Valencia Government President .
University of Alicante President.
University of Alicante Honorary President
Presidents of the University of Valencia, University of Murcia, Polytechnic University of Valencia, Jaume I University of Castellón and Miguel Hernández University of Elche.
University of Alicante Social Council Chairperson
Majors of Alicante and San Vicente City Councils.
Presidents of the Cardenal Herrera University (CEU), San Vicente Mártir Catholic University of Valencia and the International University of Valencia.
PhD Ruiz Cantero.
Members of the University Community.
Ladies and Gentlemen.
It is a university tradition to present a summary of the annual report from a previous academic year within the framework of the academic year official opening. One more year, this tradition is followed, with the conviction that it is a necessary instrument at the service of society and the university community, to account for the activities carried out by the University.
It is also a general rule to present this data as a brief summary, referring to the report available on our institutional website for more detailed information.
The official opening of academic year 2014/2015 was held on 17 September last year. The keynote speech was given by Professor Juan Luis Castejón Costa. The University merits were awarded within this ceremony.
In October, we commemorated the 35th anniversary of the founding of the University of Alicante, highlighting a photo exhibition of the University over the 35 years of its existence (“Memoria Gráfica, 35 años”), the publication of a book commemorating the University of Alicante’s 35th anniversary and the creation of the Photo Library, a documentary collection of images that gathers together the history of the University of Alicante from its beginnings.
The University Senate met in November 2014. The University Social Council plenary sessions were held in 2014 and 2015. We must also point out the electoral processes carried out in two of our university centres, with lecturer Luis García Gras, from the Faculty of Science and Professor José Antonio Hurtado Sánchez, from the Faculty of Health Sciences being elected as Deans. Also, Aránzazu Calzada González has been recently appointed as the UA Social Council Secretary and myself as the University of Alicante registrar.
In terms of studies and education, I must point out that global registration data has risen to nearly 30,000 students.
Over the past academic year 2014/2015, 40 undergraduate degrees and three dual degrees were taught. Worth mentioning is that the first year of the dual undergraduate degree in Law and Criminology was started and the undergraduate degree in Principles of Architecture was implemented. Also outstanding was the positive assessment granted by ANECA for the undergraduate degrees in Robotics and in Health Information Technology, which have been implemented this year and taught only at the University of Alicante.
During the 2015/2016 academic year, the implementation of new High Academic Performance (HAP) groups continued in the first year of the undergraduate degrees in Biology, Law, Sound and Image Engineering in Telecommunications and Computer Engineering. Likewise, we keep on promoting our massive open online courses (UA MOOC). They are free and based on participation and debate, and over 10,000 students have been enrolled so far.
In the past year, postgraduate programmes have been consolidated, with the implementation of seven new official university Master's degrees and a positive verification of six more degrees, to be soon taught. Within the context of postgraduate and specialisation courses, a total of 59 courses were taught. As for UA-only Master’s, Specialisation and Expert courses, 54 projects have been approved and a total of 598 specialisation courses and activities have been carried out.
The UA Lifelong Learning Programme kept up its good record, with 136 courses being taught over the academic year 2014/2015.
The University of Alicante continued committed to building a multilingual campus, highlighting an increase of teaching in English and Catalan as a result of the application of the Teaching Plan to increase the use of Catalan, English and other languages as media of instruction (PIVALD). The Language and Teaching Training Plan was updated for teachers to get accredited with the Teaching Competence Certificate in Catalan, English and French, including German next year.
The University of Alicante Internal Quality Assurance System was further developed and implemented in all centres, as well as the preparation of follow-up reports for accreditation renewal and obtaining international quality labels for several undergraduate and Master’s degrees. Likewise, the teaching assessment programme was carried out, including several surveys of which the employment opportunities survey 2015, the survey assessing the University of Alicante student curricular internships, and participation in the survey from the UNESCO and CRUE Observatory of University Employability and Employment were highlighted.
In the University commitment to assuring teaching quality, the development of a number of programmes aimed at achieving this goal was furthered and, one more year, participation was significantly increased in the academic year 2015/2016. In this line, we must mention the Tutorial Action Programme; the Research Networks in University Teaching Programme; the 14th Networks Annual Conference; the courses of the Teacher Training Programmes and the training actions carried out by different UA Centres.
Moreover, within the policy regarding open access to knowledge, we should emphasise that the University of Alicante Institutional Repository (RUA) keeps its visibility increased, being ranked 31st among over 2,000 repositories worldwide and the fourth among the Spanish repositories.
Going on with internships, around 5,000 students have performed their training in companies and institutions both as curricular and extracurricular activities, signing up over 500 agreements in total. Special mention should be made of the success of the Aitana programme, in the section on international business training programme, which offered 39 scholarships. Also, for the Santander-CRUE-CEPYME scholarship programme for internships, the University of Alicante managed 348 applications for its students.
