Alvaro Giménez Cañete is the Director of Science (D/SCI), and Head of ESAC, near Madrid, Spain.
Alvaro Giménez graduated in physics (1978) and obtained a PhD in astrophysics (1981). After additional studies in Manchester, Basel and Copenhagen, he joined the Universidad Complutense de Madrid as a lecturer of stellar astrophysics until 1987 when he moved to the Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía in Granada.
Interested in the use of space for scientific research, he finally decided to join the Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial (INTA) in 1991, where he started a Laboratory for Space Astrophysics and Fundamental Physics (LAEFF) and took management responsibilities up to the level of Director General of INTA in 1995.
In 2001, Alvaro Giménez became the Head of the Space Science Department in ESA's Science Directorate at ESTEC, Noordwijk, the Netherlands. In 2007, the Director General requested his collaboration at ESA HQ in Paris as Science Policy Coordinator within his Cabinet. Alvaro Giménez maintained this role until now, despite being seconded to CSIC from 2008 to 2010 as Director of the Centro de Astrobiología (CAB). He holds a Professorship at the Spanish Science Research Council (CSIC) with special leave of absence during his service at ESA.
His research has been focused in the understanding of the internal structure of the stars through the analysis of eclipsing binaries. In the area of space instrumentation, he has participated in a number of projects and was the Principal Investigator of the Optical Monitoring Camera instrument on the Integral mission. He has published several books and more than 350 specialised papers in refereed journals and proceedings of scientific meetings.
Alvaro Giménez took up duty as Director of Science and Robotic Exploration (D/SRE), and Head of ESAC, near Madrid, Spain, on 1 May 2011. As of 1 January 2016, he was reappointed as D/SCI for a term of four years. The Directorate of Science is responsible for the mandatory Science Programme of the Agency, and to advise and support other programmes managed in other directorates.