Current events

Research at the UOC is on the rise

Foto: Unplash/Annie Spratt

Foto: Unplash/Annie Spratt

Jordi Rovira
A series of indicators showing the growth in the University's different research areas over recent years

Research at the UOC continues to grow, while we are also seeing an increase in the publication and securing of funds, alongside a rise in scientific visibility. These are just some of the conclusions drawn from around thirty indicators related to research and innovation, one of the major challenges in 2018 in this area.

For the first time, these indicators - drawn up as part of the process to draft the  faculties' and research centres' strategic research plans - offer a global, integrated vision of research at the UOC in recent years. They use data gathered over the last four years, which in some cases will be updated every quarter. The UOC's growth in research can be better appreciated thanks to these indicators' interactive display using an internal consumer tool.


Interdisciplinary team

These fifty or so indicators have been created thanks to an all-encompassing, interdisciplinary process started last year, in which the faculties' deputy deans of research, the eLearn Center and eHealth Center, IN3 and Doctoral School management and research support staff from the Library, the OSRT, Globalization and Cooperation, Communication and the Strategic Planning Office participated.


Useful display

The interactive display of these indicators has been created using a dynamic and interactive data display app, which provides a summarized vision of the research indicators at both a global (the whole of the UOC) and more specific (by faculty and centre) level as well as at a multidimensional level (from all aspects of research and innovation). Information is gathered on research dimensions such as inputs, ie those linked to group and people organization, and securing projects; outputs, which are specifically publications, productivity, visibility and collaboration; and outcomes, which include knowledge exchange (patents, spin-offs, theses read and industrial doctorates).


Increasingly more researchers

The data show sustained growth in the number of full-time researchers at the UOC. The University's report showed that 2018 saw the highest number of full-time researchers, with 168, almost trebling the figure of 66 for 2014.

It is also worth remembering that if we also consider teaching staff, who devote around a third of their time to research, the number of people with research skills at the University surpassed the figure of 400 in 2018.


Gender parity among full-time researchers

The percentage of female and male full-time researchers is balanced (49% and 51% respectively), showing practical parity in terms of gender. This percentage is slightly higher than the Spanish average, where the percentage of female researchers has stagnated at 39% for a decade, as stated in February by Ángeles Heras, Secretary of State for RDI.


Increase in the number of SGR research groups

At the end of 2018, the UOC had a total of 45 research groups (42 with SGR recognition and 3 without). The distribution of these groups by faculty is as follows:

  • 8 groups in Arts and Humanities,
  • 6 in Psychology and Education Sciences,
  • 5 in Computer Science, Multimedia and Telecommunications,
  • 5 in Economics and Business,
  • 4 in Law and Political Science,
  • 3  in Health Sciences 
  • 2 Information and Communication Sciences.

In addition to these, there are eleven research groups at the IN3.

We should highlight that recent years have seen a substantial increase in the number of research groups awarded SGR recognition (recognized by the Government of Catalonia, which means that they receive both recognition and funding to conduct their research work). The UOC had 14 research groups recognized in the SGR 2009-2013 call, 26 in the 2014-2016 call, and 42 groups in the one for 2017-2019.


Almost double the number of Chairs

With regard to the number of Chairs conducting teachingresearch and knowledge exchange projects, the number is also rising, albeit more moderately than in other areas. We should highlight that, in 2015, regulations applying to Chairs were passed, while in 2017, a competitive economic promotion programme was approved.

This could be among the reasons why recent years have seen an increase in the number of Chairs, going from four in 2014 to seven in 2016 and 2017 and six in 2018. The latest Chair, the Randstad Foundation - UOC Chair in Disability, Employment and Social Innovation, was presented in Madrid on 21 March, meaning the University once again has a seventh Chair, a historic high.


Record external funding

The funding obtained by project type shows how the the amount of funding for non-competitive projects has more than doubled, rising from a little over €2 million in 2014 to nearly €5.5 million in 2018.

By volume of competitive and non-competitive projects, 2018 also surpassed previous years, with 146 projects (102 competitive and 44 non-competitive). The nearest year to this figure was 2014, with 123 projects. The benchmark of a hundred projects was not surpassed in 2015, 2016 or 2017, which makes the figure achieved last year even more remarkable.

We see further evidence that outside securement in 2018 reached record highs in the figure secured for competitive projects, which was the highest ever attained by the UOC, thanks in part to an awarded ERC project.


More production and visibility of indexed scientific articles

With regard to the UOC's indexed scientific articles, we see a clear and continued upward trend, going from 278 articles in 2014 to 431 in 2018. The last year alone saw an increase of 14%.

In terms of articles' the scientific impact, these have been gaining citations over the years. Whereas articles published in 2018 have 143 (ISI), 274 (SCOPUS) and 483 (GSC) citations, those from two years earlier, 2016, already have 997 (ISI), 1,595 (SCOPUS) and 1,726 (GSC). Finally, if we look at the citations accumulated between 2017 and 2018, we see a clear increase of 53% (ISI), 49% (SCOPUS) and 18% (GSC).


Books and book chapters

The figures related to the publication of books and book chapters/proceedings underwent a significant increase between 2017 and 2018, going from 25 to 29 books and from 139 to 178 book chapters/proceedings.

The indicators also show that, when publishing a book, national publishers are favoured, although the number of books and book chapters published with international publishers has also risen. Between 2017 and 2018, this went from 20% to 28% of books and from 50% to 58% of chapters with publishers from other countries


Positive evolution of knowledge exchange

The indicators relating to the evolution of knowledge exchange also show growth.

With regard to theses defended, in 2014-2018 the total was 101, while for industrial doctorates, it went from 2 in 2014 to 18 last year.

This period also witnessed the consolidation of the creation of spin-offs, with one in 2014 and three in 2018. There was a significant increase in patent applications, going from 2 in 2014 to 11 last year. Finally, active patents grew from 4 in 2014 to 13 in 2018, while licenses rose from 2 in 2015 (there were none in 2014) to 4 in the last three years.