As regards entrepreneurship, the consolidation of the UA Employment Opportunities Observatory is worth mentioning, which carried out the Employment Opportunities Improvement Plan last year, in collaboration with several professionals as well as the 4th of the Tabarca Emprende Programme, with the Alicante City Council, and the Yuzz Alicante Programme, initiative of the Santander Universidades for start-up projects.
Within the Valencia Region Framework Programme ‘Entrepreneurial and Innovative Campuses’, the University of Alicante coordinated the Patent and Knowledge Pool project. Also, committed to supporting entrepreneurship, the University of Alicante launched the institutional programme UAemprende website last October, which collects all information on events and entrepreneurship activities, highlighting the workshops and awards to support innovative business initiatives.
The funding awarded for the Student Support Centre Social Action Plan increased and so did the number of collaborating companies. Also, the UA Homeshare Scheme was continued.
Thanks to the University of Alicante mobility grants, we managed to keep the student mobility programme despite the lack of external funding. Within the ERASMUS + Programme, 435 students went abroad, with their main destinations being Germany, France, Italy and the United Kingdom and the University of Alicante proved to be an attractive host destination, with 541 students from other universities. Regarding non-European mobility, the number of stays increased considerably as a result of the new agreements signed.
Also regarding internationalisation, the University of Alicante attended the NAFSA 2015 Annual Conference, in order to strengthen ties with universities and partners, and make new contacts, among others, with universities in the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Switzerland, and various Ibero-American countries. Existing destinations were extended with new Universities in South Africa and Brazil and new ties have been established with countries in Central Asia and Asia Pacific.
In terms of teaching staff mobility, additional funding for the programme aimed to increase the promotion of international relations was awarded, particularly to boost participation in international conferences in Europe and in non-Erasmus programmes.
During the 2014/2015 academic year, the AlumniUA portal was launched for former students and retired staff to share projects and activities involving social and cultural events, staying in touch with the University of Alicante. Over 1200 members have already joined the initiative so far.
As for research, development and innovation, we must emphasise that during the 2014/2015 academic year, the University of Alicante funded research groups with around one and a half million euros, highlighting that the 2015 call for applications included two new public-private partnerships for knowledge transfer actions: predoctoral contracts in collaboration with companies and funding for proofs of concept.
In the area of R&D Public Projects in National Programmes, 63 projects were granted, for an amount of more than five million euros, which represents an increase compared to previous year’s results. For regional programmes, 140 projects were funded with over two million seven hundred thousand euros. Within the framework of international research and development projects, 79 proposals were managed, with the University of Alicante acting as the coordinating entity in 7 of them, highlighting the proposals submitted to Horizon 2020, the Life + Programme and the Erasmus + Programme. Also, 14 projects were funded with one and a half million euros.
The University of Alicante Doctoral School consolidated its 27 PhD degrees and was authorised to implementing a new interuniversity PhD degree during the 2014/2015 academic year. Moreover, 123 PhD theses were defended, 30 of which were awarded the international PhD endorsement, and 11 international joint supervision agreements for PhD theses were signed
With regard to the promotion of research and knowledge transfer, the InnoUA institutional programme was launched to develop new actions that reinforce our approach to the business world. To this end, the University of Alicante Technology Offer Portal was designed, so that companies can easily find the technologies, capabilities or lines of research developed by our University.
Also, the creation of an electronic technological bulletin is worth highlighting as a direct and rapid communication system between the University of Alicante and companies, and our organised visiting programme to enterprises, with a very high rate of participation of companies and their connection to research groups.
Some 500 agreements and research contracts were signed for an amount over three million and a half euros.
We received 21 Spanish patent applications, 14 patents were registered internationally, 4 licences were signed, 4 licences were signed and three new technology-based companies were approved: LucentiaLab, MedCat Alicante and Applynano Solutions.
An Open Journal Systems platform was created to make the management of the University's scientific journals easier and the Publications Service has started a new educational collection — L'Ordit — to explain and disseminate the research work done at the University of Alicante.
In terms of Campus-related activities, we should emphasise that we are continuing to work on our institutional project Accessible Campus/Gender Equality Campus. Also, in November 2014, a resource portal to make public the architectural and urban heritage assets of the University of Alicante was presented, and we begun to work on the campus building technical datasheets. The opening of the Civil Engineering Research Laboratory is also worth mentioning.
During the 2014/2015 academic year, a number of activities were carried out around the Healthy University Project, in order to keep our commitment to promoting and protecting health. Moreover, the inauguration of the university healthy gardens and the walking routes on health, culture and science.
