The place where the Spanish University should be

This expression is usually said in public offices of the Administration or amongst members from the so-called “Government Agency of the Educational System Management”.  The context that accounts for this expression generally entails comparisons of some academic activity indicators; besides, these indicators invariably demand some sort of immediate response. For instance, it is said that the Science Law 13/86 that helped setting off and establishing the Spanish Scientific, Economic and Industrial system, also let Spanish science gain an outstanding place internationally (9th position in the world) according to quantitative bibliometrics.  However, when correlating this academic scientific output with its appliedness and social use, there is an agreement about the existence of needs to reach “the place where the Spanish University should be”.

With regard to this expression, a message of commitment, responsibility and encouragement is clearly inferred. It is also an issue that demands mobilizations and structural changes carried out by any person who might be affected. I can also negatively think that there is an inherited fatalism that never allows the Spanish University to reach “the place where it should be” thanks to an unfair and an uncontrollable destiny.

However, if following the example, we take what happened to some of the main public initiatives launched in the last twenty years to strength the transfer of knowledge from the University to the company – foundation of Knowledge Transfer Office (KTO), implantation of Science and Technology Parks, office development of European projects, among others- we can see that, despite it’s clear structural vocation, they suffer from lack of reinforcement within the institutions they serve in.

Connected to this, and without going into question about its raison d’être, in other words, supposing these measures are justified whatever reason- an European Union strategy, the fact of being successful in other countries, or the support of a wise men council- we can attribute as a typical feature that all of them have been “purchased” by its potential beneficiaries, universities in this case, without excessive questioning.

International Campus of Excellence (ICE) would be contained in these strategic measures in order to cause a breaking-off in the Spanish Academic Ecosystem and the society itself. Its ambitious aims – to reach teaching, researching & innovative and territorial environment excellence- they acquire full meaning in a moment in which a change in the productive model, in the knowledge society and even the change of moral principles is being discussed. We need to recall that ICE have been conceived by the Administration as an ambitious challenge and accepted by the Universities as a bet of excellence.

Finally, the Spanish University would gain the place where it ought to be by keeping these commitments.


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