Connecting science, understanding complexity

IFISC (Institute for Cross-Disciplinary Physics and Complex Systems) is a joint research institute of the University of the Balearic Islands (UIB) and the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) created in 2007 building upon the former Cross-Disciplinary Physics Department of the Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies (IMEDEA).

IFISC has been awarded by the Spanish Research Agency (AEI) with the Maria de Maeztu (MdM) Unit of Excellence seal since 2018 and it has established itself as a reference center in complex systems and an important actor in the definition of new trends in this field at national and international level.

IFISC tackles mainly theoretical but also experimental challenges situated at the dynamic intersection of complex systems and interdisciplinary applications across diverse fields including photonics, quantum physics, biology, ecology, environment, and social systems. Our research is distinguished by its integration of fundamental principles spanning network theory, statistical and nonlinear physics, stochastic processes, mathematical modeling of collective phenomena, and quantum physics. We extend our focus into complex societal contexts, exploring various facets of information technology, while actively participating in unconventional computing and learning endeavors. Moreover, our investigations delve deeply into the dynamic behaviors of life and environmental systems, underscoring the inherently interdisciplinary character of our work.

Physics approaches to interdisciplinary research in complex systems are instrumental to solving many of society's challenges. The 2021 Nobel Prize in Physics "for providing innovative contributions to our understanding of complex physical systems" highlighted the relevance of this field and the uniqueness of its physics methodology, making clear that complex systems modeling is key to providing understanding and forecast and also to developing practical solutions and advice for governments and policymakers. Complex systems research is key to addressing known challenges such as digitalization, health, or climate change. A healthy research base in complex systems is also necessary to be able to react to future unexpected societal changes and a principal element of a scientific preparedness strategy. 


IFISC’s research is structured around four non-disjoint research lines: a first one developing methodologies and concepts of broad applicability, and the other three concerning the transfer of these ideas to specific physicalbiological or social domains of application, thus giving us a unique opportunity to contribute to future challenges in the areas of digitalization, artificial intelligence, health, mobility or climate and environment, among others.

IFISC researchers participate in several of these research lines, based on transversality, collaboration and interdisciplinarity, which are IFISC’s distinctive marks. IFISC´s organization and structure encourages joint publications, joint participation in projects, scientific discussions and collaborations, joint supervision of PhD and master students, and cross-cutting seminars.






Our current expertise lies in fundamental research, strengthened by the transfer of knowledge to private companies and public institutions, supported via our in-house service units: 

  • Data Analytics@IFISC, which provides services of data mining and big data analysis and modelling, including analysis of data from social networks, mobile phone and credit card records, transport networks at the urban scale, air transport, census and surveys, electoral results in the space, electrocardiograms, electro and magneto encephalograms, marine currents and animal populations etc.: http://analytics.ifisc.uib-csic.es/
  • The unit of innovation Data Analytics@IFISC_UIB, which integrates researchers from different UIB departments and aims to transfer know-how and technology, in the fields of BIG DATA, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence: https://data-analytics.ifisc.uib-csic.es/


The strong interactions between IFISC’s members can be seen in the network of interactions among the permanent staff:

Collaboration Network


IFISC is organized in two departments

  • Cross-Disciplinary Physics Department, Department Head:  Roberta Zambrini
  • Complex Systems Department, Department Head: Pere Colet

and a Unit of Computer Services and Scientific Computing and Big Data.



  • Jesús Marco de Lucas

    Chairperson: Jesús Marco de Lucas
    IFCA, Cantabria

  • Ulrike Feudel

    Ulrike Feudel
    Oldenburg University, Oldenburg

  • Elisabeth Giacobino

    Elisabeth Giacobino
    Pierre et Marie Curie University, Paris

  • Stefan Thurner

    Stefan Thurner
    Medical University of Vienna, Vienna

  • Angelo Vulpiani

    Angelo Vulpiani
    La Sapienza University, Rome

  • IFISC general description (CAT)
  • IFISC scientific description (ENG)
  • IFISC presentation (PDF)
  • IFISC Annual Report 2023

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