The Institute of Agricultural Sciences (ICA) was created in 2004 as a CSIC centre of excellence in agro-environmental research, capable to provide adequate answers to the major challenges of the modern and specialized Spanish agriculture.
ICA research lines intend to find responses to the growing social demand of safe and high-quality agricultural products, improved procedures for a correct management of urban and agricultural residues and agricultural systems more sustainable and environmentally friendly.
The scientific structure of ICA is based in three large research lines that are complementary: environmental pollution, plant health and beneficial interactions between plants and microorganisms. By using multidisciplinary approaches we are able to provide relevant information in several critical issues related with environmental risks associated to agricultural production.
The proximity of ICA to various other CSIC centres, to INIA and to various universities favors a close collaboration with all these institutions. Its geographical localization in Madrid, a large consumer of agricultural products and producers of urban and industrial residues, make possible to establish links with all these stakeholders.
The origin of ICA was the “Institute of Soil Science, Ecology and Plant Biology”, created by Jose Maria Albareda in 1942. From 1941 to 1948 various Departments were opened to study various aspects of soil physics, chemistry and microbiology as well as plant physiology. In 1949 the name of the centre was changed to “Institute of Soil Science and Plant Physiology”. In 1990 the centre suffered a strong restructuring in order to adapt it to the growing importance of environmental issues, changing its name to “Centre of Environmental Sciences (CCMA)”. In 2004 a new restructuring created two new Institutes: “Institute of Natural Resources (IRN)” and “Institute of Agricultural Sciences (ICA)”. In 2010 the IRN was closed, incorporating some IRN research groups to ICA.