Higher education and research in Spain and Andalusia


HE in Spain | HE governance | HEIs in Andalusiaresearch in Andalusia


Higher education in Spain

Spain has about 1.5 million HE students (2007/08). There are 77 universities: 50 are public and 27 are private. Although more than one third of the universities are private, they produce only 8% of graduates in a system that has grown rapidly since the 1970s but decreased again in the most recent years. Non-university higher education is almost non-existent.

Higher education is rapidly internationalising. The number of foreign students is increasing every year. 2.3% of undergraduate students and 23% of graduate students are of foreign nationality. About 51% of the Ph.D. students from foreign universities come from Latin America. Nearly 24 000 Spanish students participated in the European student exchange programme Erasmus in 2007-08.

Public expenditure in HE for grants and loans for HE students is 0.08% of GDP (OECD-average: 0.25%). Private funding for HE has increased considerably during the 1990s (over 25%).


Higher education governance

Higher Education Institutions in Spain are governed by two different Ministries: Ministry of Education and Ministry of Science and Innovation. The Ministry of Education co-ordinates the whole education system from primary to tertiary education including vocational higher education. The Ministry of Science and Innovation is in charge of research policy, including funding.

The Minister of Education is responsible for:

  • Designing, planning and regulating HE (including teaching staff regulations)
  • Developing the European Space of Higher Education and co-ordinating international programmes
  • Planning, co-ordinating and managing financial help for students, teachers and research staff, through grants and loans
  • Evaluating and analysing innovation and improvement of university quality


The Minister of Science and Innovation is responsible for:

  • Promoting co-operation among universities, research centres and companies
  • Defining a National Plan of Research, Development and Innovation
  • Co-ordinating scientific and technical research as well as co-operation at national and international levels
  • Identifying research careers, and providing public financing for it

Regional governments are responsible for funding and managing HE in the regions. They set up, authorise and oversee public and private HEIs. They may also design and implement regional research policy.


In Andalusia, the Regional Ministry of Science and Innovation is responsible for higher education.


Higher education institutions (HEIs) in Andalusia

There are 10 public universities and 1 private university - which has only recently been established and is not yet operating. About 225 500 students are enrolled at the HEIs. The HEIs have nearly 17 500 teaching staff members. The 10 public universities offer 123 degrees and 300 postgraduates' courses.

The budget for the Andalusian HEIs is about 1 590 million Euros in 2009, which is nearly 0.97% of the region's GDP. The government's goal is to reach 1.01% of the GDP by 2011.


Public universities

Private University


Research in Andalusia

More than 1 800 research groups are working in the Andalusian region.

There are 43 research institutes, of which 15 research units belong to the High National Council of Research in different fields like ICT, marine sciences, biotechnology or sustainable agriculture.

About 1 500 million Euros (1,01% of the regional GDP) were spent on R&D in Andalusia 2007. About 37% was private R&D expenditure and 40% was spent at the HEIs.


Andalusian Network of Technological Parks

The region hosts 10 technological parks and 21 technological and innovation centres where nearly 400 enterprises co-operate. The Andalusian Network of Technological Parks has recently been founded to facilitate co-operation and collaboration synergies.

The Centres of Innovation and Technology (CITs) are sites of innovation and technological development, which are promoted by the Andalusian Government.
Their aim is to improve the competitive capacities of key sectors, to support the technological business infrastructure, to promote co-operation between businesses, and to facilitate the transfer of research and knowledge.


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