The Institute for Advanced Social Studies (IESA) is based in Córdoba (Andalusia, Spain) and is part of the largest public research body in Spain, the National Research Council. Since its inception in 1993 it has been engaged in research on matters relating to social reality and has pursued interests in a wide range of fields.
IESA’s initial research output focused on Andalusian agrarian issues, development strategies and actors thereof, soon expanding to include studies on political participation, the social dimension of health, the conditions favouring RDI, as well as work analysing the compatibility of socioeconomic development and wildlife species conservation. At present, all these lines coexist in the TRAMAS, DEMOCRETS and IBC and Innovation research groups.
Soon after its foundation, the Institute was consolidated as a mixed research centre through an agreement between the National Research Council and the Regional Government of Andalusia. With this agreement as the pillar, Andalusian society was at the centre of a considerable part of the research output during the first twenty-five years of the Institute’s existence, with special emphasis on applied research and knowledge transfer. A significant portion of IESA’s activity has come to be an important reference in public policies developed by institutions and of significance for public opinion.
Barometers of different social dimensions and the analysis and evaluation of public policies were central, while other investigations with a theoretical and territorial scope were carried out in parallel and in connection with European research groups, leading to relevant methodological innovation, particularly in terms of surveys. This intense and productive trajectory was recognised in 2005 with the XI Plácido Fernández Viagas Prize for Andalusian Research (Premio Andalucía de Investigación sobre Temas Andaluces Plácido Fernández Viagas), awarded by the Reginal Government of Andalusia.
In addition, the centre took over the publication of the Revista Internacional de Sociología (RIS), a journal which integrates numerous disciplines in the current intellectual debate – sociology, political science, social policy, economy, anthropology and social and moral philosophy – with particular emphasis on issued pertinent in Spain and South America.
As well as disseminating epistemological, empirical and theorical scientific work – its main objective – RIS also acts as a think-thank and space for moral philosophical debate on important matters affecting citizens, and publishes articles in English and Spanish.
Since 2010, IESA has channelled its efforts towards reinforcing the four principal lines of research mentioned above, with greater attention to competitive investigation in relation to other research bodies. This has proved to be a very positive turn, leading to continuous improvement of research results and overall achievement of the annual targets set by the National Research Council.
Thanks to its background, the Institute is undoubtedly a treasure-trove of research experience in a wide scope of social spaces and growing internationalisation, while at the same time boasting the relevant methodological foundation. All of this is characteristic of a new era for IESA when it is once again solely under CSIC’s auspices, after the finalisation of the agreement with the Regional Government of Andalusia that brought to an end the Institute’s status as a mixed research centre.
IESA is nowadays a firmly consolidated centre with permanent staff, an extensive array of research areas (compatibility of animal species and human activity in rural surroundings, political participation, social dimensions of health, social spaces for RDI), an advanced methodological capacity (highlighted by the work of the Technical Unit of Applied Studies, recognised by CSIC as a Scientific and Technical Services Unit), commitment to scientific dissemination, and growing internationalisation.