Mexico strengthening higher education in support of innovation in Nuevo León

Nuevo León hosts a number of quality higher education institutions, some of which frequently appear at the top of both national and international rankings. With such a strong educational base, the state is able to advance research and development (R&D) and innovation, bringing with it numerous benefits for the development of the local economy.

Top Of The Class

Nuevo León has a strong set of higher education institutions, one of which – the Autonomous University of Nuevo León ( Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León, UANL) – is public and three of which – the Technological Institute of Higher Studies of Monterrey (Instituto Tecnológico de Estudios Superiores, ITESM), the University of Monterrey (Universidad de Monterrey, UDEM) and the Regiomontana University – are private.

The first three rank among the top-50 universities in the country. ITESM in Nuevo León, more informally known as TEC Monterrey, maintained its second-place ranking in a 2016 survey of Mexico’s top-50 universities, which is published on an annual basis by the local press outlet El Economista together with América Economía.

ITESM came second in the survey overall, scoring 66.64 out of 100 points in the quality index, while the National Autonomous University of Mexico, a public research university in Mexico City, and the largest in Latin America, retained its poll position, scoring 89.51 points for quality. Other universities in Nuevo León improved their ranking. UANL came in fifth, up one place compared to 2015, posting 48.05 points on the quality index, while UDEM climbed one position into 49th, with 20.91 points for quality.

Expansion At The Top

In addition to high-quality universities, the state is also working to expand education at the post-graduate level. In 2016 the National Council of Science and Technology (Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología, CONACYT) moved Nuevo León into the top group of federal states in Mexico for supporting post-graduate CONACYT students, alongside Morelos, Baja California, Querétaro, Sonora, Coahuila de Zaragoza, Ciudad de México, Jalisco, Guanajuato, Estado de México and Puebla.

This is a significant improvement from 2015, when Nuevo León ranked 9th, with 119 CONACYT scholars for every 100,000 post-graduate students. Progress has also been seen in the number of researchers registered in the National Research System (Sistema Nacional de Investigadores, SNI). Indeed, for every 100,000 economically active people in 2014, Nuevo León had 0.37 SNI researchers, up from 0.11 in 1998, moving from 11th to 9th in state-level rankings.

Funding Research

Nuevo León has access to a variety of funding instruments in support of R&D and innovation. The Technological Innovation Programme for Higher Added Value Businesses, Pioneering Technologies and Business Competitiveness is key in this context. From 2009 to 2015 Nuevo León developed up to 65 projects through the scheme.

Building Up Infrastructure

The development of key infrastructure is also helping to further the advancement of R&D and innovation. Nuevo León already has a total of 101 public and private R&D centres, 10 traditional incubators and five high-impact incubators. It has also recently built the Research, Technology and Innovation Park (Parque de Investigación, Innovación y Tecnología, PIIT) – the first of its kind in the state since 2007.

As of 2016 PIIT was home to 28 R&D centres and two incubators for nanotechnology and biotechnology. “During the first stage of development our operations are meant to cover an area of around 70 ha,” Luis Cárdenas, director of innovation, new businesses, and scientific and technological infrastructure at the Institute of Innovation and Technology Transfer, located in PIIT, told OBG, “Pending government approval of funding for urban development, the park should expand by an additional 40 ha.”


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