Research - Spain
The 1986 Science Law laid the foundations for the management, coordination and allocation of resources to promote scientific research and technological development in Spain.
The Science Law gave rise to the National Plan for Scientific Research and Technological Development, which was intended to generally promote and coordinate scientific and technical research. The current incarnation of this plan is the National Plan for Scientific Research, Development and Technological Innovation (R&D&I) 2008-2011.
The main body in charge of research in Spain is the Ministry of Science and Innovation. It is responsible for most of the research grants and bursaries, as well as some of the main public research bodies, such as the Higher Council for Scientific Research (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas – CSIC), which, with over 100 centres and nearly 50% of the research produced in the country, is the most important public research body in Spain.
Other ministries, such as the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade, also provide extensive help with research and business innovation.
Alongside R&D, innovation is essential for businesses to develop and stay competitive.
Intellectual property must be protected to encourage research.
Procedures for researchers in Spain
The main way to become a researcher in Spain is to obtain a research grant at the end of your bachelor’s or postgraduate degree, when you can choose to join the teaching staff of a university or one of the public and/or private Spanish research bodies, of which the CSIC (Higher Council for Scientific Research) is the foremost example.
Any foreign nationals wanting to carry out research work in Spain must, except as laid down by law, obtain residence and work permits. The public or private body hiring the foreign researcher will deal with the formalities required by the State Secretariat for Immigration and Emigration.
Registering as a scientific institution
Non-profit bodies carrying out R&D activities in order to develop technological knowledge aimed at improving business competitiveness may register on a voluntary basis in the register of technology centres kept by the Ministry of Science and Innovation.
Calls for tender and competitions
The National R&D&I Plan 2008-2011 includes a large number of competitions and grants for research projects. All research bodies also publish their own calls for tender on their websites.
Information on the European Union framework in this respect is available through the following links:
The Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (Fundación Española para la Ciencia y la Tecnología – FECYT) has launched a website providing detailed information on this subject.
The Ministry of Science and Innovation provides information on projects and programmes funding research.
Websites such as EURAXESS and the Spanish portal for researcher mobility (Portal español de movilidad para investigadores) offer a wealth of resources and information for foreign researchers wanting to work in Spain. The Spanish network of mobility centres (Red española de centros de movilidad), which is part of the EURAXESS initiative and has offices in all the Autonomous Communities, offers local support to researchers.
In Spain the main research programme is the aforementioned National Plan for Scientific Research and Technological Development, which is currently in its sixth incarnation (2008-2011).
The Centre for Industrial Technology Development (Centro para el Desarrollo Tecnológico Industrial – CDTI) is a government agency aiming to help improve technology in Spanish businesses.
Check also the legislation on this topic in: