The National Institute for Agricultural and Food Research and Technology (INIA) and agrifood research in Spain.
(See INIA presentation)
The National Institute for Agricultural and Food Research and Technology (INIA) is an autonomous Public Research Organisation (OPI) assigned to the General Research Secretariat of the Ministry of Science and Innovation. It's the only public research organisation of the National State Administration exclusively dedicated to agrifood and forestry research.
INIA's mission, in coordination with the equivalent institutions of the Autonomous Regions is to contribute to continuous and sustainable progress through development of environmentally friendly technologies. Its priority objectives are to satisfy the new research demands on agricultural, livestock and forestry production, mitigate the effects of global change and contribute to food safety and the fight against hunger in line with the Objectives of the Millennium.
At the conclusion of the process of transfer of responsibilities in research activities to the Autonomous Regional Governments, The Research Coordination Commission INIA-Autonomous Regions, chaired by INIA's Director, was created in 1987 with the objective of optimizing the cooperation and coordination of agrifood R&D&i between the National State Administration and the Autonomous Regions. In this platform, research priorities are identified and common needs and interests are aligned with the resources available, in order to maximise synergies among the various centres and institutions and provide the Spanish agrifood research with a unique cohesion instrument to meet the challenges of the Spanish agrifood sector.
INIA manages through the Deputy Directorate General of Prospective and Programme Coordination the National Subprogramme for Agricultural Resources and Technologies in coordination with the Autonomous Regions, within the National R&D&i Plan managed by the ministry of Economy and Competitiveness.
Execution of R&D&i
INIA's lines of research are directed towards addressing the economic and social demands of the agrifood sector according to the guidelines of the National R&D&i Plan. Priorities are established by the Research Coordination Commission.
INIA executes its R&D&i mandate in the following areas:
Plant Production and Protection. Improvement of agricultural productivity and quality through an understanding of the biotic and abiotic factors that limit its potential productivity, as well as conservation of the genetic resources on which food production depends.
Animal Production and Health. Improvement of livestock productivity and quality through conservation and breeding of the genetic characters of the national herd and improvement of the reproductive processes. INIA operates a Biosafety 3 Facility (BSL-3) to work on high risk contagious diseases.
Forestry. Multifunctional management of forest systems, conservation strategies of genetic resources, species adaptability, biomass production for energy use, sink effect of forestry systems and products and fire prevention.
Food Quality and Safety. Improvement of microbiological safety and nutritional quality of food products, whether plant, dairy or meat, as well as of technological processes.
Environment. Research lines focused on agriculture's environmental impact, including identification and analysis, control, minimisation, usage of residues and restoration measures.
INIA's Deputy Directorate General of Research and Technology has responsibility for the execution of research programmes in the agrifood sector of the national R&D&i Plan, as well as those funded by other organisations. INIA carries out its research responsibilities in its various Centres and Departments.
Its activities in research, innovation and technology transfer are highly competitive with comparable institutions in Spain and worldwide.
INIA has a clear calling for technology transfer to the private sector, through cooperation agreements and R&D&i contracts, as well as licensing of agricultural varieties obtained by INIA or the institutions of the Autonomous Regions.
INIA and the Autonomous Regional governments have undertaken the creation of Centres of Scientific-Technological Competence, promoting technological platforms. Among them, a technological platform for the meat sector, the CECOC-PTC (Catalonia) and a Centre of Scientific-Technological Competence in management and forestry products, the CRCOC-PF (Basque Country).
INIA carries out an important role in the dissemination of knowledge through publication of books, monographs, bulletins, etc. Of special interest is publication of two scientific journals which enjoy wide international distribution and recognition: Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research and Forest Systems.
Internationalization of the Spanish R&D&i is one of our future challenges. Of special significance is the scientific and technological cooperation with Latin America through a permanent forum with INIA's counterparts in those countries and as a member of the Regional Fund for Agricultural Technology (FONTAGRO) to finance competitive R&D in agriculture. These actions are intended to contribute to increased competitiveness of agrifood chains in Latin America and the Caribbean.
At the European level INIA is a member of the Standing Committee on Agricultural Research (SCAR) for the formulation of priorities of the EU Framework Programs. At the global level INIA participates in programs carried out by the centres of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) such as CIMMYT, CIP, CIAT, etc., which form an international network dedicated to the fight against hunger and poverty in the world in a manner compatible with respect for the environment.
Budget. The approved budget for the INIA within the State Budget for 2012 is 78.1million Euros. This figure increases with funds from other sources such as agreements, contracts, ERDF program and European projects.
Infrastructure. INIA has in the Autonomous Community of Madrid three centres (including an internationally recognized Biosafety Facility), six research departments and the Technical Directorate for the Evaluation of Varieties and Plant Protection Products. In other Autonomous Regions, INIA has created in 2008 the Centre for Food Quality (Soria), the Centre for Organic and Mountain Agriculture (CAEM) in Plasencia (Cáceres) and the National R&D Center for Iberian Swine in Zafra (Badajoz)
Personnel. INIA has a team of nine hundred people, of whom about six hundred are directly involved in research activities.