The ICE's HERITAGE AND LANGUAGE STRATEGIC AREA was established to strengthen the international projection of three areas of knowledge:Prehistory, Heritage and the Spanish Language with special emphasis on the contribution of the aggregates to each one of these lines.
The Prehistory area has the International Institute of Prehistoric Research (IIIPC) as its fundamental driving force; it is a joint centre that has achieved the expected results in terms of increasing its scientific productivity (significantly high compared to its size: 232.28%).
Between 2009 and 2014, it published 120 articles, defended 6 doctoral theses and increased research funding, obtaining approximately €1.6M. As a representative sample, four of the last articles published by IIIPC researchers in 2013 have appeared in international journals, all of them in the first decile of their fields (according to SCIMAGO SJR) and in August 2014, the journal Nature discussed a study in which members of the institute had participated.
Unit associated to CSIC, with which it will implement the "Doctorate Programme in Prehistoric Archaeology" in 2014/2015, the IIIPC is present in 7 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Latin America and has a demonstrated high rate of success in attracting talent, with 4 researchers in calls for excellence, one IP with a Marie Curie Integration Grant (2nd best grade in Europe in 2012) and finalist for the ERC Grants.
IIIPC headquarters are still located in UC's Las Llamas campus although it will have a delegation in the future Museum of Prehistory and Archaeology (MUPAC), which depends on the Government of Cantabria. Lastly, IIIPC maintains an active relation with its territorial environment, given its contribution to the conservation and enhanced value of the region's archaeological heritage (Ten caves in Cantabria have been declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO), participating, for instance, in the international research project to reopen the Altamira Caves.
Today, with a ten-year history, the IIIPC is a consolidated and competitive centre, but it must continue growing. As such, at the end of 2013, a reorganisation process was begun to improve the centre's competitiveness, maintaining quality and internationalisation, in consonance with the Research and Innovation Strategy for Smart Specialisation of Cantabria (iCan).
HISPANIC LANGUAGE AND CULTURE
With regards to teaching in the field of Hispanic language and culture, in collaboration with the Comillas Foundation, an International Centre for Higher Spanish Studies (CIESE-Comillas) was created and consolidated, a centre affiliated to UC since 2010 and renovated in June 2013.
With its headquarters in a singular building, symbol of Cantabria's modernist heritage, CIESE-Comillas has developed its official teaching offer entirely during the ICE's period of implementation. The offer includes a new Graduate degree in Hispanic Studies in 2011/2012, along with an internationalised postgraduate offer, including the Master's Degree in Teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language (ELE Master's), accredited as an official degree in the 2013/2014 academic year and with increasing demand (that required a request to ANECA to expand the class to 50 students). Last, the Specialisation Course in ELE, offered completely online, completed its II edition with students from Poland, Colombia, Brazil, Bulgaria and Spain.
The centre works constantly on the international dissemination of its programmes, including marketing actions in the US, Russia, China and various European countries, achieving a progressive increase in student registration. At the same time, in 2013, the Comillas Foundation defined an ambitious catalogue of Hispanic language and culture courses, as well as the Spanish language training offer in professional contexts, consolidating itself and becoming an accredited DELE examination centre in May 2013 and accredited Centre for Teaching Spanish by the Cervantes Institute in November of that same year.
SPANISH LANGUAGE RESEARCH
In terms of Spanish Language research, since the creation of the Comillas Chair in November 2009, CIC has focused on consolidating the seed for a Joint Institute in the Humanities area, with contribution from the implementation of the AGL talent recruitment project. Because this is an ambitious project in the medium term, progress has been made in the development of various research, training and dissemination activities with significant impact through the Comillas Chair. These can be summarised by the following milestones: 3 editions of the Eulalio Ferrer Chair of Human and Social Sciences; 3 editions of the Eulalio Ferrer International Awards, with presence at UC of the prestigious sociologist Tzvetan Todorov in 2013; the development of 3 editions of the Interdisciplinary Seminar on Comparative Studies Southern Europe and Latin America (with researchers from Spain, Italy, Portugal, Argentina, Brazil and Mexico), as well as numerous scientific publications and meetings. Among the most significant actions of the Comillas Chair are the 5 mobility visits of internationally prestigious researchers in Hispanic Language and Culture in 2013/2014, including professionals from important centres like the University of California. Lastly, the "Comillas Research Group" was created and has increased scientific production by 20% between 2009 and 2013.
In the Heritage area (B2.43), UC works in collaboration with the Botín Foundation, the aggregate with which the Master's in Emotional, Social and Creative Education has been consolidated since 2011. This a degree that is unique to UC on an international level, as it offers the possibility of obtaining two degrees, Graduate and Master's, and significantly tied to the implementation of the Botín Centre.
In addition, in December 2013, the Cantabrian Heritage Ontology Project 3.0 was finalised after three years, digitalising close to 200,000 materials that constitute the base for future dissemination of Cantabria's historic and cultural heritage.
Additionally, the Heritage and Territory Programme has continued, with the comprehensive study on the Nansa Valley, cited as a reference by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Last, the aggregation of the Menéndez Pelayo Royal Society in January 2013 has generated, among other initiatives, the publication of the results of the international project on "The Iberian School of Peace – Critical Conscience in the Conquest and Colonisation of America" in collaboration with UIMP and the University of Lisbon.