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The origins of the Institute López Piñero can be traced back to the chair on history of medicine held by Professor José María López Piñero (1933-2010) during the 1960s. This chair was the nucleus of the Institute of History of Medicine created during the 1970s with the support of the cultural institution Alfons el Magnànim (Valencia Provincial Council). The centre continued to grow with new scholars and, in 1985, Professor López Piñero became the first director of a joined centre of the University of Valencia and the Spanish Center for Advanced Studies (CSIC): the Institute of Historical and Documentary Studies on Science. The new center included a research library and a history of medicine Museum as well as an Information Research Centre on Biomedicine, which was under the direction of the professor María Luz Torrada Ferrandis. The main goals of the centre were the study of scientific and medical activity from Antiquity to the current days, with particular attention to the making of comprehensible bibliographic lists of scientific publications in the Iberian Peninsula since modern times until present; and the research on indicators of scientific activity and medical practice, the creation of databases (including the IME (Índice Médico Español), and the Bibliography of the History of Science), the study of scientific terminology and the analysis of scientific and medical information, as well as many other research projects on history of science, technology and medicine.

The Institute was restructured again in 2008. The new structure was focused on the history of medicine and science. It includes the magnificent Vicent Peset I Llorca Historico-Medical Library and the new Museum on the History of Medicine and Science (Universitat de València). It was renamed as Institut d’Història de la Medicina i de la Ciència López Piñero, as a joined centre of the Universitat de València and the CSIC. This new structure involved new research projects and a renovated scientific identity, which was reinforced by the incorporation of new staff. During these years, the centre was relocated to its current headquarters in a restored eighteen-century building, Palau de Cerveró, located in the historic centre of Valencia.

On January 30, 2017, the Governing Council of the Universitat de València, after a very positive report by the state agency (ANECA), approved the procedure for the creation of the Institut Interuniversitari López Piñero (IILP), a joined inter-universitary centre including groups from the Universities of Alacant, Miguel Hernández (Elx), València and Jaume I (Castelló). The centre was also positively evaluated by the Valencian Government in May 2018 and, finally, the DOGV 21 November 2018 decree created the López Piñero Interuniversitary Institute for Social and Historical Studies on Science, Technology, Medicine and the Environment (Institut Interuniversitari López Piñero d’Estudis Històrics i Socials, sobre Ciència, Tecnologia, Medicina i Medi Ambient, IILP). Combining long academic tradition with the novelties of the latest trends in the area, the centre continues to support academic research, critical thinking, pedagogical innovation, equal opportunities, innovative outreach activities, as well as the preservation and study of the bibliographic heritage and material culture related to science, technology and medicine.