El Departament de Recerca i Universitats incrementa un 27% els ajuts als investigadors predoctorals en la convocatòria 2023 del Pla de Doctorats Industrials

· On the tenth anniversary of the program that promotes collaboration between universities and companies, a new economic incentive has also been created to increase the internationalization of projects · The first application period for the current call will be until May 25 and will be resolved during the month of July. · Since 2012, the Industrial Doctorates Plan has promoted more than 900 collaborative research projects, with the participation of more than 600 companies and institutions.

The Department of Research and Universities has increased by 27% the direct aid received by doctoral students in the 2023 call of the Industrial Doctorates Plan. This is one of the main novelties of the new edition of the programme, for which it is now possible to apply for grants offered to predoctoral researchers the possibility of doing research training in a company or institution, in collaboration with a university or research centre, where they develop a project that will end up being the object of the doctoral thesis.

With an initial investment of around six million euros (5,878,800 euros), the 2023 call for Industrial Doctorates Plan presents substantial improvements within 10 years since its launch. The overall grants –which in addition to direct funding to doctoral students, also includes that received by the universities, research centers and participating companies–, may exceed 64,000 euros if the thesis defended obtains the international mention.

One of the objectives of this call is to increase the international visibility of the Industrial Doctorates Plan. That is why this new economic incentive has been created to promote the internationalization of projects. If the doctoral student stays abroad for at least three months and requests an international mention at the time of depositing the thesis, both the business environment and the academic environment will receive an additional contribution of 2,000 euros each.

Another novelty of this edition is that, within the modality of specific aid, grants will also be awarded to research groups, and not only to doctoral students as was done until now.

For the Minister of Research and Universities, Joaquim Nadal i Farreras, the Government's investment in the Industrial Doctorates Plan "is another commitment to young talent through this program is aimed at innovation, competitiveness and internationalization of the Catalan industrial fabric". This year's budget of the Department of Research and Universities includes measures in favour of talent worth more than 138 million euros. One of the novelties this year is the action worth 2.4 million euros to stabilize 60 postdoctoral researchers.

"The Industrial Doctorates Plan is yet another commitment to young talent through this programme aimed at innovation, competitiveness and internationalisation of the Catalan industrial fabric"

Deadlines for the call for Industrial Doctorates 2023

The general deadline to apply for an Industrial Doctorates grant 2023 will be open until December 11 and the application must be made from the Virtual Procedures Office. During the year, however, there are partial deadlines, the first of which will be until May 25 and will be resolved during the month of July. The next deadlines will be in the fall and at the end of the year.

Impact of the 2022 call

Within the 2022 call, 146 proposals were promoted, of which 119 applications were formalized and 117 grants were awarded (106 for co-financing and 11 for specific aid).

As for the participating companies, there were 113 companies, 73 of which had never participated before. Of these 113 companies and beneficiary entities, 66 were SMEs, 58.4% of the projects with aid; 11 large companies (9.7%), 20 start-ups or spin-offs (17.7%) and 16 non-profit organisations (14.2%).

In terms of academia, 11 of the 12 Catalan universities, 12 CERCA centres – the Biomedical Research Institute of Lleida for the first time – participated, the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and the School of International Trade (ESCI-UPF). Overall, 111 researchers were involved. Once again, the number of new participants increased, 60% of researchers and 55% of research groups participated for the first time.

In terms of projects, all areas of knowledge were represented: 29.1% were Health Sciences and Biomedical projects, 23.9% ICT, 12% Chemical Sciences and Technologies and 10.3% Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities.

In summary and with a global vision 2012-2022, the Industrial Doctorates Plan has promoted more than 900 collaborative research projects, with the participation of more than 600 different companies and institutions. The 12 universities of the Catalan system and 25 CERCA centers have participated, as well as centers of the CSIC, EURECAT and other agents of the research ecosystem, which have involved more than 670 researchers from more than 430 research groups. From an economic point of view, 119 million euros have been invested, 2/3 of which come from the business environment. Finally, more than 290 doctoral theses have already been defended.