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The report shows entrepreneurial activity is stagnating
The public higher-education system in Catalonia and the Catalan public R&D system together posted turnover of €5.714 billions (€15.7 millions a day), which is a GDP contribution of €3.66 billions (1.7 % of the GDP of Catalonia). The two systems together helped create or maintain 60,313 jobs (full-time equivalent) and €2.081 billions in salaries.
These are just some of the figures from the report Socio-economic Impacts of Catalan Public Universities and Research, Development and Innovation in Catalonia compiled by the Catalan Association of Public Universities (ACUP) presented on 20 November in Barcelona.
According to the study, for every €100 of public money spent on the Catalan system of public universities (SiCUP) in 2015 there was a return to society of €226 in salaries, €618 in turnover and a contribution of €402 to the Catalan GDP.
The research sector studied in this report includes the CERCA centers, the network of CSIC centers in Catalonia, large-scale research facilities (BSC and Alba Synchrotron), technology centers, science and technology parks and various medical research centers.
According to the study, each Catalan public university kicked off an average of 132 entrepreneurial projects in 2016, well above the figures for the previous year (average of 92 per university) and for 2014 (35 projects). The other indicators of entrepreneurial management, however, have worsened. “Universities are stagnating in the field of entrepreneurship, in spite of their great potential,” explained Juan Antonio Duro, professor of Economy at Rovira i Virgili University and co-author of the study.
So, according to the report, each university created an average of 2.17 start-ups and 1.71 spin-offs in 2016, when the averages had been at 3 and 1.88, respectively, the year before. The number of patents implemented in spin-offs also fell slightly: from 2.2 the previous year to an average of 2 in 2016.
“Catalan universities and research centers are good and competitive on an international level but we have to close the innovation gap so that society can fully take advantage of the results of their research. This is our great challenge here,” recognized Government of Catalonia Secretary for Universities and Research Arcadi Navarro at the event.