University of Alicante President.
Valencia Region Secretary for Education and Research
President of the Miguel Hernández University (Elche)
University of Alicante Social Council Chairperson
Vice President for Research and Knowledge Transfer
Vice President for Academic and Faculty Affairs
Dr. Abad Casal
Members of the University Community
Ladies and Gentlemen
It is a university tradition to present a summary of the annual report from 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.
As usual, this report will be briefly presented. The full annual report of the 2015/2016 academic year will be available on our institutional website, where you can also find detailed information on all the activities carried out.
On 16 September 2015, the 2015/2016 academic year for all the Valencian universities was declared officially opened by the Valencia Government President at the University of Alicante. The inaugural lecture was given by Professor of Preventive Medicine and Public Health María Teresa Ruiz Cantero.
The University Senate met in ordinary session in November 2015. In December the same year, the elections for the new University Senate were held, which met again in May 2016 to elect its representatives for the Governing Council and the different University committees.
The elections for the University President were held in May 2016 and Manuel Palomar Sanz was re-elected. He received great support from the university community and participation in the electoral process was also remarkable. The University President and his team officially took office on 25 May 2016.
The Social Council met in its corresponding plenary sessions in 2015 and 2016 and it should be noted that in June of this year, the Spanish University Social Councils Meeting was held at the University of Alicante.
In terms of the past year’s study and training programmes, 41 undergraduate degrees and 3 dual undergraduate degrees were taught at the University of Alicante over the academic year 2015/2016. Particularly noteworthy is the implementation of the first year of the undergraduate degrees in Robotics and in Health Information Technology. It is also worth mentioning the positive assessment by ANECA of the Undergraduate Degree in Physics for its implementation this academic year, as well as the approval of the Dual Undergraduate Degree in Computer Engineering & Business Administration and the simultaneous degrees for all the undergraduate Language Studies, which have also started running this year.
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. Innovative learning methodologies, such as distance-based courses, were further developed as massive on-line open courses, known as MOOC courses, through a call for funding that benefited 11 projects in the academic year 2015/2016.
In the past year, postgraduate programmes have been consolidated, with the implementation of five new official university Master's degrees and a positive verification of four more degrees, to be soon taught. As for postgraduate and specialisation courses, 53 been approved, 94 projects for UA-only Master’s, specialisation and expert courses have been approved and a total of 404 specialisation courses and activities have been carried out.
The Permanent University taught a total of 125 subjects during the 2015/2016 academic year and participated in 4 projects in the fields of the international European Union and research.
The University of Alicante has continued to be 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, French and German.
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. In this sense, it worth emphasising that all the University of Alicante degrees that have undergone this quality assurance process have obtained their accreditation renewal and that 5 undergraduate degrees of the Polytechnic School were granted the EUR-ACE and EUR-INF international quality labels. Also, as part of the quality assurance actions taken, it is worth mentioning the Teaching Activity Surveys, which were compulsorily carried out for the UA teaching staff, and the graduate labour market satisfaction survey, after the implementation of the new undergraduate and Master’s degrees, which also assessed curricular in-company internships during the academic year 2015/2016.
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.
The University Library collections were further developed during the past academic year, being especially noteworthy the growth of electronic works, with more than 125,000 monograph series and almost 30,000 journals. Special mention of the University of Alicante Institutional Repository (RUA), which is still highly ranked in the Ranking Web of World Repositories, being 40 worldwide and 20 in Europe.
Turning to in-company internships, around 5,000 students performed both curricular and extracurricular in-company internships and we signed a total of 549 educational cooperation agreements with companies and institutions, which means an increase close to 30% as compared to the previous year. In the section on international in-company internships, the Aitana - Erasmus Plus programme is worth noting, with the participation of 44 students; and the UA - Erasmus Plus Entrepreneurial Mobility Programme, with 3 places offered for short stays. As part of the Santander-CRUE-CEPYME training programme, 176 of the companies that signed up for this programme specifically requested to host students from the University of Alicante.
With regard to entrepreneurship, the University Observatory for Labour Market Integration was consolidated, with several actions carried out during the last year. The implementation of 4 of the 5 programmes of the Valencia Region Framework Programme ‘Entrepreneurial and Innovative Campuses’ is particularly notable; the implementation of a course for university lecturers on Entrepreneur Skills; the Academic and Career Development Programme increased the number of participants compared to the previous year; the organisation of the 1st SEO PLUS Internet Conference (2015); the iDay celebration; two new editions of the YUZZ Alicante Programme, an initiative of Santander Universidades for start-up of business projects, which makes the University of Alicante a leading accelerator for entrepreneurial projects. The 100 Students, 20 Entrepreneurs Programmes is especially notable in that it allowed students and graduates to meet the leading businessmen in Alicante province, which was a great opportunity for our students to learn from successful business systems through labour market integration.
The Student Support Centre further improved the quality of their services, with the implementation of IT tools in the UACloud platform for the management of curricular adaptations and an application for mobile devices which improves accessibility for people with disabilities.
