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.


The organization chart of the Institute is shown in the Figure below.
The Director's Office is chaired by the ICE Director, and composed by the Deputy Director and the Manager of the Institute. The Assistant to the Director supports the functioning of this office.

The Institute has two Departments and one Technical Unit. These 3 bodies are:
  • APS: Department of Astrophysics and Planetary Sciences,
  • CFP: Department of Cosmology and Fundamental Physics,
  • AEU: Advanced Engineering Unit

Each of these bodies (simply called Departments) have a Head. A detailed description of the research carried on in these Departments is described in detail in this webpage.

Research groups are part of these departments.

According to the Institute's tradition and the approved internal regulations, all members with contracts of an initial duration of 5 years or more are considered senior members of the Institute.

All committees in the organization chart are executive. They are there to 'act' according to their guidelines, and to implement instructions given by their immediate upper level in the organization.

Heads of Department (Committee members) are expected to be in office for a period of 4 (2) years.

Our White Book for the institute's operations (available to all members) detail functioning roles, working guidelines, membership, responsibilities, procedures to implement recurrent actions, typical meetings cadence for each body, typical timescales to respond to predictable requests, etc. It also details our decision-making protocol as well as others for outreach activities, workspace allocation, teaching activities, laboratories operation, etc.

The executive team is currently (3/2020 - 3/2024) formed by
  • Director: Diego F. Torres
  • Deputy Director: Aldo Serenelli
  • Head of the Astrophysics and Planetary Science Department (APS): Estel Cardellach & Nanda Rea
  • Head of the Cosmology and Fundamental Physics Department (CFP): Martin Crocce & Laura Tolos
  • Administrative Manager: Angels Benet
  • Assistant to the Director: Noemí Cortés

The Institute Board is composed by the Director, Deputy Director, Manager and Heads of Department plus two working-force representatives and functions following CSIC regulations. The two working-force representatives for the period 4/2016 - 4/2018 are
  • Cristina Manuel
  • Josep M. Trigo

You are welcome to contact any of the above named persons, or the working commissions directly by using @ice.csic.es and the user-id corresponding to the name of each commission (e.g., workspace@ice.csic.es). Current members of the commissions (3/2020 - 3/2024) are as follows:
  • Computing: Pablo Fosalba (chair) + Martín Crocce + Josep Guerrero + Angel Elbaz
  • Equity: Helena Dominguez (chair) + Pep Colomé + Vanessa Graber + Mariona Caixach + Mar Mezcua
  • Outreach: Gemma Busquet (co-chair) + Mar Mezcua (co-chair) + Ricard Casas
  • ICE Life: Carlos F. Sopuerta (chair) + Victor Martín + seminars chairs
  • Teaching: Aldo Serenelli (chair) + Daniele Viganò + 1 TBC
Institute of Space Sciences (IEEC-CSIC)

Campus UAB, Carrer de Can Magrans, s/n
08193 Barcelona.
Phone: +34 93 737 9788
Email: ice@ice.csic.es
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An institute of the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas

An institute of the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas
Affiliated with the Institut d'Estudis Espacials de Catalunya

Affiliated with the Institut d'Estudis Espacials de Catalunya