Severo Ochoa Center

  Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas   Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía   Excelencia Severo Ochoa   HR Excellence in Research


The Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia (IAA-CSIC) has obtained the Severo Ochoa Center of Excellence distinction, an accreditation that recognizes the centers that carry out basic border research and are among the best in the world in their area of ​​work. They stand out for their high competitiveness, their ambitious strategic plans, high quality production and great capacity to attract talent. Endowed with a budget of one million euros annually for four years, the badge forms part of the Subprogram of Institutional Strengthening of the State Plan for Scientific and Technical Research and Innovation.

The Severo Ochoa centers have been selected for their trajectory in the five years of reference quoted in the call and their strategic programs, after a rigorous evaluation by an international committee made up of top-level researchers and renowned prestige in their respective fields. This guarantees the quality, the level of excellence and the impact of the research carried out by the selected centers.

The Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia (IAA-CSIC) is the only Andalusian center with the Severo Ochoa distinction.

Severo Ochoa Centers


SO-IAA project

The IAA holds a solid and unique position in astrophysics and space research in Spain, being the largest astrophysics research center in the CSIC. Its multidisciplinarity and experience in multi-range astronomy favor the existence of transversal synergic projects.

Our stated objective is to transform the IAA into one of the leading institutes of astrophysics and space science in Europe and to develop its research and structure at a level such that the IAA is placed in a privileged position for the exploitation of the next generation of advanced experiments and innovators. For this, we will take advantage of the opportunities offered by our Calar Alto Observatory (CAHA) management to occupy unique niches in observational astronomy and continue to use it as a technological test bed. We will strengthen our position in participation in international space missions, such as JUICE or Solar Orbiter. We will focus on participation in the SKA, an international effort to build the largest and most sensitive radio telescope in the world, which will play a transformative role in astrophysics. We will also participate in the instrumentation for the European Extremely Large Telescope (ELT), the largest optical telescope to date (class 40m). On the way to these long-term objectives, we will carry out preparatory work for the SKA through the scientific exploitation of its precursors currently in operation and under construction (MeeRKAT, ASKAP, JVLA, LOFAR) and we will operate the telescopic facilities of the European Southern Observatory (ESO) .

The technological development achieved in recent years has allowed to reach an angular resolution in the observations of the order of tens of milliseconds of arc (even better with very long base interferometry), which correspond approximately to the Earth-Sun distance in the regions of formation of the closest massive stars and they are sufficient to separate individual stars in galaxies of the local group. Likewise, it has been possible to reach spectral resolution limits of the order of 1 m / s, which allows us to detect planets similar to the Earth around nearby stars. CARMENES is particularly competitive in this context, since it has been specially designed for the detection of planets similar to the Earth in contrast to other existing instruments. Combined with our better understanding of complex chemistry and the corresponding spectroscopic signatures of planetary atmospheres, this means that we are now in a position to connect the minute to the big and explore the interrelationship between planets, stars and galaxies, not only at multiple wavelengths. wave, but also on multiple scales that span many spatial scales. With this perspective in mind, our scientific strategy will be based on three strategic lines that focus on and intertwine increasing spatial scales:

  1. Planetary systems and atmospheres, star-planet interactions
  2. Accretion, star formation, and environment as drivers of galaxy evolution, and their cosmological context
  3. State-of-the-art instrumentation and facilities



External scientific advisory committee

  • Prof. You-Ha Chu. Academia Sinica, Institute of astronomy and Astrophysics. ASIAA.
  • Prof. Athena Coustenis. CNRS LESIA, Paris-Meudon.
  • Prof. Angeles I. Diaz. Universidad Autonoma de Madrid.
  • Prof. Holland Ford. John Hopkins University, EEUU.
  • Prof. Valentin Martinez Pillet. National Solar Observatory, EEUU.
  • Prof. Michael Perryman. University College Dublin.
  • Prof. Luis Felipe Rodriguez. CRYA, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico.
  • Prof. Eduardo Ros. Max Planck Institut fur Radioastronomie. Alemania.
  • Prof. Nicholas Thomas. Universidad de Berna, Physikalisches Institut.
  • Prof. Silvia Torres Peimbert. Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico.


SO-IAA Support Office

The SO-IAA Support Office aims to support the SO project and the scientific activity of the IAA-CSIC. This structure includes the following areas or fields of work:

  •     SO-IP: International projects
  •     SO-TT: Technology Transfer
  •     SO-VA: Visitor Assistance

The SO-IAA Support Office, in addition to bringing together and coordinating these 3 areas of work, has been assigned the following functions

  1.     Management of the Severo Ochoa project: management of the visitor, colloquia and recruiting programmes; monitoring of the execution of the expenditure; coordination of the document management and economic justification; SOMMa communication;
  2.     Executive assistance to the IAA management in actions related to the strategic plan/SO-IAA
  3.     SO-IAA Institutional Communication
  4.     Coordination of protocol and organization of public events and external activities of the EPI related to the SO-IAA


Given the transversal nature of the work of the SO-IAA Technical Office, in addition to its own associated human resources, the SO-IAA Technical Office works in a coordinated manner and in collaboration with the General Services Unit, the Computing Center, the Communication Unit and the Instrumental and Technological Development Unit of the IAA-CSIC. The SO-IAA Technical Office reports and is accountable to the following committee members: SO Director: IAA Director, SO Scientific Director and IAA Manager.

Contact person: Alicia Pelegrina (Head of the SO-IAA Support Office):

severoochoa [at] iaa.es

Severo Ochoa Center of Excellence Distinction 2018-2022