UAB Rector Lluís Ferrer and Emilio Botín, President of Banco Santander, have signed an agreement by which the bank becomes a strategic partner of the University. This agreement consists of three main lines of action: attracting international talent, fostering transference of knowledge and technology to society, and constructing a socially committed university.
Twenty postdoctoral grants, five new chairs in knowledge transfer, and the sponsorship of UAB's Campus Ítaca all form part of this new collaboration.
Attracting young researchers from around the world
Banco Santander will sponsor a grants programme aimed at young doctoral graduates (10 grants in 2008 and 20 grants from 2009 onwards) in which the UAB will offer two-year postdoctoral positions in different departments and institutions. This initiative aims to attract young outstanding researchers from all over the world to the UAB. Proof of its international reputation, the UAB was cited as one of the best campuses for postdoctoral stays by the prestigious US journal The Scientist.
The project is the result of UAB's interest in promoting the recruitment of international teaching staff, as stated in the new academic framework that was passed in 2006. This unique and original framework gives priority to the contracting of doctoral graduates who have studied at other universities.
A pioneering programme in knowledge and technology transfer
The UAB, with the support of Banco Santander, has created five chairs in knowledge and technology transfer in different areas of knowledge. This programme, the first in Spain, will begin in 2008 and will be developed by renowned academic experts who stand out for both the quality and quantity of their activities related to the transfer of knowledge and/or technology to businesses.
This implementation is part of one of the most significant actions the UAB Research Park has carried out recently. The aim of the Park, together with the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and the Institute for Food and Agricultural Research and Technology (IRTA), is to act as intermediary between the University's research centres and society by promoting the transfer of knowledge and research results.
Campus Ítaca opens the University to secondary school students
The future editions of Campus Ítaca, UAB's socio-educational program addressed to secondary school students, will be sponsored by Banco Santander. In addition to its strong focus on research, UAB is a socially committed university. Campus Ítaca began three years ago and is based on a similar initiative carried out by the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. The programme was created as a way to encourage smart students from adverse socio-economic backgrounds to continue their education and not drop out of school.
Now Banco Santander will be the full sponsor of Campus Ítaca which consists of a two-week stay for students during the summer before their last year of secondary school. University professors work with students in solving problems and in showing them that intellectual efforts and overcoming difficulties can also be awarding. The campus also becomes a place where students from different places and backgrounds can live together and have fun with dozens of cultural, leisure and sport activities. On the last day students have the chance to show their parents the results of two weeks of hard work.
The first stages of the Intelligent University Card (TUI)
The agreement also includes distributing an intelligent university card to all new doctoral students and members of the UAB Esfera research centres starting next academic year.
A collaboration dating back to 1999
These new projects will now join other different activities Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona carries out with the support of Banco Santander, which began with a collaboration agreement between the two entities in 1999. This relationship has made it possible to develop international academic projects at the UAB such as interuniversity mobility programmes, exchange programmes with Latin American universities, and other teaching and research initiatives involving Eurasia and East Asia.
Within the framework of this relationship, UAB collaborates with the Miguel de Cervantes Virtual Library, the largest collection of literature in Spanish available on the internet. The library has received funding from Banco Santander for the creation of a joint portal with the Joan Lluís Vives Institute on literature in Catalan.
The bank group works closely in these and other UAB initiatives through its Santander Universities Global Division, whose activities form the backbone of the bank’s social action and enable it to maintain a stable alliance with the academic world in Spain, Portugal, Latin America, Russia and the United Kingdom. Between 1996 and 2006, Banco Santander channeled €400 million into sponsorship of different academic, research and technological projects.