Our roots


A brief history of the Institute of Marine Sciences

A brief history of the Institute of Marine Sciences

The Fisheries Research Institute
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The Fisheries Research Institute (Instituto de Investigaciones Pesqueras) was created on October 3 under the direction of Dr. Francisco García del Cid. This Institute consisted of a group of laboratories distributed along the Spanish coast, with two main lines of marine research: marine biology and renewable marine resources.

The scientific journal of the IIP
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The scientific journal of the Fisheries Research Institute was created under the name Investigación Pesquera (now Scientia Marina).

Barcelona laboratory
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A new building was built for the Barcelona laboratory in the Barceloneta district: the ground floor was fitted out as aquarium open to the public, and the upper floors as research laboratories.

The CSIC's first oceanographic vessel
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The CSIC's first oceanographic vessel was launched with the name of the first director of the ICM, García del Cid.

Labs and equiptment at the IIP.  Jordi Salat (1975)
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The Institute changed its name to the Institute of Marine Sciences (Institut de Ciències del Mar, ICM), expanding its research lines with the creation of the departments of Physical Oceanography and Marine Geology.

First Spanish Antarctic station, Juan Carlos I
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A group of scientists from the ICM set up the first Spanish Antarctic station, the Juan Carlos I.

CMIMA building in 2001
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A new building was inaugurated in the Olympic Village district of Barcelona and the Mediterranean Marine and Environmental Research Center (CMIMA) was set up. The CMIMA comprises the Institute of Marine Sciences (ICM) and the Marine Technology Unit (UTM), a unit to provide support to the Spanish R+D+I policy and marine and polar technology (previously known as UGBO). The new ICM facilities include the first Aquaria and Experimental Chamber Facility and several new scientific and technological services.

SMOS satellite
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The Barcelona Expert Center (BEC) is created to prepare data processing for the European Space Agency's SMOS mission (Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity), which was eventually launched to space in 2009.

BCSI geophysics
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The Barcelona Center for Subsurface Imaging (Barcelona-CSI) initiates   a long-term alliance with Repsol for technology transfer in the field of geophysics with the Kaleidoscope project.

Computing cluster at ICM
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The ICM develops a data processing facility to boost bioinformatics, genomics and modeling in marine sciences.

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The Institut Català de Recerca per a la Governança del Mar (ICATMAR) is created as a cooperation institution between ICM and the Department of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Food from the Generalitat de Catalunya, with the aim of developing a science-based policy for sea governance towards a sustainable management of marine resources.

CEAC - Scientific Advisory Board
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In November 2018 the Scientific Advisory Board is created, with the objective of overseeing the ICM’s progress and making strategic recommendations. The Board, formed by 10 internationally recognized researchers, held its first meeting on March 2019.

EU Blue Economy
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The ICM is appointed as the headquarters of the Generalitat de Catalunya ‘Xarxa Marítima’ (BlueNetCat), an intersectoral collaborative network aimed at creating a pole of transfer and innovation on Blue Economy in Catalonia.

The ICM sets up its first Social Board, with the objective of reinforcing ICM’s links with society, by promoting the transfer of knowledge, increasing the citizen participation in research and enhancing its commitment to improving the health and sustainability of our planet.

Excelencia SO
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2020 - 2023

The ICM becomes the first research center in marine sciences to obtain the The “Center of Excellence Severo Ochoa” Award.


In 2021 the first Gender Equality Plan is presented. The plan seeks to generate a structural change that adopts the principle of gender equality as a transversal axis throughout the institution.

Books about our history