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Host agreements with foreign researchers and other procedures

Host agreements with foreign researchers

In line with Spanish Organic Law 4/2000 , of 11 January, on the rights and freedoms of foreigners in Spain and their social integration (Article 38.b), research organisations that would like to sign host agreements with foreign researchers to carry out research projects should have prior authorisation as research organisations from the Spanish government or the autonomous communities.

As a result, Order CIN/1795/2011, of 28 June, was passed, regulating the requirements for the authorisation of research organisations to sign host agreements with foreign researchers and the regulations for drawing up, updating and publishing the list of authorised research organisations. In line with this Order, some specific research organisations that meet certain criteria are automatically considered to be authorised, while the remaining private research bodies must be given authorisation. The organisations that are automatically considered to be authorised to sign host agreements due to the nature of their legal status and function are those organisations within the public research system created by the Spanish government, the autonomous community governments or by universities. Specifically, in line with Article 3.2 of the abovementioned Order:

Those universities that are listed in the Register of Universities, Centres and Qualifications, which is regulated by Royal Decree 1509/2008, of 12 September.

  1. Public organisations that are dependent on the Spanish or an autonomous community government.
  2. Technology centres that are listed in the Register of Technology Centres, regulated by Royal Decree 2093/2008, of 19 December, governing technology centres and technological innovation support centres on a national level and creating the registry of such centres.


Private research organisations not covered by the sections above must apply for authorisation using the procedure set out in Article 4  (CAT) based on this application template, which includes a list of documents to be enclosed.


A number of definitions of terms in relation to the Order in question:

a) Research organisation: Any natural or legal person, public or private in nature, with its main or secondary headquarters in Spain, that carries out technological research and development activities and meets the criteria set out in this Order.

b) Foreigner: Any individual who does not hold Spanish nationality or nationality of another country within the European Union and to whom the conditions set out in Organic Law 4/2000, of 11 January, are applicable, in accordance with Articles 1 and 2 of said law.

c) Research: Creative work carried out systematically with the aim of increasing the volume of knowledge, including knowledge concerning human beings, culture and society, and the use of this knowledge to create new applications.

d) Researcher: Any foreigner with an appropriate higher education qualification allowing access to doctoral programmes who is linked to the research project to which the host agreement relates, selected by a research organisation to carry out said research project.

 The appendix to the legal order mentioned above (Order CIN/1795/2911, of 28 June) includes the list of research organisations considered authorised to enter into host agreements due to their legal status and function. This list also includes other private research organisations that must receive prior authorisation from the autonomous community governments. The list is available by going to the right-hand side of the website of the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness in the section on the matter of signing host agreements for foreign researchers. The autonomous community bodies with authority over this matter will communicate any changes or updates to be included in the list to the Directorate General for Technology Transfer and Business Development of the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness.


In Catalonia, the body with authority to grant these authorisations to those entities that need them and that have their legal headquarters in Catalonia is the Directorate General for Research of the Ministry of Economy and Knowledge, as set out in Order ECO/271/2011, of 14 October (Official Journal of the Government of Catalonia (DOGC) No. 5990 of 24/10/2011).  

Applications should be made to:

Directorate General for Research
Ministry for Business and Knowledge
Via Laietana, 2
08003 Barcelona


Further information:
Directorate General for Research
Research Structures Service
Tel. 93 552 67 35

On the other hand, if what is required is an application for consideration as a centre for R&D of recognised prestige or a unit for research and development within a business entity with headquarters in Spain, in line with the regulations set out in the Aliens Law (RD 557/2011, of 20 April), an application can be made to the  Directorate General for Research using this application template, which includes a list of documents   (CAT) to be provided.

Update:  28.04.2015