The IN, a joint center of the Spanish Research Council (CSIC) and the Universidad Miguel Hernández de Elche (UMH), is today the publicly funded center dedicated to brain research in both normal and pathological conditions in Spain.

This is achieved through a multidisciplinary approach towards the study of the structure, function and development of the nervous system at the molecular, cellular and integrative levels. More than 300 people dedicate all their talent and effort to progress in our understanding of the biological basis of brain function and the mechanisms of brain disease. The IN maintains a balanced ratio between men and women, even at the highest management positions, and a high level of internationality that we are committed to increase to become an international center of reference in neuroscience.


The accreditation as a “Severo Ochoa Center of Excellence” in 2014 and its renewal in 2018 have allowed us to develop an ambitious and multidisciplinary research program, undertake new methodological initiatives and recruit talented young researchers.

Where We Are

The IN is located in the town of Sant Joan d’Alacant, 7 Km from the city of Alicante and less than 3 Km away from the Mediterranean Sea, in a region favoured by an exceptional climate throughout the year. The IN is situated in the Health Sciences Campus of the
UMH, which provides ample opportunity for interaction with the Schools of Medicine and Pharmacy, the University Hospital of San Juan, the Health Sciences Library and other institutions located in the campus.


A bit of history

In 1990, the Valencian Government formally recognized the Instituto de Neurociencias (IN) at the Universidad de Alicante (UA) as a University Institute, constituted by a group of its researchers that, since 1985, had been dedicated to the study of the structure and function of the nervous system. Moving beyond the typical university departmental structure, members of the new Institute began to share not only their ideas but also funding and resources in order to improve their research environment. At the same time, a Ph.D. Program was created to train young scientists in the field of neuroscience.

Five years later, the IN became an “Associated Unit” of the Instituto Cajal del Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), and the first two CSIC research groups moved to the “Associated Unit” in Alicante. In 1996, the Institute along with the School of Medicine was transferred to the newly created University Miguel Hernández of Elche (UMH). During this period the Institute was physically located in the building of the School of Medicine, at the San Juan Campus site.

In 1999, the IN was formally created as a Joint Centre of the UMH and CSIC. Since then, the IN has gathered scientists belonging to both institutions and actively recruited young researchers providing a favorable environment for the creation and consolidation of new groups. In 2001, the UMH initiated the construction of a new building dedicated to house the IN with the support of the Valencian Government. Furniture and laboratory equipment were provided by the CSIC. Researchers moved into the new premises in 2004, whilst building was officially inaugurated on the 26th of September, 2005 by Her Royal Majesty Queen Sofía of Spain.

The years following the relocation of the IN to its current building have seen an important period of expansion, resulting in the IN becoming the largest Spanish institute monographically dedicated to the study of the nervous system and its pathologies. The increase in personnel has been in both young and senior researchers, several of them of recognized international prestige. The IN currently host 33 research groups with more than 250 researchers.

The Consolider-Ingenio research grant received in 2007 provided solid ground for the growth and consolidation of the IN as a national reference in neuroscience research. Later, the acreditation as “Center of Excelence Severo Ochoa” in 2014 and its renewal in 2018 have enabled the consolidation of our project through the development of an ambitious and multidisciplinar research program. In 2019, we celebrated our 20th Anniversary with the strong vocation of continuing growing and progressing towards a better understanding of the brain and its disorders and stay as the flagship of neuroscience research in Spain.

The institute in numbers

IN scientists have achieved both national and international recognition, as evidenced by their participation in multiple national and international programmes, and their success in obtaining competitive international funding and awards. The number and impact of publications place the IN as one of the highest-ranking research centers in Spain, competitive at the European level.


RESEARCH. The IN has contributed throughout its trajectory to many key discoveries presented in publications in internationally prestigious journals with high scientific impact. Thanks to the scientific talent and the quality of their projects, our researchers obtain a high degree of competitive funding that allows us, as an institute, to maintain technologically advanced research support services. The joint participation in the calls for infrastructure, articulating needs and efforts, have served to incorporate the most modern techniques and technologies into the Center, which allow our researchers to carry out the most advanced experiments and progress in the knowledge of the brain on equal terms with our
European and American colleagues. The repercussion of a better understanding of the brain in the construction of the society of the future is enormous. Neuroscience is called to modify human attitudes and customs towards higher levels of well-being, as well as improve adaptation to the new circumstances that humanity faces. The IN aspires to contribute to this task.

We have an external Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) that evaluates our scientific production and advises on the research activity and strategies of the Institute. Our current SAB is chaired by Carmen Sandi (EPEL, Switzerland) and includes Alain Chédotal (Vision Institute, París), María Blasco (CNIO, Spain), Magdalena Götz (MCN, Germany), Cornelius Gross (EMBL,Rome) and Michael Häusser (UCL, UK).

The IN researchers are not only committed to the challenge of understanding how the brain works; the research of many groups has a strong translational orientation. The IN aspires to become a reference in terms of TRANSLATION and collaboration between basic and clinical researchers in different disciplines.

The IN is also firmly committed to INNOVATION. The initiative of the Generalitat Valenciana to create a Valencian Innovation Agency (AVI) to stimulate the transfer of research results to industry and society, has allowed the creation of an associated Scientific Unit for Business Innovation (UCIE) to the IN, called IN.PULSE, which we hope will contribute to increasing the social impact of our research on the Valencian economy and industry, as well as the well-being of citizens. The first results have begun to be evident in this period. The IN is also a teaching institution that wants to spread excellence 10 in academic and technical education in neuroscience. The IN has a strong vocation for TRAINING and EDUCATION and aspires to train new generations of neuroscientists. Our researchers together with the UMH maintains very attractive international Master and PhD programs in Neuroscience. Our PhD program has been awarded with a mention as “Programme of Excellence” by the Ministry of Education and has ran for more than 20 years forming hundreds of neuroscientists, some of which are today leaders in their fields. In addition, during the Academic Year 2015-2016 we started the International Master in Neuroscience: from bench to bedside. This is a one-year course totaling 60 ECTS on both basic and advanced aspects of neuroscience taught by University and CSIC lecturers in collaboration with the Developmental Biology Master of the Institute Pasteur and the University Paris VI (Pierre et Marie Curie).

The training vocation of the IN extends to society in general. The IN organizes various scientific OUTREACH activities, the most notable of which is the celebration of World Brain Week with a week of open doors that in 2019 reached record participation figures (more than 2,500 visitors) and had live radio and television broadcasts of UMH and RNE. In 2020, the pandemic situation caused by COVID-19 forced us to cancel this activity, already very popular in Alicante society, which we hope to resume when possible.

The IN is very active in the establishment of COLLABORATIONS & ALLIANCESwith prestigious international institutes, which allows interchange of researchers, achieve a critical mass of international leadership and access to complementary technologies, and with other institutions and active forces in our society interested in promoting research and education in neurosciences.