i. Current situation
The UIB, the UdG, the CSIC and the ICRA have included actions inspired by these principles for years. The following three different action lines can be differentiated:
- Contributing to sustainable economy as centres of creating, disseminating and transferring knowledge. In particular, actions on international cooperation should be highlighted.
- Contributing to sustainable economy as public bodies: as envisaged in the LES for all public authorities.
- Contributing to sustainable economy as an organisation that has an impact on its environment: all the aspects related to environmental impact, mobility, etc.
Contributing to sustainable economy as centres of creating, disseminating and transferring knowledge
As far as university training is concerned (article 61 of the LES), the UIB and the UdG have made progress towards the mandate of the LES through intense activity over the last 3-4 academic years, by converting their teaching offer to the European Higher Education Area. As mentioned in article 61 of the LES, in order to do this the needs of society and future professions have been considered, leading to the withdrawal of some degrees and new ones being created, in particular master’s in which the CSIC takes part.
This reform has served to define the skills learnt in each of the undergraduate and master’s and introduce the Dublin descriptors1, among others. It guarantees these skills are those required in the social and economic environment, as stated in article 61 of the LES. A special mention should be made about the compulsory skill of a third language, or the sustainability skill, applicable to all new qualifications.
The new designs for the qualifications have promoted internationalisation and mobility, and most qualifications involve internships. Both universities have been making significant efforts to include teaching in English.
Furthermore, within the sphere of the e-MTA Campus we have already worked on the integrated curriculum for degree, master’s and PhD in environment at the UdG, and further education programmes for the tourism industry and sustainability at the UIB. We should point out that a significant part of the courses offered at the e-MTA Campus at the three levels (degree, master’s and PhD), as well as 24% of the research at the UdG, are related to water and tourism sustainability, which are priority subjects in the Sustainable Economy Act. The main lines/groups/research institutes in the Campus’ subject fields contributing to knowledge for sustainable economy are listed and detailed in sections 2.b and 2.d.
Cooperation is also part of the teaching and research work that the law assigns to universities. The development cooperation and solidarity programmes include a wide range of training, awareness-raising, research and dissemination activities. These programmes are being carried out within the framework of collaboration agreements with the respective autonomous governments, which is in addition to the 0.7% of the UIB’s and UdG’s own income contributed to development cooperation, AECID collaboration projects and specific volunteer work.
The main training and awareness-raising actions regarding cooperation are detailed below, along with an assessment of some of the results achieved.
- Free-choice subjects
- Short-term specialised courses
- Conferences and exhibitions to raise awareness of the university community in collaboration with other cooperating players and NGOs
Evolution of the students attending the volunteer training courses
- University Specialist Course in International Cooperation
- Calls for development cooperation aid: training and awareness-raising actions
- International cooperation research award
- Aid to strengthen the educational systems in less developed countries
- Action to support universities in developing countries. ORION Network
- Grants for students’ internships in poor countries
- Student mobility: Grants to participate in development projects
- Networked development cooperation projects, consisting of courses for trainers. The UIB and the UdG are taking part in the Algeria Universities Programme (PAU) developed by the Vives University Network (UIB, UdG)
- The G9 Project: The VITA Seminar in Uganda
- The DIGU Project. The UdG, as a member of the PUMA, is involved in the institutional strengthening and university management programme in five African countries: Cameroon, Senegal, Mozambique, Madagascar and Equatorial Guinea. A grant of €200,000 has just been received for this project in the AECID CAP of 2010.
- University volunteers. Apart from both universities having volunteers for social, linguistic, disability, development cooperation, sustainability and sports activities, they also participate in volunteer programmes in Europe and the United Nations. The UIB places an emphasis on strong representation of former students, who constitute 16% of the total 950.
- Recycling Programme in both universities for the use of computers by underprivileged groups.
- Participating in the Tempus European programmes through projects such as: Tempus Quality in the field of quality and development strategies
- Participation in the Latin American Cooperation Projects (PCI) programme. The following funds have been received for cooperation projects within the framework of the PCI:
- The UIB’s participation in the CAIB’s cooperation programme (€0.5 million)
- Participation in the Catalan Development Cooperation Agency (The Autonomous Government of Catalonia) for development cooperation project calls. In 2008, €76,912 in funding was received for the UdG’s own projects and €451,493 was received for joint projects with the ACUP and the Vives University Network.
