Second Industrial Doctorates Plan call for applications proves a success


The Government is co-financing 76 projects, 16 more than last time

Since the start of the Plan, more than 150 projects have been implemented with the support of 120 Catalan companies and universities


The Secretariat for Universities and Research has co-financed 76 projects from the Industrial Doctorates Plan 2014 call for applications, 16 more than with the first call. In addition, eight specific grants have been awarded. In total, €12 million have been committed to business innovation, €4 million from the Government of Catalonia and €8 million from companies.

The 84 subsidised projects cover all business sectors, particularly engineering and architecture, and especially ICT and civil engineering, followed by health sciences. The cutting-edge research of the projects covers fields as diverse as early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, 3D printing and electronic voting.

The selection of candidates for each project, carried out by the universities and companies, was extremely thorough, taking into account not just academic achievement, but also personal interviews and an assessment of the future doctoral students’ experience. 

Since the start of the Plan, more than 150 projects have been implemented in conjunction with the Catalan universities, both public and private, and 120 Catalan businesses, from start-ups to large companies. The Secretary for Universities and Research, Antoni Castellà, stressed the importance of the industrial doctorates ‘to incorporate human capital and innovation processes into our productive fabric’ and added that by ‘co-financing 75 projects from this edition, Catalonia is level with European standards in terms of population and business and university infrastructure’.

The Industrial Doctorates Plan aims to contribute to the competitiveness and internationalisation of the Catalan industrial fabric, recruit talent and train doctoral students to work at companies developing R&D&I projects. The essential element is a strategic research project in a company, developed together with a research group recognised by the Government of Catalonia, which is the subject of a doctoral thesis at a university in the Catalan university system.

The industrial doctorates enable companies to access cutting-edge research groups and use their infrastructure, as well as obtain financial subsidies and benefit from tax deductions and rebates. For universities, the plan facilitates transfer of their technology and knowledge to the productive environment and strengthens links with business. The doctoral students are given the opportunity to receive training in a highly innovative environment with both academic and business supervision, with a three-year work contract and a number of other advantages, such as free enrolment and a mobility fund.

The Plan’s director, professor at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC), Dr Antonio Huerta, states that ‘the Industrial Doctorates Plan, the first in Spain, facilitates the incorporation of talent and qualified personnel into companies, thus increasing competitiveness and, therefore, an end to the current crisis’.

The Plan, managed by the Agency for Management of University and Research Grants (AGAUR), has the support of 12 Catalan universities and the business world to favour knowledge transfer to the productive sector.


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