Science and technology in
Spain relates to the set of policies, plans and programs carried out by the Spanish
Ministry of Science and Innovation and other organizations aimed at research, development and innovation (R&D&I), as well as the reinforcement Spanish scientific and technological infrastructures and facilities such as universities and commercial laboratories.
Spain has become the ninth scientific power in the world with 2.5% of the total number of scientific publications, thus surpassing Russia in the world ranking of scientific production and surpassing
Switzerland and Australia in scientific quality.
Science Law of 1986
Law 13/1986 on the "Promotion and General Coordination of Scientific and Technical Research" placed science for the first time on the Spanish political agenda, laying the foundations for research, as well as its financing, organization and coordination between the State and the autonomous regions. That regulation also led to the birth of the national research plan as an "instrument for financing science". It also meant that public research organizations could create companies, as a solution to the lack of companies that encouraged new technologies and the disconnection of the science-technology system with the productive system.
Science, Technology and Innovation Law (2011)
It is regulated by Law 14/2011, of 1 June 2011, on "Science, Technology and Innovation", which entered into force six months after its publication. According to the Ninth Final Provision of the Law, some of its provisions have the character of basic legislation. This provides a mechanism for national, regional and corporative entities to cooperate and optimise their resources.
Article 21 of the Law contemplates the pre-
Science Law 2022
In 2020, the Ministry published the prior consultation on the reform of the Science Law. Through the 2021 Budget Law, the legal figure of the state agency was reintroduced for the
State Research Agency (AEI) and the
Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), which had been transformed into an autonomous body in 2015. State agencies have greater independence for the management of their budget. A new Science Law is expected to be approved in 2022.
Sources of funding
In 2020, Spain will invest 1.24% of its GDP in scientific research, well below the European average of 2.12%.
Up to 2020, eight editions of the National R&D&I Plan have been published, covering the period from 1988 to 1991 to 2007–2020, currently in force.
Each year a Work Program of the National R&D&I Plan is approved, which serves as a short-term programming tool, and is managed by the Ministries of
Science and Innovation (MICINN); Industry, Tourism and Trade;
Education (MEFP); and Environment, Rural and Marine Affairs (MARM).
At the end of 2020 the Spanish Government officially presented its Digital Plan 2025 which focussed on the recovery, transformation and resilience of scientific endeavour as a significant contributor to the Spanish economy. The Minister of Digital Development Carme Artigas has announced that starting from late 2022 the country proposes to set up a secure environment where a wide range of companies will be able to test their risky AI systems for socially sensitive areas such as law enforcement, medical diagnostics or educational intervention. The rules proposed by the European Commission in 2021 will be applied with strict oversight in compliance with Spain's National Artificial Intelligence Strategy (ENIA).
"Nanoinventum" is a project led by the
University of Barcelona to incorporate science and
nanotechnology principles into elementary school level curriculums. The main objective is to help young people become familiar with scientific language and to cultivate a passion for nanotechnology and science in general.
Public Research Organizations
Public Research Organizations (OPI) carry out a large part of the R&D&I activities that are financed with public funds and usually manage some of the programs included in the National Plans.
The following OPI's are attached to the Ministry of Science and Innovation:
National Institute of Toxicology and Forensic Sciences (INTCF).
Within the national territory
The Advisory Committee for Singular Infrastructures (until 2006 called the Advisory Committee for Large Scientific Facilities, CAGIC) distinguishes between two types of Scientific and Technological Facilities: Large Scientific Facilities (GIC) and Medium Size Facilities (ITM). Their recognition as such is the responsibility of the Interministerial Commission for Science and Technology (CICYT).
Singular Scientific and Technical Infrastructures (ICTS)
Singular Scientific and Technical Infrastructure (ICTS) refers to a facility that is unique or exceptional in Spain, that requires a relatively high investment cost, and that its importance in research or development justifies its availability.
At present, the following facilities are recognized as Spanish ICTS (outdated list):
A Medium Size Installation is defined as an Installation that is unique in Spain, requiring an investment cost of between 3 and 8 million euros and a maintenance cost of more than half a million euros per year.
