The Spanish agricultural research system
The agricultural research system in Spain is mainly run under the framework of the Spanish National Plan for Scientific Research, Development and Technological Innovation for the period 2008-2011 (extended until Dec. 2012)
and is managed by the Directorate General for Scientific Policy and the “Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Tecnología Agraria y Alimentaria” (INIA) both depending of the Secretary of State for Research, Development and Innovation of the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness.
Its aim is to fulfill the demand and social needs related to sustainable production methods, preservation, transformation and distribution of agrifood products and to promote the safety, quality and healthy properties of these products as well. Focusing on an integrated rural development, competitive production and environmentally friendly practices.
The relationships between the Spanish Central Administration and the Regional Governments, organised through the Interministries Commission on Science and Technology show strengths and a growing significance. In fact these relationships are enhanced by different mechanisms of direct opinion, including the Board of Directors that are presently developing the next National Research, Development and Innovation Plan and the Sectorial Summit of the R+D+I Regional Ministries and the Secretary of State for Research, Development and Innovation of the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness of Spain.
The Autonomous Regions do contribute for the elaboration of the Activities Memory related to the R+D+I, by giving information about their activities The Spanish agricultural research system, owns several well recognised research groups within the Public Research Organism and Technological Centres as well.
Ministries in charge of the agricultural research system
Institutes mainly devoted to agricultural research
Spain is organised in a decentralised way in which the seventeen Autonomous Regions have their own Agricultural Research Organisms (see map below), mainly executing those research projects protected by the Spanish National Plan for Scientific Research, Development and Technological Innovation for the period 2008-2011 (extended until Dec. 2012)
There are some National Institutes mainly devoted to agricultural research:
The “Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Tecnología Agraria y Alimentaria” (INIA) (National Institute for Agricultural and Food Scientific Research and Technology) is an autonomous organism depending of the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness through the Secretary of State for Research, Development and Innovation, with both a managerial and executorial mission of agrifood research, development and innovation.
This Institute acts as the supporting organism for the implementation of the agricultural and food policies. These activities are strength by the Interministries Commission.
This Institute acts as the supporting organism for the implementation of the
agricultural and food policy. This activities are strength by the Interministries Commission.
- To manage and execute those Central Administration jurisdictions within the area of the scientific research and technological innovation of agricultural and food purposes, without prejudice to those competences of the Secretary of State for Research, Development and Innovation.
- To represent the department before the National and International Organisms of Scientific and Technological purposes related to agricultural and food matters, without prejudice to the competences of the Secretary of State for Research, Development and Innovation of the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness and of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, as well.
- To enhance both the international and the national cooperation in the area of food and agricultural research, specially with the Regional Governments, by the Coordinating Commission for Agricultural Research and without prejudice to the competences of the Secretary of State for Research, Development and Innovation of the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness.
- To elaborate, coordinate and manage its conferred key actions, related to the National Plan for Research, Development and Innovation 2008-2011, following the orientation of the Secretary of State for Research, Development and Innovation of the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness.
INIA, through the Coordinating Commission for Agricultural Research where are represented all Agricultural R&D Institutes from the Regional Governments, has been promoting and supporting different agricultural R&D&i activities to coordinate R&D&i efforts at national level and to prepare our scientific system for the challenges of the Framework Programmes and contribute for the development of the ERA.
Regional institutes involved in Agricultural R&D - Map
The “Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas” (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. It plays an active role in the science policy of all the Spanish regions through its branches across the country.
It is organised into eight scientific and technical areas (CSIC Institutes), including Agricultural Sciences with seventeen Institutes all around Spain, Natural Resources with twenty four Institutes spread around the whole Spanish geography and Food Science and Technology with eight Institutes located in those regions closely related to the focused domains.
The CSIC functions are:
- Multidisciplinary scientific and technical research.
- Scientific and technical advice.
- Transferring results to the private sector.
- Contributing to the creation of technology-driven companies.
- Training specialised personnel.
- Management of infrastructure and large facilities.
- Promoting scientific culture.
The “Instituto Español de Oceanografía” (IEO) (Spanish Oceanographic Institute) is an autonomous Organism depending of the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness through the Secretary of State for Research, Development and Innovation, with ten oceanographic centres and eight oceanographic boats.
This institute is the research and supporting organism related to the marine fishery policy of the Government.
- To elaborate, coordinate and manage the research programs related to marine life resources in the different seas and oceans of interest for the fisheries Spanish sector, including those researches related to aquaculture.
- To elaborate, coordinate and manage of those research programs with a multidisciplinary character, focusing on its incidence over the marine life resources.
- To represent the Institute at the International Forums related to the Oceanography and the fisheries.
- To report and advise about the legislation projects affecting the extraction of marine life resources.
- To report to the Jurisdictional administrations about the applications for the implementation of research campaigns by third countries in Spanish water sovereignty.
- To set up agreements with both public and private Organisms, with a National or International character, to elaborate research projects and other activities with a Scientific and Technological character.
- To coordinate and cooperate in the international research programs, without prejudice to those jurisdictions conferred to the Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Ministry.
There are several Spanish Public Organisms devoted to funding agricultural research activities, like INIA and other Public Research Organisms, but those mainly focusing on funding activities are:
The “Centro para el Desarrollo Tecnológico Industrial” (CDTI) (The Technological and Industrial Development Centre) is a Public Company depending of the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness through the Secretary of State for Research, Development and Innovation, that promotes the innovation and the technological development of the Spanish companies.
- Technical-Economical evaluation and R+D+I project funding, developed by the Spanish companies.
- Managing and promotion of the Spanish active collaboration within the International programs of Technological cooperation.
- Promoting international technology transference of industrial technology and those supporting services to the technological innovation.
- Support to the creation and consolidation of those companies with a technological main action.
This Centre has an strategic net of offices with seven representatives abroad, to support the Spanish companies (Japan -SBTO (Spain Business and Technology Office)-, Belgium -SOST (Spain Office of Science and Technology) and Eureka Standing Secretariat-, Brazil -FINEP (Financiadora de Estudos e Projetos)-, South Korea, Chile, Morocco, China, India and Mexico to support them with their international technological activities.
The CDTI gives its own financial support to the company and makes easier the access to third parties financial support (banking financial support for Technological Innovation Funding and subsidies within the R+D Framework Program of the EU) to carry out those research and development projects both national and international.
There are also different regional institutions promoting and funding Research and Innovation activities (list of regional R+D funding institutions
Higher Education and Research
The universities are autonomous institutions under the umbrella of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports and the respective Regional Government Administrations.
Conferencia de Rectores de Universidad
: (CRUE) (Conference of Vice-Chancellors) run by the Minister in charge of Education, Culture and Sports, with a council of university Vice-Chancellors, is a non profit Association, created in December 1994 and constituted by the Spanish Universities, both public and private.
Agronomy, Forestry, Food Science and Veterinary Medicine Schools
- To promote all those activities related to the promotion, managing and development of the Higher Education and the University Research.
- To enhance within these domains the cooperation in between the Spanish Universities and those similar International Institutions.
- Exchange of information, promote studies, reports and advises driving to a greater and more efficient cooperation with the public Administrations.
- Others of similar category.