Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad - Gobierno de España Secretaría de Estado de Investigación, Desarrollo e Innovación - Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad - Gobierno de España

Ciencia e innovación

Severo Ochoa” Centres of Excellence and “María de Maeztu” Units of Excellence. Accreditation and Support

The “Center of Excellence Severo Ochoa” and “Unit of Excellence Maria de Maeztu” Award, within the subprogram of Institutional Strengthening of the State Plan for Scientific and Technical Research and Innovation, aims to fund and accredit public research centers and units on any areas that demonstrate scientific leadership and impact at global level, as well as active collaboration in their social and business environment.

The Centers of Excellence Severo Ochoa and Units of Excellence Maria de Maeztu are organizational structures with highly competitive strategic research programmes in the frontiers of knowledge. They are among the best in the world in their respective scientific areas.

The evaluation and selection process is carried out by an independent international committee of prestigious scientists with high impact.

Below there is a list of the centers and units ordered by scientific area in alphabetical order:

"Life Sciences"


Logotipo CNIC
Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares (CNIC)
Logotipo CNIO
Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Oncológicas (CNIO)
Logotipo IRB
Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona)
Logotipo AGR
Centre de Regulacio Genomica (CRG)
Logotipo EBD
Estación Biológica de Doñana (EBD)
Logotipo CNB
Centro Nacional de Biotecnología (CNB)
Logotipo IN
Instituto de Neurociencias de Alicante (IN)
Logotipo IBEC
Institut de Bioenginyeria de Catalunya (IBEC)
Logotipo CRAG
Centre de Recerca en Agrigenomica (CRAG)


Logotipo DCCEXS
Departamento de Ciencias Experimentales y de la Salud (DCEXS)
Logotipo SBU
Unidad de Biología Estructural (SBU)
Logotipo ICTA
Institut de Ciencia i Tecnologia Ambientals (ICTA)

“Mathematics, Experimental Sciences and Engineering”


Logotipo BSC
Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC-CNS)
Logotipo ICMAT
Instituto de Ciencias Matemáticas (ICMAT)
Logotipo bcam
Basque Center for Applied Mathematics (BCAM)
Logotipo IAC
Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC)
Logotipo ICFO
Instituto de Ciencias Fotónicas (ICFO)
Logotipo IFT
Instituto de Fisica Teorica (IFT)
Logotipo IFAE
Institut d' Fisica d Altes Energies (IFAE)
Logotipo IFIC
Instituto de Física Corpuscular (IFIC)
Logotipo ITQ
Instituto de Tecnología Química (ITQ)
Logotipo ICIQ
Instituto Catalán de Investigación Química (ICIQ)
Logotipo ICN2
Instituto Catalán de Nanociencia y Nanotecnología (ICN2)
Logotipo ICMAB
Instituto de Ciencia de Materiales de Barcelona (ICMAB)


Logotipo BGSMath
Barcelona Graduate School of Mathematics (BGSMath)
Logotipo IFIMAC
Centro de Investigación de Física de la Materia Condensada (IFIMAC)
Logotipo CIEMAT
Física de Partículas
Logotipo ICCUB
Institut de Ciències del Cosmos (ICCUB)
Logotipo ICMOL
Instituto de Ciencia Molecular (ICMOL)
Logotipo DTIC-UPF
Departamento Tecnologías de la Información y las Comunicaciones (DTIC-UPF)

"Humanities and Social Sciences"


Logotipo Barcelona GSE
Graduate School of Economics (Barcelona GSE)
Logotipo BCBL
Basque Center on Cognition Brain and Language (BCBL)


Logotipo Economics_UC3M.jpg
Departamento de Economía

More information

The award is valid for four years with possibility of renewal. It funds with four million euros the centers and two million euros the units in the given period.

Centres/Units of Excellence

The Programme targets those centres or units that, while meeting the prerequisites of the Programme, carry out cutting-edge basic research and are among the world's best in their respective areas. Networks of centres or units are excluded.

The centres or units that apply to this programme must demonstrate that their research fulfills the programme’s requirements for excellence and that they:

  • Have a high level of competitiveness and impact in their field of activity on the world scientific scene.
  • Submit their research activities to periodic scientific assessment by external and independent scientific committees.
  • Carry out their research activities under a strategic programme designed to generate pioneering knowledge.
  • Attract, select and train human resources at the international level.
  • Maintain active collaboration and exchange agreements at the institutional level with high-level research centers.
  • Work to boost knowledge transfer and dissemination to society.

The Benefits of Accreditation

Accreditation as a “Severo Ochoa Centre of Excellence” or “María de Maeztu Unit of Excellence” has a duration of four years and includes:

  • One million Euros per year for each of the centres in this period. 500.000 Euros per year for each of the units. This funding has a high degree of flexibility and its use should be determined by duly justified strategic criteria for the accredited center.
  • Priority access to other initiatives of the Secretariat of State for Research, Development and Innovation to promote research, provided that the pertinent principles of transparency and competition are observed.
  • A boost to the reputation and social and scientific recognition of each centre that strengthens it as a candidate for patronage, among other benefits.

Scientific Leadership

Each “Severo Ochoa” Centre of Excellence or “María de Maeztu” Unit of Excellence must have a Scientific Director, who is not necessarily the director of the institution. The Scientific Director should perform research at the highest standards and also have a significant capacity for leadership in the management of research.

“Severo Ochoa” Centres of Excellence or “María de Maeztu” Units of Excellence must be centres or units of reference and clear examples of the quality and relevance of the pioneering scientific research carried out in Spain. As such, they should serve to lead and energize the Spanish research system as a whole and boost its international profile.


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