The Institute of Physics of Cantabria (IFCA) is a multidisciplinary Joint Centre of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and University of Cantabria (UC) oriented to perform research on basic science to understand the components of nature, from elementary particles (Particle Physics) to the largest structures of the Universe (Cosmology, Astrophysics and Astronomy) as well as nonlinear phenomena and the complex collective behavior of matter. We also address social challenges such as Big Data and Machine Learning, Climate and Climate Change, and Open Science. These research activities build on advanced supercomputing services (IFCA is part of the Spanish Supercomputing network, RES) and the development of instrumentation in the framework of international collaborations.
It was created in 1995 through a cooperation agreement signed by José María Mato de la Paz (CSIC President) and Jaime Vinuesa Tejedor (UC Rector), being the first director of the center Xavier Barcons. IFCA has maintained a steadily growth since its creation, reaching its current size of about 86 people, with 30 staff researchers. It produces yearly more than 200 publications in the best journals in the respective fields and has nearly 40 active projects, obtaining an external funding of about 2 M€/year, more than 80% of the total budget of the Institute. The Institute is organized in six research lines (from two Departments: Structure of matter and Astrophysics) and two support units (administration and IT, with two and four staff members, respectively). There are also five additional support staff depending on the direction which are responsible of different structural activities (outreach, transfer and quality, maintenance and prevention and computing).
A fundamental pillar of our research is the collaboration with the largest scientific agencies and laboratories (CERN, ESA, ESO, etc.) as well as the participation in the most relevant international projects in our areas ofinterest (CORDEX, IPCC, EOSC-Hub, etc.). The level of excellence of our activity in different fronts makes IFCA an internationally recognized research center.
In November 2018 we received the accreditation as a Unit of Excellence Maria de Maeztu, issued by the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities. Our vision is to make IFCA, with the support of MdM Excelence award, a consolidated unit of international standards developing top class basic research in Physics, gaining world class positioning through leadership in frontier research projects, and a reference centre in those subjects where the multidisciplinary interplay is key for the advancement of knowledge.