Mr. Elías Fereres Castiel

Académico constituyente


He studied agronomy and engineering at the School of Agronomy Engineering of the Polytechnic University of Madrid (1969). He completed a MSc. in Irrigation (1974) and a Ph.D. in Ecology (1976), at the University of California, Davis (USA). From 1976 to 1982 he was Irrigation and Surface Water Specialist and Lecturer at the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources of the University of California, Davis (USA).


In 1982 he returned to Spain to the Chair of Plant Production of the School of Agronomy Engineering of the University of Cordoba. Since 1983, he has held various administrative positions related to the management of Spanish research. First, Coordinator of the Agricultural Sciences Committee (1983-1985) and Director of Special Programs of the Scientific and Technical Research Advisory Commission (CAICYT) (1985-1987). In 1989, he chairs the Committee 6 (Engineering) of the National Commission for the Evaluation of Research Activities (CNEAI) of the Spanish University system.


In 1991 he was appointed President of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), a position he held until 1992 when he became Secretary of State for Universities and Research of the Ministry of Education and Science, where he remained until 1994. From 1995 to 2003 he was President of the Royal Academy of Engineering of Spain, of which he was previously a member. Simultaneously, from 1995 to 1999, he is Director of the Institute of Sustainable Agriculture (CSIC). From 2000 to 2002 he chairs the European Society of Agronomy. In 2005 he was appointed Director of the Andalusian Agency for Quality Assessment and Accreditation. In 2011 he was elected again President of the Royal Academy of Engineering until 2019. He received the Andalusia Award for research in engineering in 2012. He is member of the Academia Europaea.


He has been very active in the field of international cooperation, having worked in more than 20 countries for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). From 1998 to 2003 he was a member of the Scientific Council of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (TAC / CGIAR, Washington D.C.). He has been a consultant to the Office of Technology Assessment of the US Congress, the Agency for International Development of the United States, the World Bank, and UNESCO, among other organizations.


His area of expertise deals with the science and engineering of water in relation to agriculture and the environment, on topics such as the adaptation of agriculture to water scarcity, water and soil conservation, simulation models, optimization of irrigation, sustainable management of natural resources, deficit irrigation and efficiency of water in agricultural systems, with emphasis on horticulture. He has published more than 200 articles in international journals and book chapters, which by June 2019 had received some 20,000 citations with an h index of 73, according to Google Scholar. He has directed more than 40 doctoral theses to students currently in positions of responsibility in teaching and research in Spain and other countries.