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Spanish National Research Council

Spanish National Research Council
Agency overview
Formed November 24, 1939
Preceding agency
  • Junta de Ampliación de Estudios (JAE)
Jurisdiction Spain
Headquarters Serrano 117. 28006 Madrid
Agency executive
  • Emilio Lora Tamayo, President

The Spanish National Research Council (Spanish: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, CSIC) is the largest public institution dedicated to research in Spain and the third largest in Europe. Its main objective is to develop and promote research that will help bring about scientific and technological progress, and it is prepared to collaborate with Spanish and foreign entities in order to achieve this aim.

CSIC plays an important role in scientific and technological policy, since it encompasses an area that takes in everything from basic research to the transfer of knowledge to the productive sector. Its research is driven by its centres and institutes, which are spread across all the autonomous regions. CSIC has 6% of all the staff dedicated to Research and Development in Spain, and they generate approximately 20% of all scientific production in the country.[1] It also manages a range of important facilities; the most complete and extensive network of specialist libraries, and also has joint research units.


  • Origins 1
  • Duties 2
  • Scientific-technical areas 3
  • Large facilities 4
  • Research centres 5
  • Literature 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


The CSIC was created in 1939 by the recently victorious Francoist regime from the assets of the Junta para la Ampliación de Estudios (JAE) (1907–1939), born within the Institución Libre de Enseñanza and inspired in the Krausist philosophy. The initial mandate of the CSIC was to restore the classical and christian unity of the sciences that was destroyed in the 18th century ("la restauración de la clásica y cristiana unidad de las ciencias destruida en el siglo XVIII").[2][3] From its 1939 foundation to his 1966 death, its head was José María Albareda, one of the first members of the Opus Dei and a close friend of Josemaría Escrivá, who was ordained a priest in 1959. He was succeeded by Manuel Lora-Tamayo, then the Education minister of Franco.


CSIC's central building, in Madrid.

According to the Statute’s article 5 of CSIC State Agency,[4] the current objectives and functions of the CSIC are:

  • To carry out scientific and technological research and help to encourage such research, where relevant.
  • To transfer the results of scientific and technological research to public and private institutions.
  • To provide scientific-technical services to the General State Administration and public and private institutions.
  • To boost the creation of technologically based entities and companies.
  • To help create entities with the ability to oversee the transfer and evaluation of technology.
  • To train researchers.
  • To train experts by means of highly specialised courses.
  • To promote scientific culture in society.
  • To manage scientific-technical facilities to be used by the scientific research and technological development system.
  • To participate in international organs and bodies, as requested by the Ministry of Education and Science (the CSIC state agency currently belongs to the Ministry of Science and Innovation).
  • To participate in national organs and bodies, as requested by the Ministry of Education and Science (the CSIC state agency currently belongs to the Ministry of Science and Innovation).
  • To participate in designing and implementing the scientific and technological policies of the Ministry of Education and Science (the CSIC state agency currently belongs to the Ministry of Science and Innovation).
  • To collaborate with other national and international institutions in the promotion and transfer of science and technology, as well as in the creation and development of scientific and technological research centres, institutes and units.
  • To collaborate with universities in scientific research and technological development activities and in postgraduate education.
  • To inform, attend and advise public and private entities on science and technology issues.
  • To train experts in science and technology management.
  • To collaborate in updating the science and technology knowledge skills of non-university teachers.
  • To support the execution of the sectorial policies defined by the General State Administration, by preparing technical studies or through applied research activities.
  • Any other scientific promotion and technological research actions assigned to it by applicable legislation or as commissioned by the Government.

Scientific-technical areas

Its multidisciplinary and multisectorial nature means CSIC covers all fields of knowledge. Its activity is organised around eight scientific-technical areas:

  • Area 1. humanities and social sciences [16]
  • Area 2. biology and biomedicine [17]
  • Area 3. natural resources [18]
  • Area 4. agricultural sciences [19]
  • Area 5. physical science and technologies [20]
  • Area 6. materials science and technology [21]
  • Area 7. food science and technology [22]
  • Area 8. chemical science and technology [23]

Large facilities

CSIC provides services to the entire scientific community through management of the Singular Scientific and Technological Infrastructures (ICTS) recognised by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation: these are unique or exceptional facilities involving relatively high investment and maintenance costs in relation to R&D investment budgets in their field. The whole science community and society at large can have access to them, which is justified by their importance and strategic nature, and for this reason they receive each year many national as well as foreign researchers. The importance and scientific and social repercussion of these large facilities is recognised and supported by the European Union.

CSIC administers the following Spanish ICTS:

  • Calar Alto Astronomical Observatory [24]
  • Doñana Reserve - Biological Station [25]
  • Hespérides Ocean Research Vessel [26]
  • Juan Carlos I Antarctic Base [27]
  • Sarmiento de Gamboa Ocean Research Vessel [28]
  • The Integrated Micro and Nanofabrication Clean Room at the Microelectronics Institute of Barcelona [29]

And the Spanish participation in two large European facilities:

Research centres

CSIC has a number of specialised research centres carrying out research in several fields:


  • Carlos Martinez Alonso: Re-founding the Spanish National Research Council: New Methods, New Culture, in: Max-Planck-Forum 7 : Perspectives of Research - Identification and Implementation of Research Topics by Organizations (Ringberg-Symposium Mai 2006), S. 59-70, ISSN 1438-8715


  1. ^ "Comparecencia del Director General del CSIC, ante el Congreso de los Diputados, para informar sobre el funcionamiento y los resultados del CSIC y su aportación a la investigación" (PDF). 
  2. ^ "La ciencia que desmanteló Franco". 
  3. ^ "El CSIC se olvida de su herencia franquista". 
  4. ^ "Real Decreto 1730/2007 de 21 de diciembre por el que se crea la Agencia Estatal Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas y se aprueba su Estatuto". 

External links

  • CSIC
  • Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation
  • CSIC Library Network
  • Revistas CSIC, Scientific journals published by
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