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Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas


The Spanish public universities located in the large metropolitan areas lead the rankings for their results in research and technology transfer activities

The BBVA Foundation and the Ivie have published the fourth edition of U-Ranking, covering a total of 61 Spanish public and private universities.

The fourth edition of U-Ranking confirms that the best universities in Spain are located mostly in large metropolitan areas. Their results triple that of the less productive universities due to their research potential and opportunities to intensely perform technology transfer activities within their environment. In any case, educational outcomes in research and technology transfer of the Spanish universities vary greatly, reflecting their diverse specialization, unequal performance, the more or less favorable influence of their environment and their different size.

In 2016, three Catalan public universities (Pompeu Fabra, Autónoma de Barcelona and the Polytechnic University of Catalonia) and the Polytechnic University of Valencia top the U-Ranking list. The Universitat Pompeu Fabra heads the overall ranking and shares the first position in teaching with the University of Navarre, of private ownership. The Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona leads the research ranking and the Polytechnic University of Catalonia the innovation and technological development ranking.

These are the main results found in the fourth edition of U-Ranking, corresponding to 2016, developed jointly by the BBVA Foundation and the Ivie. The project has been directed by Prof. Francisco Pérez, Ivie Research Director, and Prof. Joaquín Aldás, Ivie Research Professor, both from the University of Valencia, in collaboration with Irene Zaera, Rodrigo Aragón and Héctor García, Ivie research technicians. During the past five years, U-Ranking project has counted with the support of experts in the evaluation of University activity and its quality, from 15 Spanish universities.

Other important aspects of this fourth edition are:

  • The public universities dominate the general ranking, but there is a great diversity of centers, due to their characteristics as well as results. Indices in teaching performance differ up to 50% from the first and the last university of the ranking, and in research results the best ones double the last.
  • In teaching there is less heterogeneity. Private universities stand out, as they concentrate more in training and less in research, and are altogether 36% below the average in research.
  • The heterogeneity of the university system and its environment allows classifying the universities in seven groups according to their different resources and features. The group of universities that stand out for their results are those highly specialized and large in size, located in Barcelona, Madrid and Valencia.
  • Catalonia has the best university system, followed by Cantabria, Navarre, the Valencian Community, Balearic Islands and Madrid.
  • The public university system shows a standstill with respect to the 2015 edition in its teaching and research results, but has improved in patents.
  • The U-Ranking website compares more than 2,700 Bachelor’s degrees from 831 centers and faculties, corresponding to 61 Spanish universities, 48 public and 13 private, representing 95% of the university system.

31 March 2016