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HomeInformationLow rates of Spanish PhD workers in the private sector
Only half of OECD average

Low rates of Spanish PhD workers in the private sector

Giulia Colombo
A new study reveals that in Spain there is a low average number of PhDs and just a small percentage work in the private sector. This affects R&D developments. Consequently the social and government councils are proposing changes in the doctoral programs to push PHDs in the public and private sector.

The study, developed by professors at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M), is titled "El empleo de los doctores en España y su relación con la I+D+i y los estudios de doctorado" ("Employment of Ph.D.s in Spain and its relation to R+D+I and doctoral studies").

The report revealst that only a 68.6% of Spanish PhD´s are employed, a number that confirms the trend in OECD countries. By institutional sectors: around 80% of PhD´s works in higher education while 20% work in the private sector.
According to OECD figures, in innovative countries like the United States, Korea and Japan the 75% of researchers have a job in the private sector. So, it is deduced that countries with more private investment play a more important role in the area of innovation. In these cases, the business sector is the main source of R&D funding, with an investment that accounts for about 75%. In contrast, in 2009, only 43.4% of Spain’s R&D spending was financed by the private sector. One of the main obstacles for the Spanish investment in R&D and, therefore, to promote the absorption of a greater number of doctors in the private sector is the funding models of R&D. 


The study was been presented this week at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) with a round table discussion about the study that brought together a great number of experts. For Cristina Garmendia, former Minister of Science and Innovation and new president of Cotecit is necessary to make progress “on the cooperation of systems, open innovation, initiative within the companies themselves and recognizing the importance of people, who are more important than organizations, so that effort on R&D ends up increasing competitiveness.”


The social and government councils of Spanish universities knows that it is necessary that the private sector invests more in research, so they are proposing many changes in their doctoral programs. They want to incorporate the private sector in the of their doctoral studies, as well as to strengthen cooperation between public and private institutions in the design of doctoral studies. 

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