The CYD Foundation (Knowledge and Development Foundation) presents, as it does every year, its baseline report to propose aspects for improvement in Spanish universities. This interesting study, carried out by national and international experts, provides valuable data and an analysis of the current situation.

The CYD Foundation’s analysis has identified seven priorities for Spanish universities in four chapters that also review the evolution of the university sector over the last 20 years.

7 priorities for promoting the growth of Spanish universities

  1. Invest more and invest smarter in higher education: According to the CYD report, “at present, investment in higher education institutions in Spain is 19% lower than the average for OECD countries and, together with Italy, it is the country in the European Union that receives the least public funds in this area”, an increase in such investment would be significantly reflected in the evolution of our society. The greater the number of professionals, the better the possibility of finding solutions to future social, environmental or economic problems.
  2. Attract talent and ensure the replacement of teaching and research staff who are set to retire: This is an important point, the new generations can add a lot of value, to this end it is necessary to improve hiring conditions in order to retain and attract the best talent.
  3. Improve employability: According to data obtained in the CYD report, “Spain is the second country in the European Union with the highest percentage of unemployed university graduates”. However, in fields such as engineering or computer science with a high level of employment opportunities, there is a decline in the number of graduates. This point affects us as a research group specializing in new technologies, it is necessary that the university offers the skills required by today’s society so that labor market insertion is more effective.
  4. Increase the relevance of the knowledge generated for society: Although scientific production has increased by more than 30%, it is necessary that the contributions are relevant. Therefore, they point out that “10.5% of companies are committed to the transfer of knowledge to universities and other higher education centers as their preferred partners, which shows potential for improvement. However, it is necessary to promote the transfer of research results based on collaboration between universities and society in general.
  5. Promote internationalization: The internationalization of both students and faculty contributes to the diversity and quality of the university system. In this aspect we are quite far from the European average. Several programs have been implemented, but it is still necessary to enhance the means of increasing the percentage of foreign students and researchers.
  6. Improve access and equity: Access to higher education should be a priority, regardless of economic circumstances. Therefore, effort should be made to ensure access to people in vulnerable situations who are interested in obtaining a university degree. Likewise, the participation of women in STEM careers should be promoted, which, although it has improved in recent years, work still needs to be done in this aspect in order to achieve equity.
  7. Accelerate digital transformation: Digital transformation is one of the pending issues in the university system. The pandemic accelerated digitalization, but there is still much to be done in this regard. Above all, improving tools and prioritizing solutions for digital education.

This report provides us with a detailed vision of what we need to do to position our universities both at European and global level. For our part, we will continue to contribute especially to the promotion of research and the attraction of talent. You can view the full report here.

Posted by Juan M. Corchado

Juan Manuel Corchado (15 May 1971, Salamanca, Spain) is Professor at the University of Salamanca. He has been Vice-Rector for Research from 2013 to 2017 and Director of the Science Park of the University of Salamanca. Elected as Dean of the Faculty of Science twice, he holds a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Salamanca and a PhD in Artificial Intelligence from the University of the West of Scotland. He leads the renowned BISITE (Bioinformatics, Intelligent Systems and Educational Technology) Research Group, created in 2000. Director of the IoT Digital Innovation Hub and President of the AIR Institute, J. M. Corchado is also Visiting Professor at the Osaka Institute of Technology since January 2015, Visiting Professor at the Universiti Malaysia Kelantan and Member of the Advisory Group on Online Terrorist Propaganda of the European Counter Terrorism Centre (EUROPOL). J. M. Corchado has been president of the IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Society, and academic coordinator of the University Institute for Research in Art and Animation Technology at the University of Salamanca, as well as researcher at the Universities of Paisley (UK), Vigo (Spain) and the Plymouth Marine Laboratory (UK). He currently combines all his activity with the direction of Master programmes in Security, Digital Animation, Mobile Telephony, Information Systems Management, Internet of Things, Social Media, 3D Design and Printing, Blockchain, Z System, Industry 4.0, Agile Project Management, and Smart Cities & Intelligent Buildings, at the University of Salamanca and his work as editor-in-chief of the journals ADCAIJ (Advances in Distributed Computing and Artificial Intelligence Journal), OJCST (Oriental Journal of Computer Science and Technology) or Electronics MDPI (Computer Science & Engineering section). J. M. Corchado mainly works on projects related to Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Blockchain, IoT, Fog Computing, Edge Computing, Smart Cities, Smart Grids and Sentiment Analysis. He has recently been included in the board of trustees of the AstraZeneca Foundation, along with other health professionals and researchers recognised for bringing scientific knowledge closer to society.