Stays of solidarity and development cooperation projects
Within the scope of research and transfer (article 64 of the LES), with the aim of making progress towards sustainable development, the University cannot overlook one of the tasks that is most suitable for it to perform as a public service: research that generates knowledge and trends, creating new social, economic and environmental models. Both universities are in outstanding positions, as extensively set out in the research section that deals in depth with the fields of specialisation. Most of the research projects of the e-MTA Campus are directly related to contributing to sustainable economy.
The e-MTA Campus has already made progress in the lines mentioned in article 64 of the LES: the UIB and the UdG have set up spin-offs (20 at the UdG and 15 at the UIB); ParcBit and the PCiT are now a reality where research groups and companies share space (in ParcBit there are 131 companies with 2,500 workers and has work has started to construct a new building for several research groups; at the PCiT there are 30 research groups and 62 companies). Both institutions have a programme for evaluating results, which will be expanded.
A selection is provided below of the universities’ current assets in which the CSIC’s mixed institutes play an important role:
a. OTRI: Research Results Transfer Offices
Both universities have offices: at the UIB has the OTRI-UIB and the OTRI-FUEIB. Their objective in the International Campus of Excellence project is to join together in a new centre and increase their technical staff to improve efficiency. The UdG has one office, the Office of Research and Technology Transfer (OITT).
b. Interests management company
This role is performed by the FUEIB (University-Business Foundation of the Balearic Islands) at the UIB. The UdG is developing its third action (relations with local industry, technology transfer, setting up companies and promoting the entrepreneurship) through various structures of its own or shared ones. These in particular include the following:
- The Technological Springboard
- The University-Business Relationship Office
- The Research and Technology Transfer Office
- The Scientific and Technological Park Foundation
- The University of Girona Innovation and Training Foundation
- The Consortium of Business Incubators
- The company UdG Initiatives
- Invertec, a seed capital company
Moreover, the UIB and the rest of the G9 universities have recently set up the UNIVALUE company for evaluating results. The UdG has the company UdG Initiatives, SL as its interests management company. The company’s object is to support, finance and take holdings in new spinoff and start-up companies based on knowledge and technology, in order to promote innovation and transfer of knowledge and the results of research work conducted by the University of Girona. The company is also involved in activities that complement its corporate object, by taking direct or indirect holdings in other companies, taking part in incorporating them, becoming a partner in with them or being involved in other ways.
c. Business incubator
At the UIB, the ParcBit Innovation Unit carries out comprehensive management of the business incubators in Majorca, Minorca and Ibiza, which currently house 40 companies in the ITC, biotech, environmental, audiovisual and energy sectors, among others.
The incubators offer innovative access to incubation modules at a discount for innovating projects. For the first few years of the company’s development, the FUEIB offers the following:
- Advice and support to incubated companies in the fields of setting up and consolidation of the company, business and financial management and a one-stop business shop
- Monitoring and control of incubated projects throughout their life-cycle
- Advice and support in finding financing for innovating projects, especially in public tenders, and advice concerning R&D&I funding
- Support for economic justification of aid and subsidies
- Disseminating its activities in the media, specialist magazines, seminars and meetings, etc.
- Promoting synergies by providing space for cooperation between incubated companies
The Innovation Unit is also in charge of the work to find entrepreneurs, prospecting ideas and information and providing support in processing funding and subsidies.
In the case of the UdG, setting up companies has been promoted on the basis of various structures for different types of companies and entrepreneurs:
- The Technological Springboard provides services to spin-off companies. It takes a highly selective approach and therefore supports the few company projects that have high growth potential (companies with a potential global impact). It is based in the Scientific and Technological Park of the University of Girona and is in constant contact with private investors and seed and venture capital companies. Since it was set up it has provided support for 20 spin-off companies. It operates with a central vision: its contribution to the local area does not require its physical proximity.
- The Consortium of Business Incubators promotes entrepreneurship, provides basic support services and offers incubation spaces for local start-ups. Its aim is to house and support the highest possible number of business initiatives, regardless of their potential growth. The consortium teams up with local bodies (councils, regional councils) and brings its value proposal to the local area, to the region.
