After more than a decade of research policies characterised bystability and increasing public funds, Catalonia works to consolidate his model for the system of R+D.

Since the end of the 1990s, the three main priorities of these R&Dpolicies have been:

  • Attracting researchers of recognised prestige based exclusivelyon scientific and academic merit.
  • The creation and consolidation of the region’s own model ofresearch centre.
  • The creation of large research infrastructures in collaborationwith the Spanish government.

This model has enabled Catalonia to improve its position on theEuropean and world stage. One of the indicators showing this isCatalonia’s participation in the European Union Framework Programmes.Catalonia has progressed from receiving 0.58 per cent of the funds ofthe 3rd Framework Programme (1990-1994) to 2.20 per cent of the fundsfor the 2007-2010 period of the Seventh Framework Programme, with 1.21per cent of the population.

A key element in the Catalan research system is the infrastructure thatmakes up the public R&D&I facilities. This consists ofuniversities, research centres, large research infrastructure, hospitalinstitutions, science and technology parks, reference networks andresearch groups.

Universities play a central role in every R&D&I system thanksto their three-pronged mission: teaching, research and knowledgetransfer. There are 12 public and private universities in the Catalanuniversity system: University of Barcelona, Autonomous University ofBarcelona, Polytechnic University of Catalonia, Pompeu FabraUniversity, Ramon Llull University, University of Lleida, University ofGirona, Rovira i Virgili University, Open University of Catalonia,University of Vic, International University of Catalonia and Abat OlibaUniversity CEU. In addition, within these university structures, it isimportant to remember the 36 university research institutes.

In Catalonia there are 42 research centres associated with theGovernment of Catalonia through the CERCA Institute, while 21 otherresearch centres are affiliated with the Spanish National ResearchCouncil (CSIC).
CERCA research centres are independent bodies with their own legalstatus. They are promoted by the Government of Catalonia, which alsohas a holding in them, and their main purpose is to carry out top-levelscientific research. The CSIC centres established in Catalonia arepublic organisations owned by the Spanish government.

Catalonia is home essentially to two large infrastructures: the CELLS Consortium’s ALBA Synchrotron Light Facility and the Mare Nostrumsupercomputer of the Barcelona Supercomputing Center. Both of these were created by the Government of Catalonia in collaboration with the Spanish government, which recognises them as Unique Scientific and Technical Facilities (ICTS).

In addition, Catalonia has other ICTS (the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Laboratory of Barcelona, the Clean Room of the National Microelectronics Centre, the Consorci de Serveis Universitaris de Catalunya) and a number of astronomy observatories.

Hospital institutions are another of the pillars of the R&D&Isystem. The aim of their research is to provide a response to thehealth problems suffered by the population, taking biomedical researchas the point of departure.
R&D&I reference networks consist of a collection of groups fromdifferent institutions and bodies that carry out research andinnovation projects and other activities based on collaboration. Thesegroups have a number of common objectives and these networks aim topromote collaborative work and an interdisciplinary andmultidisciplinary approach to research, and to foster the optimising ofthe R&D&I infrastructure and facilities that exist inCatalonia.

The Government of Catalonia recognises these research groups, which are characterised by the quality of their research work. This is accredited by their joint publications, participation in common projects, and activities aimed at the transfer and dissemination of the knowledge and results obtained to society as a whole. The last registering period for research groups with the Government of Catalonia (2013) recognised 1.652 groups in different scientific areas and institutions within Catalonia, divided among two modalities:

  •   Emerging research groups
  •   Consolidated research groups

Call for registration of research groups by the Government of Catalonia (2013) (CAT)

The public R&D&I system is complemented by science and technology parks and technology centres.
Lastly, the research carried out by the private sector should be highlighted, particularly that carried out by R&D&I departments in large and medium-sized businesses that are particularly active in sectors such as the automotive industry, the food industry, the chemicals industry and the pharmaceutical industry.
Update:  08.11.2016