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Spain: New Minister of Education to map out universities’ strengths

On 25 June, a month after suffering heavy losses in regional elections, and only a few months shy of the general elections (to be held in December 2015 at the latest), Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy named a new Minister for Education, Culture and Sports: Íñigo Méndez de Vigo, who takes over the post from the widely unpopular José Ignacio Wert. 
Earlier this month, Méndez de Vigo announced his “first great project” as Minister:   The creation of a “knowledge map” of Spanish universities to identify the strongest “knowledge and scientific areas” of each higher education institution. This exercise will serve a double purpose: First, to showcase Spanish higher education institutions as leaders in teaching and research across the disciplines, boosting their international attractiveness; secondly, to serve as a guide for prospective students looking for particular strengths (teaching quality or research impact, for instance).
Little is yet known about this project, including whether or not it will function as a ranking (although thus far it sounds like it might bear some resemblance to U-Multirank in its multi-focal approach).  Méndez de Vigo did however hint at three axes his “knowledge map” might be built around: Graduate employability, potential for research innovation, and potential to attract international talent. With little time to prove himself before the possible re-shuffling of the cabinet, Méndez de Vigo will be pressed to get his “knowledge map” up and going. We will be curious to see what it ends up looking like, and what value it might add to the international attractiveness of Spanish universities.
Press release (Spanish Ministry of Education)