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IEB Report 2/2021 addresses the debate on university reform

Spain has 1.3 million undergraduates and nearly 240,000 master’s degree students. Each year 208,000 undergraduates and 127,000 master’s students complete their studies. In research, higher education accounts for 26.6% of the total internal expenditure on R&D and provides 46.3% of researchers; as for scientific publications, between 2015 and 2019 the university generated close to 60% of the Spanish total. Many studies have shown that the productivity of the university system contributes significantly to increasing the country’s economic activity and to reducing unemployment.

For all these reasons, the university system as a whole requires specific recognition. To indicate where the reforms in this field might be directed, the IEB has prepared a new Report, IEB Report 2/2021, coordinated on this occasion by Martí Parellada, professor at the University of Barcelona (UB). In addition to Professor Parellada’s comprehensive and detailed presentation, the Report contains three other major contributions. The first is by Andreu Mas-Colell, professor at Pompeu Fabra University, which analyses the future scenarios facing universities and proposes three models: the pure virtual university, the pure research university, and the pure “College of Liberal Arts”.

The second article, by the UB professor Oriol Escardíbul, deals with the current restrictions that Spanish public universities face in relation to both financing models and human resources management. The last article deals with the issue of university governance in Germany; its authors are Frank Ziegele and Frederic Kunkel, researchers at the Centre for Higher Education in Gütersloh.