A very important role of the UGR, as we say in our strategic plan, is: “Shared commitment to shared development”. We believe in the concept of eco-innovation systems led by the university, and understand the university as a key agent of knowledge connected with their territory.
The University of Granada is already the Spanish university with the greatest impact on its local environment measured in terms of provincial GDP. The province of Granada accounts for 2.5% of Spain in terms of surface area, almost 2% of the population and only 1.4% of the national GDP; however, the University of Granada accounts for approximately 4% of all scientific production in Spain.
The economic impact of the University, in a conservative estimate, is 4.7% of the province’s GDP. Thus, the University is one of the most productive Spanish universities in terms of research in a local environment with one of the lowest GDPs.
After only the universities of the large cities of Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia, the University is the top institution in scientific production, in a context which is very different to that of the large cities, with much fewer resources; this makes the University of Granada one of the most efficient. In turn this explains why the University is so enormously important in its local context and the huge potential it shows as a key agent in the future development of the province and surrounding regions.
There has been a clear shift in recent times on the part of research funding institutions of all kinds towards addressing the grand societal challenges of today, often promoting a multi- or interdisciplinary approach which is clearly needed if we are to find sustainable solutions to extremely complex problems.
The organization of our own research has also undergone a shift in this same direction with the setting up of research institutes centred on challenges rather than disciplines (a few examples are our Institutes for Water, for Nutrition, for Women’s Studies, for the Mind, Brain and Behaviour). The UGR is active in many of the grand societal challenges, and welcomes a shift which will hopefully allow leading research universities to sustain more long-term, fundamental, and curiosity-driven research, with less emphasis on short-term outcomes.
We further believe that it is important for universities to be heard in the design and development of research policy. The University of Granada participates actively in consultation rounds regionally and nationally, and at European level through the Coimbra Group network of leading research universities, of which the UGR is an active member.