Materials Physics Center

About MPC

The MPC - Materials Physics Center - is a non-profit organisation founded by Ikerbasque - Basque Foundation for Science -, the Gipuzkoa Provincial Council - Diputación Foral de Guipuzcoa / Gipuzkoako Foru Aldundia - and Donostia International Physics Center - DIPC. The MPC was first established on 3rd April 2009, and is registered since 23rd April 2009 as a Center for Basic Research and Excellence in the Basque Network for Science, Technology and Innovation.

MPC's long term objective is becoming an intellectual forum and international landmark for excellence in material science. MPC promotes and carries out activities in fundamental and oriented research, thus decisively contributing to knowledge generation based in research excellence, post-graduated training and spreading of popular science.

Since its beginnings, the structural organisation and activities of MPC have been coordinated with those of Centro de Física de Materiales (CFM), which is a joint center by the University of Basque Country (UPV/EHU) and the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC). Indeed, MPC does not intend to be self-sufficient, but rather to remain tightly associated with CFM, and with the public institutions supporting it.


Internal Information System

History and Purpose

`Asociación de Investigación MPC – MATERIALS PHYSICS CENTER´ (henceforth MPC) is a research association founded to foster international excellence in materials nanoscience. MPC was established in 2009 and awarded Basic Excellence Research Centre (BERC) status by the Basque Government in the same year. 

The structural organisation, goals and scientific activity of MPC are totally coordinated and combined with those of Centro de Física de Materiales (CFM,, a joint centre between the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) and the Spanish Council of Scientific Research (CSIC). MPC serves as an instrumental body of activity for CFM. A consistent, intrinsically united and fully complementary directorship of both MPC and CFM is achieved by a joint appointment of the same Director for both bodies.


MPC is a research centre devoted to promote cutting-edge fundamental research on advanced materials, as well as to create new cohorts of highly skilled scientists who can face the challenges of excellence in research of materials science. The overall aim of MPC is to create a scientific and human environment of high quality devoted to excellence in the area of Material Physics research.


The vision of the centre is to become a world reference in topics of special interest in Materials Science and Technology worldwide, developing a focused strategy on specific research topics that can be led from a small scientific community as the one in the Basque Country.

The broad guiding principles of MPC are excellence in fundamental science, training of young scientists, collaborative international approach as well as outreach.


  • To continue developing consistent international relationships and partnerships.
  • To assist scientists focusing their research work towards high overall impact in response to science community and market needs, maintaining the recognised track-record of research achievements and improving the technology transfer approach.
  • To develop young and world-class scientists recruitment strategies.
  • To train scientists in materials science, supporting / participating in scientists training programmes.
  • To increase the visibility of the centre, reinforce science dissemination activities and outreach events.


Asociación de Investigación MPC – MATERIALS PHYSICS CENTER’ (henceforth MPC) is a non-profit research association founded by Ikerbasque - Basque Foundation for Science, Gipuzkoa Provincial Council and Donostia International Physics Center Foundation (DIPC). MPC was established on April 3, 2009, and registered in the Basque Network for Science, Technology and Innovation on April 23, 2009. MPC has been declared as Basic Excellence Research Centre (BERC) in all BERC programme calls of the Basque Government (2009-2012, 2013, 2014-2017, 2018-2021).

The body of governance of MPC-BERC is constituted by the Board of Founder Partners of the MPC Association. The Board of Founder Partners is the highest level of governance of the MPC Association and, therefore, the maximum level of decision‑making. The positions on the Board of Partners, occupied by representatives of each partner institution, are the following:

  • President: Pedro Miguel Echenique Landiribar, as representative of Donostia International Physics Center Foundation (DIPC).

Pedro Miguel Echenique Landiribar is Professor of Condensed Matter Physics at the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), President of DIPC, President of CIC nanoGUNE, President of MPC and Vice-president of Euskampus Fundazioa, the Campus of International Excellence.

  • Member: Jon Gurrutxaga Mongelos, as representative of Gipuzkoa Provincial Council.

Jon Gurrutxaga Mongelos is the Director of Innovation of the Gipuzkoa Province Government since September 2019.

  • Secretary: Adolfo Morais Ezquerro, as representative of the Basque Government and Ikerbasque Foundation.

Adolfo Morais Ezquerro is the Viceminister for Universities and Research of the Basque Government since 2015.

The Board of Founder Partners meets at least once a year to review the report of activities of the centre, approve the previous-year official financial and accounting report of MPC, and debate any important issue related to the association that requires a decision or an approval at the maximum level.

The Board of Partners appoints a Scientific Director at MPC, and delegates the daily management of the association on this Director. According to the rules of MPC Association approved in its foundation by the Founder partners, both the scientific strategy as well as economical decisions, up to a certain level of responsibility, are completely delegated in the Director, who reports the activity and strategic decisions of the centre to the Board of Partners. The appointment of the Director is for terms of four (4) years with the possibility of one single renewal for another term. Since October 28, 2019, the Director of the Association MPC is Daniel Sánchez Portal.

Daniel Sánchez Portal is a Research Professor of the Spanish Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) at the Center for Materials Physics (CFM), where he leads the “Simulation and Modelisation” group ( devoted to study the electronic properties of surfaces and nanostructured materials using first-principles calculations. His group also develops new methodologies and program suites to perform such calculations. He is one of the developers of SIESTA, a computer program for ab initio calculations used by hundreds of research groups worldwide. D. Sánchez Portal received his PhD from Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM) in 1998 on the study of the electronic properties of nanometer-sized systems. After postdoctoral stays at the University of Illinois (UI) at Urbana-Champaign and the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), he joined CFM as a research associate under the “Ramón y Cajal” program in 2002. Since 2005, he is a permanent member of CFM, leading the “Simulation and Modelisation” group since its creation in 2008. Since October 2019, he combines his scientific activity with his duties as MPC Director as well as with the management of CFM, since he is also CFM Director.

The combined and united strategic activity of MPC Association and CFM is ensured by the appointment of the same person as joint Scientific Director for the two administrative bodies. The Director at CFM is jointly appointed by the President of CSIC and the Rector of UPV/EHU, once the Scientific Board of CFM has suggested a candidate. The different Boards at CFM are considered as consulting bodies by the MPC Director to implement a joint strategy. The joint direction of MPC-CFM thus implements the scientific strategy of the centre.