IRTA is a research institute of the Generalitat de Catalunya, attached to the Department of Climate Action, Food and Rural Agenda, regulated by Law 04/2009 of April 15, 2009, of the Parliament of Catalonia, which adjusts its activity in the private legal system. It is part of the system of CERCA centers of Catalonia.

The purpose of IRTA is to contribute to the modernization, improvement and promotion of competitiveness; to the sustainable development of the agricultural, food, agroforestry, aquaculture and fisheries sectors, as well as those directly or indirectly related to the supply of healthy and quality food to final consumers; to food safety and food processing; and, in general, to the improvement of the welfare and health of the population.

Its general objectives are to promote research and technological development in the agri-food field, to facilitate the transfer of scientific advances and to value its own technological advances, seeking maximum coordination and collaboration with the public and private sectors.

Since its creation, IRTA has promoted the establishment of permanent collaboration agreements with other public institutions working in the field of research and technological development in Catalonia. This policy has resulted in the existence, today in Catalonia, of a network of consortium centers (between IRTA, Universities, CSIC, Provincial Councils, etc.) that can be defined as that of a cooperative R&D system.

IRTA has, since 2015, the seal of Excellence in Human Resources for researchers, awarded by the European Commission.

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