In the field of information technology, the University of Alicante made progress in its firm commitment, materialising several actions, such as the implementation of the second version of the Open Data Portal, which was presented with Foundation SOCINFO Award for the best project; the implementation of the new UACloud Virtual Campus platform, improving the services provided to the university community; the implementation of the new eAdministration platform, with more than 20,000 requests processed during the first year; and the launching of the new UADrive cloud server, to share and publish teaching materials.
Two important agreements were signed with Google and Microsoft; and we are working on the implementation of the corporate website adapted to mobile devices.
In the cultural scope, a wide on-campus comprehensive programme for theatre, music and dance should be emphasised, as well as the consolidation of La Alcudia Classical Theatre Festival, the activities perform on the Island of Tabarca and the activities in the University venues. This year, the exhibition hall Juana Francés, at the UA venue on Ramón y Cajal, and the new building of the UA venue in Alicante City (San Fernando 40) were opened. The University of Alicante Philharmonic Orchestra offered several concerts in the Christmas, Spring and Summer series through our charity fundraiser brand “Veu Solidaria” and the money collected was donated to several associations.
In the sports arena, we are proud to recall the many successes achieved in the Regional University Sports Championship, with 29 more medals than in the previous season. Our Orienteering team won the bronze for teams in the 2nd Xarxa Vives University Orienteering Championship. The UA women's 5-a-side football team was ranked fourth in the national premier league for the third time in a row. Also, the women's rowing team achieved a third place in the general classification in the SUMA regional indoor rowing league and fourth in the Spanish Championship. Also, our Triathlon team won the Copa del Rey and the Spanish Triathlon Relays Championship in May 2015.
The University of Alicante keeps its commitment to maintaining and creating corporate research chairs, which represent a permanent meeting point for debates with academicians, businessmen, institutions and students. Several research chairs were created during the 2014/2015 academic year, e.g. the Balmis Research Chair in Vaccinology; the Antoni Miró Research Chair in Contemporary Art; the Vectalia Research Chair in Sustainable Urban Mobility; the Pedro Ferrándiz Research Chair in Sports and the Santander-University of Alicante Research Chair in Digitisation.
Also worth mentioning is the number of agreements signed last academic year: a total of 786, distributed between internship agreements, national and international agreements.
In terms of regulatory development and updates with the participation of all UA offices of the Vice Presidents, we should emphasise the drafting of the internal rules of both the Governing Council and Governing Council Support Committee, as well as of the internal rules of the Student Council and the Student Statutes. It is also necessary to point out the work carried out by the Transparency and Good Governance Group in the upcoming University of Alicante Transparency Portal.
Following the commitment to promoting the principle of equality between women and men and the eradication of gender violence, our University activated an information and awareness campaign (“The UA comes face to face with gender equality”) last year and approved University of Alicante policy on prevention from harassment and from any action against sexual orientation and gender identity in June 2015. On the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the UA contest ‘Tweets against Gender Violence’ was held for the third time. Also, the 3rd Gender Equality Award was presented to the firm Aguas de Alicante within the International Women's Day celebrations.
Within the context of the Saint Thomas Aquinas celebrations, the Spanish National Awards for Excellent Academic Performance of the previous academic year were presented.
Following on with awards and merits, we are pleased to recall the handing out of the Maisonnave Award to Mrs. Emilia Caballero Álvarez, and a posthumous award of the University of Alicante Golden Laurel to Mr. Germán Bernácer Tormo. and the inauguration of the following as honorary doctors by our University: Gabriel Tortella Casares, en la que actuó como padrino el profesor Javier Vidal Olivares; Raúl Zurita Canessa, sponsored by Prof. José Carlos Rovira Soler; Edwin R. Hancock, sponsord by lecturer Francisco Escolano Ruiz; and Irina Beletskaya, sponsored by Prof. Francisco Alonso Valdés.
The academic year closing ceremony took place on 22 May 2015, with the conferment ceremony of the new PhDs and the University of Alicante Gold Medal award to Mr. Ignacio Jiménez Raneda and Mr. Salvador Ordóñez Delgado.
Today, we want to pay a special tribute to all the members of our university community who passed away last year: Prof. Angel Poveda Sánchez. Rita Bañuls López and Josefa Marín Talavera, from our administration staff. Student Francisco José Mas Díez. José Angel Cía Reig, from the UA Foundation staff. Antonio Mª Badía i Margarit, honorary doctor by our University and Ricardo Ferré Alemán, former Chairman of the UA Social Council.
Finally, I want to thank the entire university community for having made possible the activities that have been summarised in this condensed annual report, with the conviction that our institution remains, and will always do, committed and determined in the fulfilment of its purposes, regardless of people, good times or bad. Each new academic year with renewed strength, unbroken dreams and firm intention of achieving new and greater successes for the next academic year.
Thank you so much.
Universidad de Alicante
Carretera de San Vicente del Raspeig s/n
03690 San Vicente del Raspeig
Tel: (+34) 96 590 3484Fax: (+34) 96 590 3464