (UB, in its Spanish acronym), UAB, the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM, in its Spanish acronym), the University of Valencia (UV, in its Spanish acronym), and the UAM.

In relation to the ability to attract national and international funding, the main institutions that stand out are those that form part of the A4U (the UAB, the UAM, the UC3M, and the UPF). In terms of the volume of National Plan projects per 100 members of teaching staff, the five universities that occupy the top positions are the UPF, the UC3M, the UAM, the UB and the University of Lleida (UDL, in its Spanish acronym). For international research projects within the European Union’s Framework Programme per 100 members of teaching staff, the UPF, the UC3M, the UAB, the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC, in its Spanish acronym), and the Polytechnic University of Madrid (UPM, in its Spanish acronym) stand out.

Innovation, training, and attracting research talent

In the field of innovation, performance is addressed in aspects such as patents or revenue derived from R&D work with companies. In terms of the number of national patents, as in previous editions of the Observatory, the Polytechnic University of Madrid (UPM) and the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC), followed by the University of Seville (US, in its Spanish acronym), and the Valencia Polytechnic University (UPV, in its Spanish acronym) stand out. In relation to performance, when calculated based on the number of teaching staff, the University of Burgos (UBU, in its Spanish acronym) and the UC3M appear in the top positions in 2019. In terms of revenue generated by R&D contracts and consultations per 100 members of teaching staff, the highest values correspond to two Madrid universities, the Alcalá University (UAH, in its Spanish acronym) and the UC3M, two Catalan universities, the UB and Rovira i Virgili University (URV, in its Spanish acronym), and the University of Cantabria (UC, in its Spanish acronym).

In the area of formative capacity and talent attraction, indicators such as the number of doctoral theses per 100 members of teaching staff are analysed and institutions such as the UAB, the UAM, the University of Girona (UdG, in its Spanish acronym), the UPF, and the URV stand out. For FPU contracts (grants for training university teaching staff) per 100 members of teaching staff, the University of Granada (UGR, in its Spanish acronym) stands out, followed by the University of Almería (UAL, in its Spanish acronym), the University of Córdoba (UCO, in its Spanish acronym), the University of Málaga (UMA, in its Spanish acronym), and the UV. In terms of FPI contracts (predoctoral grants for training doctoral students), the five public universities with the highest ratings in 2019 are the UPF, the UC3M, the UAM, the URV, and the UB. For Juan de la Cierva contracts per 100 members of teaching staff, the UPF, the UC3M, the UAM, the UdG, and the University of La Rioja stand out, while for Ramón y Cajal contracts per 100 members of teaching staff, the five universities with the highest ratings in 2019 are the UPF, the UAM, the UB, the UAM, and the University of Santiago de Compostela (USC, in its Spanish acronym).

The IUNE Observatory is currently supported by the Spanish Ministry of Universities, as well as by a large number of institutions, such as the Spanish National Agency for Quality Assessment and Accreditation (ANECA, in its Spanish acronym), the Conference of Spanish University Presidents (CRUE, in its Spanish acronym), the Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI, in its Spanish acronym), the Agency for Quality of the Catalan University System (AQU Catalunya), and the Agency for Quality of the Basque University System (Unibasq).

More information: www.iune.es
Alianza 4 Universidades - INAECU - IUNE/UC3M (2021). Observatorio IUNE 2021. Informe anual, periodo 2010-2019. Actividad investigadora de las universidades españolas (VIII). 22-07-21. http://s865073818.mialojamiento.es/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Informe-IUNE-2021-corregido.pdf
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Regions: Europe, Spain, Caribbean, Grenada
Keywords: Science, Science Policy, Society, Social Sciences, Grants & new facilities, Business, Universities & research

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