Go to main content
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

The UAB, top in funding among universities in Spain in the first three years of Horizon Europe

15 Jan 2024
Share via WhatsApp Share via e-mail

The Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona has obtained €62.2M in funding for 101 Horizon Europe 2021-2027 research and innovation projects in these first three years of the current programme. This figure represents a 47% increase in the funding received when compared to the first three years of the previous programme, Horizon 2020, and places the UAB at the top of the list of universities in Spain to receive European funds.

Il·lustració del programa Horizon Europe

Horizon Europe is a fundamental tool for R&D&I investment in which the European Union (EU) aims to strengthen scientific and technological bases of all member states and foster their competitiveness in the 2021-2027 period.

Of the funding obtained in the first three years, €50.4M correspond to the programmes’ first pillar: Excellent Science. This pillar is destined to reinforce and expand the excellence of the EU’s scientific base and encompasses both funding from the European Research Council (ERC) for research projects on the frontiers of knowledge, designed and directed by researchers, and from the Marie Sklodowska-Curie (MSCA) actions in support of the professional development of research members. The UAB is also the top university in Spain with regard to ERC funding: 24 projects have raised a total of €41.3M, 78% more than in the first three years of the Horizon 2020 programme. The 24 MSCA actions have received a total of €7.41M.

With regard to the programme’s second pillar, dedicated to global challenges and Europe’s industrial competitiveness, the amount received is slightly higher, with a total of €10.3M for 35 projects, with a special presence in clusters focused on Culture, Creativity and Inclusive Society; Food, Bioeconomy, Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment; Climate, Energy and Mobility; and Digital, Industry and Space. The third pillar, which gives support to innovation in market creation and the growth of innovative small and medium-sized businesses, managed to receive €1.5M for 4 different projects.

These figures correspond to projects signed until the month of December 2023 and stem from the information portal of research projects being conducted in the European Community (Horizon Dashboard). They represent 2% of the total funding obtained by institutions and entities in Spain in the first three years of this European programme, and places the UAB in fourth position, behind the Spanish Higher Research Council (CSIC), the EIT KC Urban Mobility, and the Tecnalia Research & Innovation Foundation. With regard to universities, the funding received represents 9.2% of the total amount received by universities in Spain and 25% of the total amount allocated to Catalan universities.

Projects and researchers

Two of the projects received ERC Synergy Grants and are conducted in collaboration with other universities: REAL, led by Jason Hickel and Giorgos Kallis (ICTA-UAB), with a grant of €10M, and MEDGREENREV, coordinated by Helena Kirchner (Department of Antiquity and Middle Age Studies), allocated €8.5M.

In the category of Consolidator Grants, the ERC granted €2.5M and €1.7M to seven projects: DREAMNET, led by Adam Ranson (INc-UAB), DEMODRIVERS, directed by Umberto Lombardo (ICTA-UAB), UNIPROB, led by Alexander Harwood Taylor (INc-UAB), READ, led by Carlos Tornero (Department of Prehistory), TIME-LINES, by Sandra Nogué (Department of Animal Biology, Plant Biology and Ecology), BADEMS, directed by Diana Berruezo (Department of Spanish Studies) and LIFELONGMOVE, coordinated by Sergi Vidal (Department of Sociology).

The five projects receiving ERC Advanced Grants, with amounts ranging from €2.5M to €1.5M, were: REMINDS, directed by Jordi Sort (Department of Physics), SOUNDSPACE, led by Tess Knighton (Department of Art and Musicology), CLIMGROW, by Jeroen van den Bergh (ICTA-UAB), CONDJUST, directed by Daniel Brockington (ICTA-UAB) and CORESIDENCE, coordinated by Albert Esteve (Department of Sociology-CED).

With regard to the Starting Grants, six projects received €1.5M each: DEMOTRADEOFF, led by Enrique Hernández Pérez (Department of Political Science and Public Law), WHOCOUNTS, directed by Daniel Edmiston (IGOP- Department of Political Science and Public Law), CLIMASAT, under the direction of Gemma Cirac (IHC) (IHC), IEK-CHANGES, led by Alvaro Fernandez Llamazares (ICTA-UAB and Department of Animal Biology, Plant Biology, and Ecology), BIG-5, directed by Johannes Langemeyer (ICTA-UAB), and ATRAPA, by Oriol Marquet (Department of Geography).

Among the MSCA actions, the UAB coordinates three Staff Exchange projects, which conduct sustainable collaborations between the academic world and other organisms and businesses: K-Reporters, led by Montserrat Rifà (Department of Teaching of Musical, Artistic and Corporal Expression), which received the amount of €550,000; VALZEO, coordinated by Roberto Boada (Department of Chemistry) and with a funding of €330,000; and INCASI2, under the direction of José Pedro López Roldán (Department of Sociology), which received €225,000. Also to be highlighted is the institutional project TOUCH under the COFUND call, with co-funding for 24 pre-doctoral places in the mental health sector.

Included in the Pillar II projects are two coordinated by the UAB: GreenME, under the Food, Bioeconomy, Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment cluster and led by Helen Cole (ICTA-UAB), with funding for the UAB of €460,000; and Express2, led by Antoni Abat (IEE) with a total amount of €551,000 in funding for the UAB. With regard to funding for projects in Pillar III, mention must be made to the allocation of funds made by the European Innovation Council (EIC) to the CONFETI project led by Gonzalo Guirado (Department of Chemistry), with the amount of €830,000 being assigned to the University.

This data demonstrates once again the position of the UAB as one of the leading figures in the research and knowledge system of not only Catalonia, but also Spain, and as a strong attraction pole for international talent. With 4,200 lecturers and researchers and over 40,000 students, the UAB ranks top university in Spain, 60th in Europe and 149th worldwide in the QS World University Rankings 2024.