The Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) is the largest public institution dedicated to research in Spain and the third largest in Europe. “Belonging to the Spanish Ministry of Economy and competitiveness through the Secretary of State for Research, Development and Innovation, 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 mission is to foster, coordinate, develop and promote scientific and technological research, of a multidisciplinary nature, in order to contribute to advancing knowledge and economic, social and cultural development, as well as to train staff and advise public and private entities on this matter. 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 drivenby its centres and institutes, which are spread across all the autonomous regions, and its more than 15,000 staff, of whom ore than 3,000 are staff researchers and the same number again are doctors and scientists who are still training. 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. it also manages a range of important facilities; the most complete and extensive network of specialist libraries, and also has joint research units.
Its multidisciplinary and multisectorial nature means CSIC covers all fields of knowledge. Its activity, which covers everything from basic research to technological development.
CSIC has established collaborative relationships with some leading European institutions, particularly the Max Planck Institute and the French CNRS, and also with bodies on other continents, such as the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Canadian NRC. It currently has collaboration agreements with more than 30 bodies in around 50 countries.
Of particular importance within this area is the commitment to create international centres, as the International Laboratory for Global Change (LINCG), http://www.lincg.uc-csic.es/ a virtual body that involves various CSIC institutions and the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile.
European Research Area. Together with its European counterparts, CSIC is a leading participant in the construction of the European Research Area and in establishing mechanisms to transform Europe into a knowledge based society. CSlC's dedication to Europe can be seen in its contribution to the debate on the development of the ERA, -with its involvement in drafting The ERA Green Paper and The Lisbon Declaration, official participation in institutions such as the European Science Foundation (ESF), and its Delegation in Brussels, which is focused on managing projects. The CSIC delegation in Brussels is a key instrument to help Spanish researchers, from CSIC as well as other organisms, to obtain funding from the European Union Framework Programme, in which CSIC is the leading Spanish institution. It is a point of reference for other Spanish institutions, which have their support offices there and it carries out significant work in creating and acting as a member of research and science networks.
International scientific representation. The extensive network of CSIC international relations is not limited to carrying out bilateral agreements with its counterparts in other countries, but frequently also involves taking part in international forums (ESF, EUROHORCS) and representing Spain in international programmes, entities and organisations. CSIC collaborates with other specialised entities (The Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology, The Cervantes Institute) to achieve greater presence and representation for Spanish citizens abroad. Likewise, it manages programmes such as GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility) and other similar programmes on behalf of the government.
CSIC provides services to the entire scientific community through management of the Singular Scientific and Technological Infrastructures (ICTS): 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.
Hespérides Ocean Research Vessel
The Hespérides belongs to the Spanish Navy and is based in Cartagena (Murcia), where it was built and launched on 12 March 1990. The CSIC Marine Technology Unit (UTM) is responsible for maintaining the scientific equipment onboard the vessel and provides technical support staff for ocean research campaigns. Its instruments and laboratories enable research to be carried out into natural resources, the atmosphere, climate, marine resources, global change, marine biodiversity and natural risks. The Hespérides has carried out numerous research campaigns, covering more than 300,000 nautical miles and receiving more than 1,000 foreign researchers. Its reinforced hull means it can navigate in the polar regions of the Antarctic and the Arctic
Juan Carlos I Antarctic Base
Inaugurated in 1988, the Juan Carlos I Antarctic Base is only occupied during the southern summer, , although automated records are kept throughout the year. It is located on the south east coast of South Bay, on the Hurd Peninsula of Livingston Island [South Shetland Islands). Its aim is to support Spanish activities carried out in the Antarctic, in particular scientific research projects coordinated by the Spanish Antarctic Research Programme (PNIA).
Sarmiento de Gamboa Ocean Research Vessel
The Sarmiento de Gamboa, launched in 2006, is used for research in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Focused on the study of global ocean circulation, marine biodiversity, fisheries resources and climate change, it has a large variety of scientific and technical equipment for use in Oceanography and Marine Biology as well as laboratory and auxiliary equipment. It also has the very latest technologies in navigation systems and is the first Spanish ocean research vessel to work with low depth ROVs (Remote Operated Vehicles) and AUVs (Autonomous Underwater Vehicles).
The main functions in CSIC are: multidisciplinary scientific and technical research, scientific and technical advice, transfer of results to the business sector, contribution to creation of technologically-based companies, training of specialist staff, management of infrastructures and large facilities, promotion of the culture of Science, scientific representation of Spain at international level. CSIC can play an important role as an associated member of the EMBC project by offering internships and thesis subjects in the different institutes and centres which have as a main research lines biodiversity and marine conservation.
One of the main knowledge CS|C's area is Natural Resources Area, which contribute to the scientific understanding of the Earth and the living beings that inhabit it, studying the structure and functioning of nature. The Area's research is organised in five fields. Here we emphasize two of them:
- Research and technology of Ocean processes: Studying the physical, chemical, biological and geological processes that underlie the functioning of the oceans, thereby generating essential knowledge for sustainably managing coastal uses and services, the exploitation of species as a part of the ecosystem, mapping of the continental platform and the oceans‘ response to manmade pressures, both locally and globally. It is also possible to identify a cross—cutting thematic axis running throughout this entire Area, focused on global change. Whether in a multidisciplinary way or through concrete lines of research, this area can help us to understand and mitigate the effects of systemic and cumulative changes to the planet being caused by human activity. Research in this area is structured in institutes and it is also supported by various singular facilities, some of the most important are: OceanBit coastal observation platform and The Cap Ses Salines Lighthouse.
- Ecology and conservation of biodiversity: With research based on describing and modelling interaction between species in ecosystems. This encompasses the ecology of populations, communities, behaviour and co—evolution. This research generates knowledge to be used in managing and mitigating human impacts on ecosystems, in order to conserve them.
Among the key roles played by the CSIC, highlights: to train researchers and experts by means of highly specialised courses, to collaborate with universities in scientific research and technological development activities and in postgraduate education, to train experts in science and technology management and to collaborate in updating the science and technology knowledge skills of non-university teachers.
- CSIC-UIMP Official Masters and Doctorates Programme: The academic alliance between CSIC and the Menéndez y Pelayo University (UINIP) carries out 6 official masters’ degrees this year. These masters have been awarded the quality seal (VERIFICA) by the Spanish national evaluation agency ANECA. The CSIC awards 30 scholarships (5 per masters) which are managed entirely by the Department of Postgraduate and Specialized Studies-CSIC. Other public and private entities also provide scholarships for these masters. The total number of students is around 150 (25 on each masters). Since the academic period 2010-11 this Masters program has been extended to provide doctorates in each topic, once VERIFA approval has been obtained from ANECA. The 2011 JAE Predoc call offered 2 scholarships to complete the PhD degree through this Master program. The masters are run in different places in Spain and also abroad: Global Change in Palma de Mallorca (UIB); Crystallography and Crystallisation in Seville (Casa de la Ciencia) and Biodiversity in QuitoEcuador (Central University) and in a laboratory specifically devoted to this last Master built at the jungle (also in Ecuador]. The other three Master are carried out at different CSIC institutes in Madrid.
- Programme of CSIC Specialisation and Advanced Specialisation Courses: The CSlC's programme of specialisation and advanced specialisation courses is an annual series of postgraduate courses run by CSIC researchers aimed at graduates, honours graduates, engineers and architects. These courses cover the whole range of knowledge and scientific research and are mainly given at CSIC institutes and centres. The DPE manages the approximately 100 courses run by the CSIC each year.