CSIC

CSIC
   The Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (Council for Scientific Research) was set up in November 1939, a few months after the end of the Civil War. From the beginning, it bore the stamp of the victorious Francoist regime. In the early years, its character was set by the then Minister of Education, José Ibáñez Martín, and José María de Albareda. The Council took over all the functions of the old Junta para Ampliación de Estudios e Investigaciones Científicas (Council for Advanced Studies and Scientific Research), while rejecting the philosophy which had inspired its creation in 1907. It also took over the Residencia de Estudiantes, which in the 1920s and 1930s had been a powerhouse of cultural and intellectual life, with the presence of such figures as Lorca and Dalí. Adopting the motto of the fourteenth-century Catalan philosopher and theologian Ramón Llull, Arbor Scientiae (The Tree of Knowledge), it attempted to bring under its control all branches of human learning, grouping them in three large blocs, corresponding respectively to Spirit, Matter and Life. Each of these areas was in turn subdivided into specialized institutes.
   Just as university education was affected by the social and economic development of Spain in the 1960s, so the CSIC was perceived as being in need of reform, in respect of its organization, personnel and functions. Although the CSIC had been founded with the intention of promoting, directing and co-ordinating scientific research in Spain, in its early years it had only scored very limited success. In the 1970s, efforts were made to re-configure it as the main vehicle of national science policy, but it was only with the accession of the socialist government, especially after the enactment of the Science Law in 1987, that the national strategy for Research and Development began to take shape. Within this framework, the CSIC is the main autonomous body responsible for the implementation of the National Research Plan drawn up by the Inter-Ministerial Committee for Science and Technology, which reports directly to the government. In 1995, the work of the CSIC was being carried on by ninety-one institutes, employing 6,400 people.
   In addition to the individual libraries of the various institutes, the CSIC has an important central library, and a vigorous publishing operation, issuing, in addition to monographs, more than two hundred specialist journals, and a general periodical, Arbor, which has been running since 1945. The CSIC is undoubtedly the most important interdisciplinary research body in Spain. In addition, the old Residencia de Estudiantes, though it no longer has the character it had in Lorca's time, provides modestly-priced accommodation and meals for visiting researchers.
   See also: education and research; Francoist culture; science; universities; university education
   Further reading
   - Arbor (1990) El Consejo: una visión retrospectiva (a special number of Arbor, which includes contributions from past presidents of CSIC).
   - Carr, R. and Fusi, J.P. (1979) Spain: Dictatorship to Democracy, London: George Allen & Unwin (chapter 6 sets the CSIC within the context of Francoist cultural and educational policy).
   ALICIA ALTED

Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.

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