In the 2015/2016 academic year, despite the difficulties of external financing, student mobility increased as compared to the previous year, thanks in part to the University of Alicante mobility funding. The number of students in the national mobility programme (SICUE) was maintained and the number of students in the ERASMUS PLUS programme increased, with 513 UA students in the mobility programme this year. The number of incoming students also increased and our University received a total of 559 students within the ERASMUS PLUS programme. Thus, the University of Alicante becomes established as an attractive host university and the imbalance produced between outgoing students and incoming students decreased. Also, it should be noted that a wide survey among students who participate in our mobility programmes was carried out the past academic year, resulting in 70% of the incoming students qualified their academic and personal experience at the University of Alicante as "highly satisfactory".
In terms of non-European mobility, the number of stays rose by 35% compared to the previous academic year, with a total of 122 six-month stays. In this global internationalisation strategy, new agreements were signed with prestigious Universities from the 5 continents.
Regarding teaching staff and administrative staff mobility the UA’s-own programme for the promotion of the international relations remained standing, and within the framework of the ERASMUS PLUS programme, short stays were carried out in European Universities.
Also regarding internationalisation, the University of Alicante attended the NAFSA 2016 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.
Precisely in this strategy of internationalization and given the close links that the University of Alicante has always maintained with Ibero-America, it should be noted that the Ibero-American Campus of the University of Alicante was created in the past academic year to coordinate, promote and develop the actions that our University carries out in the Ibero-American field for training, research, knowledge transfer and cooperation. The University of Alicante thus becomes a benchmark for the Europe-Latin America axis.
In terms of research and knowledge transfer, we must emphasise that during the 2015/2016 academic year the University of Alicante invested around one and a half million euros for its own funding programme for research promotion through the strategic axis R&D+i. The 2016 call for funding increased its budget with more predoctoral training contracts and new actions, such as fellowships to contract PhD research staff and to retain talent.
In the field of R&D public projects, a total of 130 projects of around 5,300,000 euros for national programmes and 126 projects of over 2 and a half million euros in regional programmes were granted. In the field of R&D+i international projects, the Office for International Projects Management (OGPI) managed 85 project proposals submitted to 33 different European calls for applications, highlighting those submitted to Horizon 2020, the LIFE PLUS Programme and the ERASMUS PLUS Programme. Also, 9 agreements were signed with the European Commission, with a total funding of over 2 million euros for the University of Alicante. The OGPI also managed the execution of 60 international R&D+i projects, with the University of Alicante acting as the coordinating institution for six of them.
During the academic year 2015/2016, the University of Alicante Doctorate School carried out 28 PhD programmes. The number of PhD theses defended, compared to the previous academic year, doubled with a total of 314 PhD theses, of which 47 were awarded with international PhD endorsements. Eight international joint supervision agreements for PhD theses were signed and more mobility agreements were strengthened.
As for promotion of research and knowledge transfer, during the 2015/2016 academic year, the InnoUA corporate programme was kept going, with several actions that reinforced our approach to the business world, with special emphasis on our organised visiting programme to enterprises.
Some 600 agreements and research contracts were signed for an amount exceeding four million euros. We received 23 Spanish patent applications, 16 patents were registered internationally, 4 licences were signed and one new technology-based company was approved, maintaining an upward trend of our University in these activities.
Within the Valencia Region Framework Programme ‘Entrepreneurial and Innovative Campuses’, the University of Alicante coordinated the Patent and Knowledge Pool project, contributing 5 new technologies. On the other hand, together with the Office of the Vice President for Students, the first UA EMPRENDE LAB programme was launched in the 2015/2016 academic year, a training itinerary aimed at all those members of the university community that want to start a new business, covering all the areas involved in the start-up of a business project.
In the past academic year, the Publications Service increased its publications and sales, and new actions were developed, such as the publication of books through our educational collection L'Ordit and the ‘Biblioteca Germán Bernácer’ collection for economic, political and social studies was started.
The University of Alicante was firmly committed to information technologies with several actions, among which we can mention the following: the implementation of new procedures for electronic administration, with a considerable increase in procedures completed last year; the new UACloud applications, such as the Questionnaire/Survey tool, which allows the collection of information on line; the Smart University project, conceived to improve the quality of life of the university community members through sustainable, global and intensive use of information technologies; and the Vértice application, which serves as a channel for all the processes involved in the life cycle of Internet-based multimedia material.
It is also worth mentioning that the University of Alicante launched a new more intuitive, modern, and dynamic corporate website in December 2015 to make navigation easier and adapted to mobile devices.
In terms of Campus-related activities, other than continuing to work on the institutional project “Accessible Campus/Gender Equality Campus” and on the Healthy University, several actions were carried out for the development of the campus, such as the beginning of the urbanisation works of the expansion of the University, refurbishment works of the old Faculty of Education and the Polytechnic School (building 4) and the development of classrooms for specific purposes. Also, the UA new greenhouse at the Research Technical Services, the Faculty of Arts Map Library and the Faculty of Law Moot Courtroom were inaugurated.