- The Scientific and Technological Park houses and provides innovating services to the most relevant projects that arise from the two approaches mentioned above. At the same time, through its actions aimed at promoting internationalisation of technology and recruitment of international entrepreneurial talent, it provides a global window for the local area.
d. Entrepreneurship Plan
The e-MTA Campus’ proposal includes the RESET Programme to promote spin-off companies being set up.
e. Venture capital company
The UIB has agreements with the Caja de Baleares Sa Nostra and La Caixa savings banks and with the Autonomous Community of the Balearic Islands to promote micro credits through ISBA, Sociedad de Garantía Recíproca, the first institution of its kind set up in Spain. Its purpose is to contribute to the development of the Balearic Islands economy by providing guarantees that offer access for small and medium-sized companies in the autonomous community to financing with the best market conditions. Business criteria are always applied to assess the business plans submitted and make decisions. Priority is placed on their feasibility and the management skills of the promoters.
INNOAVAL is a line of ISBA SGR guarantees targeted at innovating companies that carry out R&D&I projects and have received funding from the Balearic Government. Its objective is to guarantee transactions by innovating companies up to a maximum aggregate amount of €1,050,000.
The UdG holds a stake in Invertec, a seed capital company set up by the Catalan government. This company makes initial investments (of about €300,000) in companies based on innovation and technology to see them through their initial stages and speed up their growth. At the same time, the UdG has a private company, UdG Initiatives, SL, wholly-owned by the University, which takes holdings in the spin-offs that are created by the institution and manages these holdings and shares based on business criteria s and for the development of the investee companies.
Due to their twofold impact on knowledge generation, a special mention should be made of the professorships that both the UIB and the UdG have been setting up in recent years, in most cases in collaboration with local associated bodies: more than 20 at the UdG and 18 at the UIB.
Within the field of Science and Innovation (article 53 to 56 of the LES), together the universities have a total of 59 patents and 28 licences that are already starting to produce income and employment.
Contributing to sustainable economy as public bodies
Both the UIB and the UdG have always aimed at achieving a balanced and sustainable budget, sometimes in difficult circumstances (the need to implement reforms in the European Area, projects, Scientific Parks, and constant improvement of the virtual, physical and social Campuses). This aspect will be an even greater challenge in the current economic context in which steps are being taken to reduce the public deficit. Even so, the UdG and the UIB have balanced their budgets in recent years, even after the administration’s budget cuts in 2008 and 2011.
With regard to boosting the efficiency of public contracting and public-private collaborative funding, adapting these processes to the LES, the contracting portals put in place and the progress made with e-contracting are clear examples of the progress made by both universities. We should point out the role both universities’ social boards play in these and other aspects.
Contributing to sustainable economy as an organisation that has an impact on its environment
In section, 2.c.iii, we set out in detail the many actions that both the UIB and the UdG have carried out concerning these aspects. We mention below just a few of those that are detailed in the aforementioned section:
- Energy Policy (articles 78 and 85 of the LES): both universities have implemented numerous action policies to promote and ensure energy saving and have invested in renewable energy in recent years.
- Research into renewable energy (article 82 of the LES).
- Sustainable Mobility (articles 100 and 101 of the LES): both the UIB and the UdG have promoted mobility policies for access to the campus (bicycle campaigns, public transport agreements, vehicle sharing systems), and have ambitious future projects. The UIB and Parc BIT take part as stakeholders in the European project BENEFIT (www.eu-benefit.eu), led by the Transport Consortium of Majorca and CINESI. The aim of the project is energy saving and reduction of polluting emissions by promoting the use of public transport and the efficient use of private vehicles, taking the Palma-UIB-Parc BIT corridor and the students and workers that travel in it as a reference.
- Sustainable urban environment (article 107 of the LES): perhaps the most outstanding action, since it has an impact on all building and refurbishment work, is that both universities already apply environmental building criteria concerning architectural matters as well as the fittings and materials. The Montilivi Campus has been the driving force of all of the UdG in making the UdG environmentally-friendly in an integrated way (design, landscaping, waste management, renewable energy and mobility measures). This has gone beyond simply protecting and improving the environment and has become a place for training, not just of the university community, but the entire surrounding community.
1 Working document (Dublin, marc 2004). Shared Dublin descriptions for the Bachelor’s, Master’s and doctorals awards. Meeting The Joint Quality Initiative (JQI)