The project culminates with a final report by the OECD on improving the contribution to development by the universities of Catalonia.
A reflection exercise has been promoted, with the collaboration of international experts, on the contribution of universities to regional development
The study on the contribution of Catalan universities to regional development, promoted by the OECD, aims to improve the contribution of higher education centres to the economic, social and cultural progress of their respective territories and contribute in turn to strengthen relationships between universities and economic and social agents.
The Reviews of Higher Education in Regional and City Development programme began in Catalonia in 2008 and will culminate in late 2010. During these two years, the regions that have participated have, under the supervision of international experts, reflected upon the contribution of universities to regional development. Among the regions that, like Catalonia, have undergone this exercise are the cities of Berlin and Amsterdam, the regions of Veracruz (Mexico), Victoria (Australia) and Lombardy (Italy).
The project, which involved the ACUP and other Catalan universities in collaboration with the City of Barcelona, Barcelona Metropolitan Strategic Plan, the Generalitat de Catalunya and the Fundación Conocimiento y Desarrollo (CyD) was structured in two phases. The first consisted of a self-evaluation report which analysed the relationship channels between universities and society through the work they carry out in teaching, research and knowledge transfer. The self-evaluation report of Catalonia was directed by the Catalonia Steering Committee, the members of which are Rectors and Presidents of the Social Councils of universities, representatives of the institutions involved as well as other Catalan institutions, members of business associations and social agents. The document was approved by this committee in early February 2010 and was sent to international experts at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) as a starting point for international evaluation.
In early March, a delegation from the OECD visited Catalonia with the mission of carrying out an in-depth analysis of the impact of Catalan universities on Catalonia’s development. This immersion was carried out through several meetings with key actors of Catalan society, on site visits to universities and interviews with members of the university community. The team was composed by three representatives from the OECD, Jaana Puukka, Karen Maguire and Ernesto Flores; experts Susan Christopherson from Cornell University (USA), Ellen Hazelkorn from Dublin Institute of Technology (Ireland), José-Ginés Mora Ruiz from the University of London (UK) and Maria Helena Nazaré from the Universidade de Aveiro (Portugal). In the second phase of the project, this team worked on the preparation of a report that, based on the current situation, has made several recommendations to improve the contribution of universities to the social, economic and cultural life of Catalonia. The paper is intended to be made public during the last quarter of 2010 and the recommendations and analysis contained therein will also serve as material for the preparation of the study of impacts of the University of Catalonia on society.The project has been coordinated in Catalonia by Josep M. Vilalta (ACUP) and Marti Parellada (CyD Foundation). The drafting of the self-evaluation report of Catalonia has been coordinated by José García-Quevedo.