History of the Institute
The Institute of Space Sciences pertains to the "Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas" (the Spanish National Research Council, usually called CSIC). CSIC is the largest public institution dedicated to research in Spain and the third largest in Europe, and is formally depending on 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. Its institutes drive CSIC's research (about 120 in total, in all areas of sciences), which are spread across all the autonomous regions, and its more than 15000 staff, of whom more than 3000 are staff researchers and more than 3000 are doctors. CSIC has about 6% of all the staff dedicated to Research and Development in Spain, and they generate approximately 20% of all scientific production in the country.
The Institute of Space Sciences is a new breed of research centers. It was officially created on January 17, 2008 (BOE #15, 3507, Orden ECI/4063/2007, of December 27, 2007), based on a proposal made about a decade before by the Governance of CSIC (Acta #11, 11/99). The Founding Director was Prof. Jordi Isern, who acted as Director until February 2016.
The Institute of Space Sciences articulates the CSIC participation in the confederation of independent institutes affiliated with the "Institut d'Estudis Espacials de Catalunya" (IEEC). This is a non-for-profit foundation, founded in February 1996, whose Board of Trustees includes, in addition to the CSIC, the Generalitat de Catalunya, the Universitat de Barcelona (UB), the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) and the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC). Our Institute thus benefits from the interaction and collaboration with both the larger CSIC structure and the Catalan community and government. The Director of the Institute of Space Sciences is at once, co-Director of IEEC Foundation.
The association of the Institute of Space Sciences with both CSIC and IEEC is reflected in our acronym (IEEC-CSIC).
In 2015, the Institute of Space Sciences (IEEC-CSIC) moved to a new facility located at the campus of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. This building (property of CSIC and built on purpose for our Institute) has 3500 square meters of useful space, distributed in laboratories and offices.
To give an idea of our size, on March 2017, there were 74 persons working full time at the Institute of Space Sciences (IEEC-CSIC). Of these, 16 were faculty members, 2 were staff engineers, 5 were senior Ramón y Cajal fellows (long-term, tenure track-like positions), 31 were postdocs and engineers, and 15 were PhD students. Five administration personnel gave support to operate the institute on a day-to-day basis. At any given year, we receive 25-50 visitors, not counting master students and workshops organized in our facilities.