Education is one of the government’s strategic priorities and considered to be essential to the region's economic and social development. So it is not surprising that there are 12 universities, offering over 1,050 different degrees and masters, 17 international schools and Barcelona is home to two of the world’s most prestigious business schools -ESADE and IESE-, ranked among the Europe's top ten, according to leading economic publications.
The Times Higher Education has ranked the Catalan university system the 3rd best in Europe, behind the Netherlands and Switzerland. A sign of the educational excellence found here is the number of international students who come to Catalonia to pursue their studies in a wide variety of disciplines.
The Catalan government promotes a high level of university research related activity as well as exchange programmes for researchers on a European and global level. Proof of the good research results is the fact that Catalonia represents 3% of the European Research Area and concentrates 67% of the financial aid given by the ERC (European Research Council) to Spain (2015). Between 2007 and 2016, Catalonia has recieved 30 ERC grants per million inhabitants, ranking 4th in the European Research Area (ERA) and 2nd in the EU (Source: Biocat, 2016)