Navarra's S3 aims to strengthen university-business cooperation, acknowledging its importance for regional knowledge transfer and innovation. One concrete measure in the policy mix is an Industrial PhD programme. Like other similar programmes, doctoral students receive funding to develop their research within a company or R&D institute. This includes a percentage of a salary with social security (which is higher for SMEs and female students), university matriculation fees, as well as travel and subsistence costs. Funding over three full years ensures helps to ensure PhD completion and provides stability for both student and employer. However, what makes Navarra's programme different is that the criteria to assess project proposals include relevance to S3 priorities. Three calls for proposals launched since 2017 have resulted in 35 ongoing industrial doctorates that cover many of the S3 priorities.
While it is too early to assess their impact, demand from both companies and students has been very high. Naturally there are challenges that need to be overcome, especially a culture clash between academia and industry), pre-conceived ideas of doctoral students' added value within the company or reluctance to introduce highly qualified personnel in case it creates managerial competition. However, the programme shows a clear commitment to the longer term development of the region's S3 priorities by building highly skilled human capital.