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Catalan public universities make €15.7m in revenue a day

New study reveals positive impact by institutions of higher education on business and society in Catalonia

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20 November 2017 05:27 PM

by

ACN | Barcelona

Catalonia’s public universities generate 12.4 million euros every day, a figure that rises to 15.7 million if research is also included. That works out as a return of 402 euros of GDP for every 100 euros spent on Catalonia’s public universities. The figures come from the first study by the Catalan Association of Public Universities (ACUP, in Catalan).

The association argues that Catalonia’s public university system has had a positive socio-economic impact in recent years, despite the economic crisis. Apart from the healthy finances, the association also argues that there is less unemployment and higher salaries among university graduates.

The study estimates that in 2015, each euro spent on public universities generated a four-euro profit, accounting for 1.7% of Catalan GDP. Universities also generate 1.7 billion euros in tax, outstripping the 800 million euros of government funding. Meanwhile, universities pay out over two billion euros in salaries, and directly or indirectly provide work for 60,000 people.

Role of universities goes the academic

ACUP insists that the figures have been “underestimated” in order to make them as realistic as possible. The aim of the study is to show that universities have a role that goes beyond the purely academic, and that they have a great impact on business and wider society. Among the positive impacts highlighted by the report is the advantage for graduates in the job market.

At the same time, the study sees plenty of room for improvement in universities in the area of entrepreneurship. The report also finds that the university system needs to improve its management of patents, as well as the transfer of knowledge from research to the industrial sector.  

ACUP vice president, Josep Anton Planell, points out that the figures, which are from 2015, show that the Catalan university system “has survived” the crisis, which has been marked by reduced funding. He added that “with a good strategy and good planning,” the impact would be even more positive, because the effects shown by the study are ''incontrovertible''.

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  • The president of ACUP, Sergi Bonet, with representatives from the SEPC and the UdG Student Council, during the 17 November press conference in 2016 (by Tania Tapia)