This is a unipersonal body with governing and executive responsibilities. It presides over the Governing Board and holds the institutional representation of the CSIC.  The appointment and dismissal of the Presidency is by agreement of the Council of Ministers following the proposal of the Minister for Science, Innovation and Universities.

Rosa Menéndez López

Rosa Menéndez was appointed President of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) by agreement of the Council of Ministers on 17th November 2017. Previously, she was Vice-President for Scientific and Technical Research between 2007 and 2008 at the CSIC and, prior her appointment as President she was the institutional delegate of CSIC in Asturias, Cantabria and the Basque Country. 

In 1980 she graduated in Chemistry at Oviedo University and she obtained her PhD degree in Chemistry at the same university in 1986. Between 1987 and 1988 she was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne (UK). In 1988 she began her professional career at CSIC as a Tenured Scientist and in 2000 she was appointed Research Scientist. Since 2003 she has held the position of Full Research Professor.

From 2003 to 2008 she was the Director of the Instituto Nacional del Carbón (INCAR-CSIC) in Oviedo. She has held positions as researcher at the School of Environmental and Mining Engineering in Nottingham (UK); at the Department of Chemical Engineering at the Imperial College in London (UK); at the Department of Chemical Engineering at the Clemson University in South Carolina (USA); at the Geology Department at the Southern Illinois University in Carbondale (USA); and at the Northern Carbon Research Laboratories in Newcastle upon Tyne (UK).

Currently she is Vice-President of Science Europe and, throughout her professional career, she has been President of the European Carbon Association (ECA); member of the Advisory Board of the multinational SASOL; President of the Grupo Español del Carbón; coordinator of the Materials and Energy Programme within the Spanish National Plan for Research, Development and Innovation; member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Spanish chemical company Nalon; member of the International Committee on Coal and Organic Petrology (ICCP); member of the Spanish Technical Committee for Standardisation (AENOR); member of the Governing Board of the ISPA (Health Research Institute of Asturias); member of the CNEAI (Spanish National Commission for the Evaluation of Research Activity) and member of the Governing Board of the AEI (Spanish State Research Agency).

Rosa Menéndez has also actively participated in the design and assessment of different activities for the European Union as a member of the High-Level Group of the Governance of the European Research Area (ERA) and also as a member of the Technical and Exploitation Advisory Committee of the project DECARBit and the Committee of the Carbon and Steel Programme (RFCS). She has been president and vice-president in expert committees for the review of the non-nuclear energy programme in the 5th and 6th Framework Programmes and served as a proposals reviewer for different calls under the 5th, 6th and 7th Framework Programmes.

In recent years, in addition to her scientific interest in coal and oil clean technologies, she has initiated a new research line on the perspectives offered by graphene in biomedicine and energy storage, a topic on which she has worked with companies such as DROPSENS, the Spanish chemical company Nalón and the Fernández-Vega Foundation.  

Rosa Menéndez has participated in more than 30 research projects, with broad industrial participation, 23 of them as Principal Investigator, nine of which have been funded under the European Union Framework Programmes for Research and Innovation and by the Research Fund for Coal and Steel. Furthermore, she has published more than 200 papers in international high impact scientific journals. She is the author of 10 patents and has directed 20 PhD thesis dissertations and 22 Master's theses in the fields of materials, chemistry and energy.
Rosa Menéndez has been awarded numerous distinctions such as the 19th DuPont Science Award in recognition of the work undertaken in the study and development of new carbon materials with significant industrial applications and the Scientific Career Award of the Spanish Materials Association, received in 2016; the XV San Alberto Magno Prize for scientific excellence, awarded by the College of Chemists of Asturias and León and the Association of Chemists of the Principado de Asturias and Prize for Chemical Excellence 2018, awarded by the Colegios Oficiales de Químicos de España (Board of the Official Colleges of Chemists of Spain), both in recognition of her outstanding professional career. Other acknowledgments include having been nominated Asturiana del Mes (“Asturian of the month”, November 2018) by Nueva España and Honorary Citizen of her city of birth, Cudillero, since 2019.