Daniel Sánchez Mata appointed Director of the Real Colegio Complutense at Harvard

March 9, 2021

Daniel Sánchez is Professor of Botany and Plant Ecology at Complutense University of Madrid and has taken office on March 1st, 2021.

Daniel Pablo de la Cruz Sánchez Mata has been appointed as the next Real Colegio Complutense (RCC) at Harvard Director and joins the Center based in Cambridge effective immediately. Prof. Sánchez Mata takes over from José Manuel Martínez Sierra, who held the position since 2012.


Daniel Sánchez Mata, Professor of Botany and Plant Ecology at Complutense University of Madrid since 2007, is an accomplished scholar and educator with strong experience as an academic leader and in the administration of research projects. He has a distinguished research trajectory working on Bioclimatology mainly in Europe (Mediterranean Basin) and North America (Pacific Northwest) and is responsible for the bioclimatic frame of the international project ‘Circumboreal Vegetation Mapping Project (CBVM)’ sponsored by the Arctic Council. He has taught Environmental Botany, Geobotany (Plant Ecology) and Medical Botany at the UCM’s Pharmacy School for more than two decades where he was, until today, Director of the UCM MAF-Herbaria (Pharmacy School) and the Dean´s Delegate for the Environment.


“In the time that I have been Rector of the Complutense and co-President of the RCC I have come to understand that Harvard has a singular specificity and that one must be the right fit in order to be able to establish long-lasting academic relationships” said the Rector of Complutense University of Madrid, Prof. Joaquín Goyache Goñi. “The excellent curriculum vitae of Prof. Sánchez Mata shows that he is indeed a right-fit and that the relationship he has established and has been ongoing for over four years is a strong basis from where to start his term at Harvard as RCC Director.”


RCC Director


Daniel obtained his degree in Pharmacy from Complutense University and specializing in Plant Ecology and Biochemistry in 1981. He obtained his PhD in Pharmacy from his Alma Matter in 1986 and he also obtained his Official Title as Pharmacist with specialization in the Analysis and Control of Drugs and Medication from the Spanish Ministry of Culture, Education and Sports in 2003.


Prof. Sánchez Mata said that he is honored to accept the appointment as Director of the RCC and thanked the Rector of Complutense University of Madrid, who nominated him for the position: “I want to thank Rector Goyache for giving me this wonderful opportunity, and I also want to thank my predecessor, José M. Martínez Sierra for his endorsement and his excellent work. I accept my appointment conscious of my institutional duties and I am eager to fulfill the goal of serving the University community from a privileged position through the connection of our two universities at the highest level. I also look forward to continue developing my research agenda at the Harvard University Herbaria.”


He joined the Faculty of the School of Pharmacy at UCM in October of 1986 where he taught in the Botany and Plant Biology divisions and obtained his Tenure as Associate Professor in the Plant Biology Division of the School in November of 1987. He was named Full Professor (Catedrático de Universidad) in January of 2007. He was also Secretary of the Plant Biology II Department from 1991 until 1996.

Among other remarkable merits, Daniel co-leads the activities of the Complutense research group ENVIROVEG, he is an active member of several remarkable international editorial boards, he is the current president of the Spanish Society of Geobotany and member of the Royal Spanish National Academy of Pharmacy. He is the author and co-author of more than one hundred research papers and book chapters over the years, presented at dozens of international conferences, and has been the principal investigator in several funded research projects.

In July of 2018, Daniel Sánchez was appointed as an Associate Researcher of the Harvard University Herbaria (HUH) and has collaborated with Harvard Herbaria and the Harvard Organismic and Evolutionary Biology Department at the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

Daniel Sanchez Mata has demonstrated that he is a top-level scholar and professor at UCM. Both the Rector of Complutense University and the President of Harvard University have given him his full confidence. He undoubtedly has solid experience working with Harvard where he has collaborated in research in his field since 2017 and co-chairs an RCC study group” said José M. Martinez Sierra, the outgoing RCC Director and current Director General of the UPF-Barcelona School of Management and added: “I am absolutely sure that Daniel will do a fantastic job and that the RCC is in very good hands, with an excellent new Director. The future looks bright for RCC!”

Through his collaboration at Harvard, Prof. Sánchez Mata has conducted research related to the great botanical collections from the Pacific Northwest territories preserved at HUH and the vegetation of California, focusing mainly on ultramafic habitats as extreme environments. He also co-Chairs the RCC Study Group Botanical Collections and Herbaria: New Insights and Challenges with Prof. Charles C. Davis, Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology and Curator of Vascular Plants in the Harvard University Herbaria. He will continue his research collaboration at Harvard throughout his appointment and also continue with his research activities related to the strong relationships between the environment and plant life.


Prof. Sánchez Mata added: “My previous research stages at Harvard have taught me about the potential that the relationship among our universities can be increased through the active participation of faculty, students and researchers and through the development of new academic and scientific initiatives. I look forward to working towards the strengthening of the relationship between our Universities and all of our initiatives.”


Daniel Sánchez Mata assumes the role of Director of the RCC effective immediately and puts his knowledge, years of national and international experience and leadership as an academic, researcher and professor to the service of the RCC Fellows and Associates between Faculty, Students and Researchers, RCC Staff and the whole Academic Community at Harvard University.