UNIVERSITY OF CANTABRIA – ACTIVITIES & CAPACITIES
The University Cantabria (UC) is a young modern public institution whose main purpose is to contribute to social progress through a firm commitment to teaching and scientific excellence. This concern has led to the UC being firmly committed to quality in its work, a commitment put into practice via a process of constant review and improvement of all its teaching, research and administrative activities. UC is now considered one of the ten best universities in Spain with regards to quality and scientific productivity ranking second place in scientific quality for Standard Impact according to the prestigious SCImago report 2014 with an index of 1.57 and a total of 4,363 articles.
The UC has around 14,000 students and more than 2,000 staff members. Within the 31 departments there are more than 100 research groups whose research activities cover the most varied aspects of the sciences and arts, and in the fields of both fundamental and applied research.
Teaching and research in the UC involves a permanent programme of enrichment activities with an international dimension. In a constant effort to open frontiers, the University has signed 216 agreements with European Universities (Erasmus programme), 64 with Latin-American institutions, 8 with universities in the United States and 1 with an Australian university, sending and receiving more than 600 exchange students within this framework. The UC is a member of both national and international university networks such as the Group 9 of Universities, the Santander Group, the EUA, the CEURI, CRUE, Compostela Group, AUIP and CINDA.
The UC has developed adequate technical capacity and skills and is endowed with a strong institutional support to take advantage of the existing strategic partners to improve and transfer some of its innovative initiatives to other partners and to create new alliances with business and institutions. The know-how in working with strategic partners is guaranteed, among others, by the Cornell Cantabria Programme in Engineering (2011 Heiskell Award Honorable in the category Best Practices in International Partnerships) and the International Master in Banking and Finance Markets delivered in Morocco (Université Hassan II) and México (U. Anahúac e I.T Monterrey) in collaboration with Santander Bank. Both projects link mobility and cooperation and contribute to capacity building of the partner universities.
The UC collaborates closely and on a permanent basis with enterprises, government and institutions in order to develop projects and studies of many different kinds, all of which require a high degree of specialization and competence. It has been involved in 20 FP6 projects in different thematic areas. Today, UC is participating in more than 30 FP7 projects in different thematic areas and in other European projects such as the Territorial Cooperation Programme (INTERREG IVB – SUDOE and ATLANTIC AREA).
Concerning IT platforms and virtual mobility, the UC is in a good position to design and participate in international projects since it already counts with an IT common platform with other Spanish universities of the G9 network and delivers an array of courses open to students from the nine universities. It also supports virtual teaching in general in order to provide its staff with training and monitoring on the use of new technologies for teaching, creation of graphic and multimedia resources and the development of Open educational Resources such as an ‘Open Courseware’ portal.
Due to its size and for operational reasons, the UC has developed a centralized organizational scheme to manage European and international mobility. A well-established and staffed IRO, dependent on the Vice-rectorate for Internationalization, coordinates all bilateral and multi-lateral MoUs with foreign universities. It is responsible for the administrative managing and monitoring of mobility and works in close collaboration with a stable network of academic coordinators, officially appointed by each Faculty of School, as well as with the rest of the university central services. The IRO organizes all stages of the mobility processes both for outbound and inbound students, teaching and administrative staff and researchers (EURAXESS), provides for administrative and service support and is in charge of promotion and information dissemination.
The UC is committed to providing its students with an education that presents them with an education that presents them with interesting employment opportunities. In order to achieve this goal it works closely together with regional businesses through the Vice-rectorate of Students, Employment and Employability and promotes its links to businesses through the International Campus of Excellence and the UC-Business-Forum.
UC emphasizes its commitment to student’s employability and entrepreneurship within its Strategic Policy Plan led by the Vice-Rectorate for Students, Employability and Entrepreneurship and offers a broad range of services through its specialized centers.
The Santander International Entrepreneurship Centre (CISE) was born within the International Campus of Excellence and supports the University in promoting an entrepreneurial culture among students, researchers, lecturers and administration personnel of the UC. The CISE also manage support, training and research programs at national level aimed at boosting an entrepreneurial culture and skills in society. CISE will be the organization leading this project within the UC.
The Career and Employment Center (COIE) focuses on providing students and graduates with guidance and support regarding employment opportunities, organizes training activities on professional skills development, manages job offers and traineeships, coordinates employability programs, and organizes the UC Entrepreneur Awards (UCem).
The Students Guidance System (SOUCAN) promotes access of prospective students to the UC and provides guidance and support to enrolled students throughout their university studies. It also provides psychological support and council for students with difficulties.
The UC-Business Forum aims at establishing long-term collaborations between local businesses, the university and society as a whole. It creates, promotes and strengthens close relationships with local businesses through cooperation agreements, and promotes employment opportunities for universities graduates and knowledge transfer between university and businesses.
As mentioned before the Santander International Entrepreneurship Centre (CISE) aims at promoting an entrepreneurial culture and supports young entrepreneurs through its training and research programs. CISE will be leading this project. It was established in 2012 by the UC, the Regional Government of Cantabria and Santander Bank and has since managed to lead successfully:
- the “e2 Student x Entrepreneur” an STARTinnova programs, both activities aim at vocational training students and university students (more than 500 students per year) who want to develop transferable skills and competences, based on the interdisciplinary integration of student and entrepreneurs which enables heterogeneous contributions and interactions during the development of their own ideas and projects.
- a national-wide project that supports more than 1.000 young entrepreneurs throughout Spain (YUZZ) in cooperation with more than 50 public and private institutions and universities in the current edition,
- developed training programs on innovation and entrepreneurship for more than 2,000 SMEs on a national scale (Santander Avance),
- to lead the national network of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor in Spain (GEM), to design and implement the successful double-degree Master on Entrepreneurship at the UC and organized train-the-trainer courses for university lecturers and businesses through the Babson Symposium in 2011 and 2013.
The UC also counts on adhered centers like the Leonardo Torres Quevedo Foundation whose main objective is to promote and disseminate scientific and technical research and to support relevant high-quality training of researchers. It also supports the Center for Technology Transfer Development at the UC (CDTUC), the first Scientific and Technology Park of Cantabria (1999) that provides offices spaces and expert training for technological start-up companies and promotes collaboration agreements between research groups and companies. CDTUC activities in business incubation and acceleration allowed UC to become a member of RedEmprendia, an international network of universities that promotes spin-offs creation.
Rafael Ruiz Bada. MSc Civil Engineering. Director of Innovation at CISE (2013-present). Co-Organizer of Santander Startup Europe Week (2016). Project Manager at Cantabria International Campus at UC (2010–2013). Risk Prevention Manager at Maldonado Constructions S. L. (2001 – 2003). Instructor and mentor FIFA in the Regional Committee of Football Referees. Innovation and Entrepreneurship expert.