major turnaround in higher education
. Mercedes Cabrera will still be the Spanish education minister, but responsibility for higher education was moved to the newly created Ministry of Science and Innovation (Ciencia e Innovaci?n) headed by Cristina Garmendia, who has a marked entrepreneurial background – she heads the company Genetrix, a successful biotechnology firm involved in stem-cell research. Garmendia’s personal background is exemplary of the aim the new ministry hopes to achieve, i.e. to create synergies between Spanish higher education and research and the private sector.
The socialist government hopes not only to sharpen the profile of Spanish research, but also to bolster the technological potential of the Spanish economy with this move. Garmendia herself solemnly proclaimed in her first official statement that she would turn her ministry into "one of the motors of the economy".
Whether this step is more than a fashion statement and whether it will be beneficial for both universities and industry in Spain remains to be seen. Before 2004, when María Jesús San Segundo took over the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, research was
the responsibility of a different ministry, that of Science and Technology.
Spanish Ministry of Education and Science
The Spanish premier José Luis Zapatero presented his new cabinet on April 12. What at first glance looked like continuity turned out to be a