An important effort has been made in recent years to promote collaborative research with industry, and here has been a significant growth in projects addressing market needs. Just one figure, in the year 2011, over 1100 researchers at the University participated in applied research projects directly aimed at solving the needs of their partner companies.
The UGR is one of Spain’s leading universities in number of spin-off companies, with a total of 82 still active today, 71 of which were set up over the last 7 years, and 17 in the last year.
University income from research activity is reinvested both in the groups responsible and in emerging groups in other fields through seed-funding and other initiatives under the UGR’s self-funded Research Grant Programme.
The UGR has a longstanding commitment to partnerships of different kinds, and explicitly encourages and seeks to further the establishment of links with a wide range of institutions and companies.
In particular, the BioTic excellence initiative is led by the University in collaboration with the National Spanish Research Council and the Health Sciences Technology Park and has 50 international partners fully engaged in the implementation of the project. These include major multinational companies such as Motorola, Fujitsu, Abbott, together with local SMEs from a range of sectors of economic activity.
Partnerships with companies, public administrations and the third sector offer opportunities for joint research and innovation activities, two-way staff and student mobility periods, work experience and internships, and help to ensure societal relevance of teaching programmes.
Special effort is being made to ensure cooperation with our recently established doctoral schools, where leading companies are directly involved in programme committees. The Health Sciences Technology Park is an obvious example of public-private partnership that is made possible by the determination of the University in this area.
Local and regional engagement
A very important role of the UGR, as we say in our strategic plan, is “Shared commitment to shared development”. We believe in the concept of eco-innovation systems led by the university, and understand the university as a key agent of knowledge connected with our territory.
The University of Granada is already the Spanish university with the greatest impact on its local environment measured in terms of provincial GDP. The province of Granada accounts for 2.5% of Spain in surface area, almost 2% of the population and only 1.4% of the national GDP; however, the University of Granada accounts for approximately 4% of all scientific production in Spain. The economic impact of the University, in a conservative estimate, is 4.7% of the province’s GDP. Thus, the University is one of the most productive Spanish universities in terms of research in a local environment with one of the lowest GDPs.
After only the universities of the large cities of Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia, the University is the top institution in scientific production, in a context which is very different to that of the large cities, with much fewer resources; this makes the University of Granada one of the most efficient and effective universities in Spain. This, in turn, also explains why the University is so enormously important in its local context and the huge potential it houses for the future development of the province and surrounding region.