Outside the national territory, with Spanish participation
Spain participates in several international scientific programs and organizations. The benefit obtained from this participation is twofold: on the one hand, Spanish scientists can use the facilities for the development of their projects; on the other hand, the business network has the opportunity to make important business contracts.
Some of the facilities in which Spain participates are:
In 2016 and 2017
BQ became the third best-selling
smartphone brand in Spain, with phones designed in the country. Towards the end of the 1990s and early 2000s several companies manufactured laptops in Spain, most notably Airis and Inves. By 2021, Primux, Slimbook, Vant and Mountain already designed and assembled their computers in Spain.
Between 1987 and 2009 there was a large
microchip factory in
Tres Cantos, but it closed due to the difficulty of competing with the Asian market. Currently there are Spanish companies with
microchip production capacity on a smaller scale, but which also have design capacity, such as Televés, a pioneer in Europe in the use of
DIE electronic components (electronic components without encapsulation) and which also has the capacity to manufacture
MMIC circuits, Ikor, and Anafocus, dedicated to the manufacture of
CMOS image sensors.
At the end of the 1990s IRC-Hispano was the reference as a social community in the Hispanic world. Other software companies that have achieved great repercussion are the search engine Olé,
Terra Networks or
Rakuten TV stand out.
The evolution of astronomical navigation, thanks to the contributions of astronomers such as
Alonso de Santa Cruz, Juan Arias de Loyola and
Jorge Juan y Santacilia was also key to Spain's preponderance in the oceans.
International Institute for Computer Science, an extension of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the
University of California, of which Spain has been a member since 14 November 1998.
Integrated Ocean Drilling Program, an international marine research program.
International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) since 2009.
^The exceptions are that:
a) Article 21 shall enter into force one year after the publication of this law in the "Official Gazette of the State".
b) Paragraph 5 of article 25, and paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 of the seventh additional provision shall enter into force on 1 January 2014.
c) The twelfth additional provision will enter into force on the day following its publication in the "
Official State Gazette".
Pre-doctoral contract. Employment contracts under the pre-doctoral contract modality shall be entered into in accordance with the following requirements:
1. The purpose of the contract shall be the performance of research tasks, within the scope of a specific and novel project, by those who are in possession of a Bachelor's degree, engineer, architect, university graduate with a degree of at least 300
European Credit Transfer System) credits or university master's degree, or equivalent, and have been admitted to a doctoral program. These personnel shall be considered as pre-doctoral research personnel in training.
2. The contract will be made in writing between the pre-doctoral research personnel in training, as an employee, and the public university or research organization in charge of the research unit, as an employer, and must be accompanied by a letter of admission to the doctoral program issued by the unit responsible for said program, or by the doctoral or postgraduate school, as the case may be.
3. The duration of the contract will be one year, extendable for annual periods after a favorable report from the academic committee of the doctoral program, or the doctoral school, as the case may be, for the duration of their stay in the program. In no case may the cumulative duration of the initial contract plus extensions exceed four years; however, when the contract is for a person with a disability, the contract may be for a maximum of six years, including extensions, taking into account the characteristics of the research activity and the degree of limitations in the activity. No worker may be hired through this modality, in the same or in a different entity, for a period of more than four years, except in the case of the disabled persons indicated in the previous paragraph, for whom the period may not exceed six years. The situations of temporary disability,
risk during pregnancy,
adoption or fostering, risk during breastfeeding and
paternity, will suspend the computation of the duration of the contract.
4. The remuneration of this contract may not be less than 56% of the salary established for equivalent categories in the collective bargaining agreements of its scope of application during the first two years, 60% during the third year, and 75% during the fourth year. Nor may it be less than the
minimum interprofessional salary established each year, in accordance with Article 27 of the Consolidated Text of the Workers' Statute Law.
^Montfort, Nick (2003). Twisty Little Passages: An Approach to Interactive Fiction. MIT Press. p. 76.
ISBN0-262-63318-3. In 1912 Leonardo Torres Quevedo ... devised the first computer game ... The machine played a KRK chess endgame, playing rook and king against a person playing a lone king.