Catalonia responsible for 25.68% of Spain's scientific production

The IUNE Observatory 2017 report on Spanish universities' R&D&I shows an increase in scientific productivity, visibility and the number of patents granted between 2006 and 2015, despite a loss in leadership in the experimental sciences field.


The new annual report on university R&D&I by the IUNE Observatory(Spanish acronym for Research Activity at Spanish Universities) of the Alliance4Universities — Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid and Universitat Pompeu Fabra — analyses the research activity of the Spanish university system (SUE) over the past decade. In doing so, it considers a large set of indicators with data on 79 public and private Spanish universities from the years 2006 to 2015.

Economic and Research Data

According to the conclusions of the report, the slight increase in internal spending per researcher in Spain in 2015 does not equal the figures from 2008. Moreover, revenue generated by research (R&D) diminished 19% from 2008 to 2014, with sharp declines of nearly 67% at some universities. Revenue earned by non-financial operations of the universities, according to the CRUE, has decreased since 2008 an average of 14.02%, and more than 18% at some universities.

The number of researchers in the Spanish science system is also in decline, having fallen 9.1% between 2010 and 2015, with a slight improvement in the last year analysed. The number of professors in the SUE has slightly increased (8.65%), with an average accumulative growth of 0.93%.

Productivity and Collaboration on R&D&I

The productivity of professors almost doubled during this period. On the Web of Science (WoS), a platform compiling references of the main scientific journals, the average number of publications per professor per year went from 0.49 in 2006 to 0.83 in 2015. By autonomous communities, Catalonia leads as the most productive, responsible for 25.68% of scientific production, followed by Madrid (19.91%) and Andalusia (15.63%).

On breaking down production by subject areas, the data shows that experimental sciences have decreased in percentage with regard to total SUE production and go from 42% in 2006 to 36% in 2015; while life sciences falls from 19% to 16%. Noteworthy are the improvements of the social sciences (10.8% at the end of the period compared with 7% at the beginning) and in arts and the humanities (5.89% compared to 3.51%).

With regard to scientific collaboration, the report highlights the increase in international collaboration, which reached 48.11% in 2015, up from 36.8% in 2006. In this area, the United States continues to be the country with which Spain collaborates the most, followed by the United Kingdom and Germany.

Impact of Research

As for research impact, in terms of visibility, the report highlights an increase of publications in journals from the first quartile (top 25% of journals with the highest international impact), which went from 49.09% to 53%. Also to note is the increase in the number of patents granted, which increased by 125.36% over the period.

The analysis of competitiveness indicates a decline in the number of projects presented in national plans with respect to international plans, data indicative of the search for opportunities in the European sphere (EU Framework Programme Horizon 2020).

With regard to talent attraction, there was an increase in Juan de la Cierva and Ramón y Cajal postdoctoral contracts as of 2013. FPU pre-doctoral contracts declined considerably in 2008, with a recovery in 2015. The number of theses increased by nearly 113%.
Complete report (in Spanish): IUNE 2017.pdf
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