The research and innovation activity results analysed in this year’s edition once again reveal the strength and relevance of the scientific production generated by the Catalan research and transfer system and, most especially, by the Catalan public university system.
Once again, the scientific production of Catalan public universities leads the way in production generated by Catalan institutions that are dedicated to research (six of the ten Catalan institutions with the most scientific production, including research institutes and hospitals, are universities). Moreover, these are publications that, measured in terms of impact, place Catalan public universities in the highest positions in the Spanish university system (five of the top ten universities with the most standardised impact are Catalan). Meanwhile, the productivity of full-time teaching and research staff doctors and full-time research staff doctors at Catalan public universities has been gradually increasing over the last five years.
This upward trend is also observed in the production of doctoral theses and in the number of foreign students who defend their theses at Catalan public universities. In the 2017-2018 academic year, 2,067 theses were defended, a similar figure to that for 2012-2013, after a few years of increase due to the extinction of old doctoral studies.
As for the international component, one in three theses was defended by foreign students, which consolidates the trend of previous years, and one in four theses received a European or international mention. This data showcases the excellent teaching capacity of university research staff in all areas of knowledge.
In the European context, when scientific production is related to the population and generated wealth (GDP), the Catalan research system is ranked very highly and is also one of a small group of countries that have a low level of spending on research and development (R&D) in relation to GDP, but have a strong impact on scientific production (Luxembourg, the United Kingdom and Ireland are the other members of the group).