A special mention of the new name given to the Faculty of Law graduation hall, which took the name of ‘Rector Martín Mateo’, as a memorial tribute to this great jurist and University of Alicante President from 1986 to 1994.
In the cultural arena, the creation of both the University of Alicante Dance Club and Choir, as well as the celebration of the 1st Greek and Latin Theatre Contest for High Schools, with the collaboration of the Alicante and Elche city councils. The Cultural Agenda, the celebration of La Alcudia Classical Theatre Festival, the summer activities on the Tabarca Island kept going last year, and so the numerous activities in the various university campuses, which were extended with the creation of 4 new campuses in Torrevieja, Dénia, Elda and Petrer. It is also noteworthy the creation of 8 UA off-campus culture halls in Altea, Benilloba, Guardamar de Segura, Monovar, Novelda, Orba, Pinoso and San Juan, which thus consolidate the presence of the University of Alicante all over the province.
As usual, 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 want to highlight the 72 medals in the Regional University Sports Championship and the 14 medals in Spain’s University Championship achieved by our students. The University of Alicante retained the gold medal for all categories within the 3rd University Orienteering Championship organised by the Vives Network As for the University of Alicante Federated Sports Section, the women's 5-a-side football team was ranked fourth in Spain’s premier league for the fourth year in a row. Our triathlon team won the Copa del Rey and the Spanish Relay Triathlon Championship for the second consecutive year. As for Rowing, Cristina Gandia won gold in the World Indoor Rowing Championship female category.
The University of Alicante strengthens its commitment to maintaining and creating corporate research chairs, which represent a permanent meeting point for debates with academicians, businessmen, institutions and students. During the past academic year, participation and funding was raised for the Balmis Research Chair in Vaccinology and for the Manuel Peláez Castillo Family Business Research Chair. The Telefónica - University of Alicante Research Chair was renewed with a new theme "Big Data Use and Applications", and the Interuniversity Research Chair Ontinyent City Council, Caja Ontinyent and Eset was created for the innovation and setting of smart spaces; and the Enric Valor Research Chair, with the town councils of Altea and Castalla were created.
Also worth mentioning is the number of agreements signed last academic year: a total of 992, distributed between internship agreements, national and international agreements.
In terms of development and regulatory updates, with the participation of several vice presidents’ offices and units, the University of Alicante approved its Regulations on Transparency, its Curriculum Adaptation Regulations, its Learning Assessment Regulations, its Language Use Regulations and the Automated Administrative Action Regulations. It is also necessary to point out the commissioning of the University of Alicante Transparency Portal, and all the advances in electronic administration.
The University of Alicante, strongly committed to promoting both the principle of equality between women and men and the eradication of gender violence, boosted the campaign “Cutting out stereotypes. Silhouettes against gender violence”. Training and awareness-raising activities such as the Volunteering against Gender Violence, the Course on Identification, Prevention and Intervention against Gender Violence and the second edition of the GigabytGirl Campus must be also highlighted. In November, the fourth edition of the contest Tweets against Gender Violence was started. Also, the 2016 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 University of Alicante special awards of the previous academic course were presented.
Going on with awards and merits, we are pleased to recall the presentation of the Maisonnave Award to Mr. Juan Antonio García Solera, a posthumous award of the University of Alicante Golden Laurel to Mr. Ricardo Senabre Sempere, and the inauguration of the following as honorary doctors by our University: Mr. Julio María Sanguinetti Coirolo, sponsored by Prof José Manuel Canales Aliende; Mr. Giuseppe Zaccaria, sponsored by Carlos Barciela López and Mónica Martí Sempere; Mr. Stephen Greenblatt, sponsored by José Manuel González Fernández de Sevilla; and Mrs. María Felisa Verdeo Maíllo, sponosred by Manuel Martínez Barco.
We are also pleased to note that the University of Alicante received the Cooperation Award for the Havana Project in February 2016, in the 10th Awards ceremony of the International Cultural Centre for Heritage Conservation (CICOP) Foundation. Additionally, the Valencia Royal Academy of Medicine awarded the Medal of Honour to the University of Alicante for the actions taking to implement the operation of the Faculty of Medicine in Alicante and the area of Health Sciences.
Finally, the academic year closing ceremony took place on 1 June 2016, with the inauguration of the new doctors and the awarding of merits from the University of Alicante.
Today, we want to pay a special tribute to all the members of our university community who passed away last year:
- José Emilio García Galiana, administrative staff member,
- Ricardo Regalado Tesoro, Social Council member,
- Lecturer María del Mar Ruiz Martínez,
- and Emeritus Professor Antonio Aldaz Riera.
I would like to end by expressing my gratitude to the entire university community for making possible the activities that have been summarised in this condensed annual report of 2015/2016 academic year. Thanks to their work, effort and dedication, everything I have recounted here has been possible. And everything will be possible with their renewed commitment and firm intention to achieve new and greater success for this academic year that we have begun, whose first pages and whose first pages we have already started writing today.
Thank you so much.
Universidad de Alicante
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Tel: (+34) 96 590 3484Fax: (+34) 96 590 3464