Excellent results from the Industrial Doctorates Plan, with over 240 projects under way

The plan has been funded with 34 million euros, two-thirds of which are earmarked for the companies

A total of 176 companies are taking part, in conjunction with Catalan universities and research centres

Friday, 26 February 2016

The Government of Catalonia, through the Secretariat for Universities and Research, has implemented over 240 R&D&I projects since the start of the Industrial Doctorates Plan, with the collaboration of the public and private Catalan universities working with 176 companies, ranging from start-ups to large companies in a wide variety of fields (including sciences, engineering, health sciences and humanities, among others). In the words of the Secretary for Universities and Research, Arcadi Navarro, ‘The industrial doctorates are a clear example of the transfer of state-of-the-art knowledge from the Catalan universities to the productive infrastructure of our country’.

The plan has been funded with 34 million euros, two-thirds of which is earmarked for businesses, with the aim of contributing to the competitiveness and internationalisation of Catalan industry. In 2015, the total number of project grants increased to 86. According to Navarro, ’given the success of the plan, the government has reinforced its commitment to continue providing support and its intention to increase the number of grants’.

The projects cover all areas of business, especially engineering and architecture and above all ICT and civil engineering, followed by health sciences. The cutting-edge research of the projects covers fields as diverse as the use of humanoid robots in the rehabilitation of disabled people, the 5G mobile network, the impact of events in the city of Barcelona, big data, 3D food printing and sustainability and energy efficiency.

Catalan universities and 16 CERCA research centres are taking part in the plan. Twenty per cent of the thesis tutors have received grants from the European Research Council (ERC) or are members of the internationally renowned scientific ICREA programme.

An opportunity for students, companies, universities and research centres

The aim of the Industrial Doctorates Plan is to contribute to the competitiveness and internationalisation of Catalan industry, strengthen the tools for recruiting the talent generated in the country and place future PhD holders in the right place to carry out R&D&I projects in a company.

The essential element of the industrial doctorate process is the research project carried out at a company, where doctoral students will further develop their research training in collaboration with a university, and which is the object of a doctoral thesis. Therefore, the industrial doctorates act as a bridge for knowledge transfer and encourage closer ties between Catalan industry, universities and research centres.

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 matriculation and a mobility fund.

The Plan is managed by the Agency for Management of University and Research Grants (AGAUR) and, starting this year, the Catalan Foundation for Research and Innovation (FCRI) will also be collaborating and making it more dynamic. It also has the continued support of the 12 Catalan universities and the business world to promote the transfer of knowledge to the productive sector. 

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