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Spanish National Research Council

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Spanish National Research Council

Agency overview
FormedNovember 24, 1939; 84 years ago (1939-11-24)
Preceding agency
  • Board for Advanced Studies and Scientific Research (1907–1939)
HeadquartersSerrano 117. 28006 Madrid
Employees14,838 (2023)[1]
Annual budget 1.39 billion, 2022[2]
Agency executive
  • María Eloísa del Pino Matute, President
Parent departmentMinistry of Science

The Spanish National Research Council[3] (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.[4] It also manages a range of important facilities; the most complete and extensive network of specialist libraries, and also has joint research units.

Significant latest research by CSIC is the Temperature and Winds for InSight (TWINS) module, which is a component of NASA's InSight Mars lander, which landed successfully on November 26, 2018. TWINS will monitor weather at the Mars landing site.


The CSIC was established in 1939 by one of the first governments of Francisco Franco from the assets of the Board for Advanced Studies and Scientific Research (Spanish: Junta para la Ampliación de Estudios e Investigaciones Científicas (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").[5][6]

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 its founder, Josemaría Escrivá. José María Albareda was ordained a priest in 1959, and at his death was succeeded as head of CSIC by Manuel Lora-Tamayo, minister of Education from 1962 to 1968.


According to the statute's article 5 of CSIC State Agency,[7] 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[edit]

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

Large facilities[edit]

The astronomical observatory complex of Calar Alto, province of Almería, Spain

CSIC manages the "Singular Scientific and Technological Infrastructures" (ICTS) which are facilities involving relatively high investment and maintenance costs in relation to R&D investment budgets in their field. The science community and society at large can access 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. These large facilities are recognised and supported by the European Union.

CSIC administers the following 6 Spanish ICTS facilities:

Spain participates in two large European facilities:

Research centres[edit]

As of January 2018 CSIC listed 139 specialized research centers carrying out research in the above-mentioned eight different fields.[23]


  • 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

Publications of CSIC include:

  • Archivo Español de Arqueología (AEspA), founded in 1940

In popular culture[edit]

The Spanish National Research Council Headquarters serves as the exterior of The Royal Mint of Spain in the Spanish television series La Casa De Papel, also known by its English title Money Heist.[24][25]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Personal al servicio del Sector Público Estatal". www.igae.pap.hacienda.gob.es. 2023. Retrieved 16 June 2024.
  2. ^ "2022 CSIC memory".
  3. ^ Although this is the name officially used as translation in the website of the institution, the actual word-by-word translation would be High Council of Scientific Research
  4. ^ "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). Congreso de los Diputados (in Spanish). 24 March 2009. p. 4. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  5. ^ Ansede, Manuel (25 July 2015). "La ciencia que desmanteló Franco". Elpais.com (in Spanish). Prisa. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  6. ^ Domínguez, Nuño (24 November 2014). "El CSIC se olvida de su herencia franquista". Elpais.com (in Spanish). Madrid: Prisa. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  7. ^ "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". Boletín Oficial del Estado (in Spanish) (12): 2476–2486. 14 January 2008. Archived from the original on 1 April 2012. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  8. ^ "humanidades y ciencias sociales". Csic.es.
  9. ^ "biología y biomedicina". Csic.es.
  10. ^ "recursos naturales". Csic.es.
  11. ^ "ciencias agrarias". Csic.es.
  12. ^ "ciencia y tecnologías físicas". Csic.es.
  13. ^ "ciencia y tecnología de materiales". Csic.es.
  14. ^ "ciencia y tecnología de alimentos". Csic.es.
  15. ^ "ciencia y tecnologías químicas". Csic.es.
  16. ^ "Calar Alto Astronomical Observatory". Caha.es (in Spanish). Retrieved 15 February 2019.
  17. ^ "Inicio – Estación Biológica de Doñana". Csic.es (in Spanish). Retrieved 15 February 2019.
  18. ^ "R/V Hespérides". UTM – Marine Technology Unit (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 19 June 2010. Retrieved 8 June 2010.
  19. ^ "BAE Juan Carlos I". UTM – Marine Technology Unit (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 15 April 2008. Retrieved 5 March 2008.
  20. ^ "O/V Sarmiento de Gamboa: History". UTM – Marine Technology Unit (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 18 September 2010. Retrieved 5 October 2010.
  21. ^ "Sala blanca". Institute of Microelectronics of Barcelona (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 19 September 2010. Retrieved 15 February 2019.
  22. ^ "ILL :: Neutrons for science : The world's flagship centre for neutron science". Ill.eu. Retrieved 15 February 2019.
  23. ^ Research centres CSIC, n.d., retrieved 3 January 2017
  24. ^ Boente, Paula (25 February 2018). "La verdadera casa de papel". BAE Negocios. Grupo Crónica. Retrieved 15 February 2019.
  25. ^ ""La casa de papel" se rueda en el CSIC – Lugares de película". Lugares de Película (in Spanish). 17 May 2017. Retrieved 15 February 2019.

External links[edit]