Origin of ICMAB


The seeds of the Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona (ICMAB) are found in the 80's around the research in Crystallography developed at the Department of Crystallography and Mineralogy of the University of Barcelona (UB), presided first by Prof. J.L. Amorós, who left the Department to become Full Professor at the University of Sant Louis, and then by Prof. Font Altaba, who replaced him. 

The research lines were continued by the Group of Materials and Crystallography of the Institute of Earth Sciences “Jaume Almera” of the CSIC (ICTJA), which was lead by Prof. Carles Miravitlles, after having left the UB.


After the UAB allocated land to the CSIC for the construction of the future Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona, two more groups joined the initiative: one from the Department of Chemistry of the UAB, run at that moment by Prof. Jaume Casabó and Dr. Francesc Teixidor, and the other one from the Department of Physics run by Prof. Jordi Pascual, which in principle had to be part of the new Institute, but retracted in the end. Finally, one more group got involved in the project: the CID group of Organic Chemistry, which was also part of the CSIC, led by Prof. Jaume Veciana.

ICMAB Founding

The Institute was founded by the CSIC in 1986 as one of its own centres, and governed by the Board composed by Prof. Heribert Barrera (Ex-President of the Catalan Parliament) and Prof. Carles Miravitlles, appointed Acting Director, who at that moment was the Delegate of the CSIC for Catalonia. Prof. Carles Miravitlles occupied these two positions until 1990.

During that period of time, when the new building was being erected, the Institute headquarters were located at the Jaume Almera Institute (ICTJA), being Prof. J. Casabó the vicedirector and E. Molins the secretary. In 1991, when the new building was inaugurated at the UAB Campus, all the different groups forming the Institute converged in this new centre. As you may well know, for budgetary reasons, the building only had a basement and two floors (its surface specified by the original project had been reduced by a quarter). In the end, Prof. Jordi Pascual (UAB) did not join the Institute.

Mobilizing Plan of Materials Science

The Institute founding by the CSIC was a result of the stipulations contained in the Mobilizing Plan of Materials Science. In order to restructure itself, the CSIC elaborated a series of mobilizing plans (Physics, Chemistry, Materials, etc.) and appointed several Committees of Experts. Prof J.M. Serratosa headed the Committee of Materials, whereas Prof. C. Miravitlles was its secretary. The final document concluded that it was extremely difficult to restructure the Sectoral Institutes (Torroja, CENIM, Polymers, Ceramics and Glasses) and it would be much faster and more practical to found four new institutes of different characteristics depending on where they were located. In this way, one of them was to be in Madrid, which would be its own centre and the biggest of all; another one in Barcelona, also as its own centre but presided by the Board of UAB, UB, Generalitat, Ministry of Industry; one in Seville and one in Saragossa coordinated by their Universities.

12th of April 1991

Once the Mobilizing Plans were approved, with the aim of planning what the new Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona would be like, a Committee was established formed by Prof. J. Casabó, Prof. C. Miravitlles, Prof. J. Veciana, Prof. J.M. Tura, Prof. A. Traveria, and Prof. J. Pascual. Eventually, the document which led to creating this committee by the CSIC was signed.

On the 26th of June 1986 the CISC founded the New Institute which, following the CSIC’s own nomenclature, was named the Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona (ICMAB). Many CSIC and UAB Researchers and Technicians were part of this Institute in the beginning. 

The official inauguration of the building took place the 12th of April 1991.

Carles Miravitlles
ICMAB Director 1986-2008


Institut de Ciència de Materials de Barcelona
Campus de la UAB 08193 Bellaterra, SPAIN

Tel: +(34) 935 801 853
Fax: +(34) 935 805 729
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