About us



The Instituto de Salud Carlos III (Institute of Health Carlos III, ISCIII) was created under Article 111 of the General Health Act (Ley General de Salud) 14/1986 of 25 April to provide scientific and technical support to the Spanish Government and to the Health Services of the Autonomous Communities. Until 2008 the Institute reported to the Ministry of Health. In accordance with the aforementioned Law and with Law 13/1986 on the promotion and general coordination of scientific and technical research, the ISCIII was set up as an independent state body as defined by Law 6/1997 on the organisation and operation of the General State Administration, and Law 50/1988 on fiscal, administrative and social order measures and as a Public Research Entity as defined by Law 37/1988 on the General State Budget.


In accordance with final provision 13 of the aforementioned law the following institutions were placed under the control of the Institute:

  • Centro Nacional de Microbiología, Virología e Inmunología Sanitaria (National Microbiology, Virology and Immunology Centre).
  • Centro Nacional de Sanidad y la Escuela de Gerencia Hospitalaria (National Health Centre and School of Hospital Management).
  • Centro Nacional de Farmacobiología (National Pharmacobiology Centre).
  • Centro Nacional de Alimentación y Nutrición (National Diet and Nutrition Centre).
  • Hospital del Rey complex.


The ISCIII is the successor to a number of national centres and schools nationals created throughout the twentieth century, preceded by two national centres founded in the late nineteenth century to address public health issues, the National Vaccination Institute (1871) and the National Institute of Bacteriology and Hygiene (1894).

Key milestones leading to the creation of the ISCIII:


  • Escuela Nacional de Sanidad, 1922
  • Escuela Nacional de Medicina del Trabajo, 1948.
  • Centro Nacional de Virología y Ecología Sanitarias, 1967
  • Escuela Nacional de Administración Sanitaria, 1970
  • Centro Nacional de Salud Ambiental, 1974


Some institutes became independent after the ISCIII was set up:


  • Agencia Nacional del Medicamento,
  • Agencia Nacional de Alimentación y Nutrición,
  • Hospital Carlos III, 2003


While some new institutes were created:


  • Centro Nacional de Epidemiología, 1988
  • Agencia de Evaluación de Tecnologías Sanitarias, 1994
  • Centro Nacional de Medicina Tropical, 2001
  • Instituto de Investigación en Enfermedades Raras, 2003


With the integration of the Social Security Institute's Fondo de Investigación Sanitaria (FIS) in the ISCIII in 1994, the process of establishing the structure and functions of the ISCIII were concluded. The FIS, created in 1980 by the Ministry of Health and Consumer Affairs, was the successor of the Comisión Administradora del Descuento Complementario created in 1968 by the Instituto Nacional de Previsión.


In addition to managing FIS application procedures, which were incorporated into the Health Research and Development Strategy of the National R+D+I Plan in 2006, the ISCIII has implemented a range of initiatives to promote research in the National Health System, to develop links between hospitals, universities, the CSIC and the private sector, and to further the aims of translational research.


The innovations introduced by the ISCIII include:

  • The creation from 1998 of National Centres managed by Foundations.
    • CNIO1998
    • CNIC 1998
    • CIEN 2003
  • The creation from 2003 of Thematic Networks for Cooperative Research in Health (RETICS)
  • The creation from 2006 of 9 consortiums to manage the Centres for Networked Biomedical Research (CIBERS).
  • Creation of the consortium to support clinical research (CAIBER), 2008.
  • Agreements with Autonomous Communities (Regenerative Medicine), 2005.
  • Creation of technical scientific services platforms (clinical trials, biobanks, technological innovation, genomics, proteomics, bioinformatics, National DNA Bank).
  • Participation in the EU framework programme ERA-NET projects (2000)
  • Participation in the European Commission's Joint Programming (2009)

® Instituto de Salud Carlos III