Global Area: LIFE

The global area LIFE covers research activities related to biomedicine, the environment, agriculture, food and, in general, everything related to living organisms and the global processes of the Earth system that surrounds us.


The Global Area LIFE is the largest and most diverse research organization in Life Sciences in Spain and enjoys great prestige among the European scientific community. Currently, the Global Area LIFE is made up of more than 6,600 people, 1,833 are research staff, who work in 1,330 groups, found in 62 research institutes located in all Spanish Autonomous Communities. An integrated vision of life science research allows establishing priority areas and designing new transversal action strategies on such important topics as sustainable development, climate change, precision and personalized medicine, food for the future or healthy aging, understanding that this activity converges and complements those developed in the Global Areas Society and Materia.

Within the Global Area LIFE, research in cellular and molecular biology and biomedicine occupies a central role. Structural biology, biophysics, regulation of gene expression and epigenetics, pathophysiology, cell biology, infectious and rare diseases, neurobiology, cancer, immunology, genomics and metagenomics, synthetic biology and bioinformatics are some of the disciplines to highlight in which our scientists develop activities of great impact and translational value.

Within the Agriculture sub-area, we work in the physiology, biochemistry, genomics and biotechnology of plants and animals. The priority in the rational use of water and edaphic resources is fundamental in the investigation of agricultural systems, as well as the generation of knowledge in plant and animal health in order to cope with existing pathologies and establish protection measures against emerging diseases.

Environmental research has as key mission to contribute to the understanding of the global processes of Planet Earth and the beings that inhabit it, analyzing the structure and functioning of nature from the systematic description of Geo- and Biodiversity, of the evolutionary processes and the response of terrestrial, oceanic and atmospheric systems. Research in the Ocean analyzes and defines the health of marine ecosystems for the sustainable management of its resources and services. Biodiversity and Global Change are essential thematic axes to manage ecosystems and mitigate the effects of systemic and cumulative changes in the dynamics of the planet.

In the field of Food, research is carried out from a global approach perspective, which includes the production of food in the primary sector to conservation, transformation, processing and distribution and, finally, the final consumer. At the same time, it contributes to accredit quality and food safety and sustainability, as well as optimal nutrition and disease prevention through diet.

As singular resources, we can mention plant, cell and microorganism collections, disease models, unique bio-geodiversity collections in centers such as the Real Jardín Botánico (Royal Botanic Gardens) and the Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales (National Museum of Natural Sciences), experimental and animal farms and intelligent technologies for food production. For the activity of CSIC, the singular facilities such as the fleet of ships managed by the Marine Technology Unit, the Juan Carlos I Antarctic Base and other relevant Unique Scientific-Technical Infrastructures (ICTS) must be highlighted.