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History of IIT

The first centenary of the ICAI coincides with the 25th anniversary of its most beloved offspring: the Institute for Research in Technology (IIT), created on March 6, 1984. As indicated in the minutes of the meeting of the Governing Board, the core initial investigators formed the group dedicated to the area of energy in the late Technological Institute for Postgraduates (ITP). The ITP project emerged in 1974 to bring to Spain the academic-business collaboration structure from the American postgraduate. The ITP was funded by Spanish companies and driven by Antonio Barrera de Irimo, Minister of Finance, President of Telefónica and the Board of trustees at ICAI. He sent to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston about 40 graduates in engineering and applied sciences to study and research in that institution and bring to Spain its innovative spirit and quality of research, to make them serve a thriving industry Postgraduates Institute of Technology. The group completed their training, but did not finish their final purpose, as Spain in the 70's and 80's was focused on political change and lacked public instruments to support research.

Ignacio Pérez Arriaga, ICAI engineer and professor at the School of Engineering (ICAI), was in the group sent to MIT. Since his return in 1981, he had made compatible lectures at ICAI and research for ITP. He had innovated in his subject, Projects for Power System Specialty, and had some emerging research projects with ITP in collaboration with his students. These group will constitute the first nucleus of the IIT.

In February 1984, Pérez Arriaga proposed to the Board of the university to create an own institute. His idea was accepted immediately. IIT was created and Pérez Arriage as promotor was nominated for director, and started with the researchers Emilio Buquerín, Antonio Fernández, Tomás Gómez San Román, Carmen Illan, Javier Jarauta, Daniel Lanzas, Antonio Lozano, Francisco Nieto, Andrés Ramos, Carlos Román and María Jose González Balandín. Most of them were ICAI engineers, and also from Polytechnic and science graduates. Alongside previous research projects with ITP, the first project of IIT was on methods of pricing power in the United States, José María Arraiza developed for Union Fenosa and would be the starting point for the new Spanish regulatory framework of 1987. More projects for Endesa, Spanish Hydroelectric, Iberduero and Red Electrica follow that initial project on pricing. New courses and studies for institutions and Latin American companies also started, being the interconnection of Central America power systems the most relevant project. Meanwhile thesis were becoming similar in quality to those of best foreign universities.

The aim of IIT, part of the School of Engineering (ICAI), is to promote research and postgraduate training in various technological fields through participation in projects for the industry and the administration. Now it has nearly a hundred researchers, of which two thirds are school professors, and the rest researchers in training graduate program of Comillas-ICAI. The IIT has had seven directors, has trained more than 280 researchers, has made more than 1,500 projects, has defended 86 theses and has published more than 1,200 jobs. He has received more than 50 foreign teachers and more than 60 of its members have come to further their studies.

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