Frequently asked questions

Here, you can find some of the most frequently asked questions foreign researchers might have when considering applying for a position at IMDEA Materials Institute. The most important thing to remember, however, is that we pride ourselves on the help and support that we give to all new members of the IMDEA Materials team, wherever they are joining us from.

We will be able to provide you with personalised assistance in every step of the process, including getting the correct paperwork filled out and finding a place to live while you’re here.

Where should I look for a place to live in Madrid?

We know that arriving in a new city can feel strange, but you will see that living in Madrid offers a very high quality of life. There are three important factors when choosing a flat/room:

  • If you want to live in central Madrid
  • If you want to live in Getafe (near IMDEA Materials)
  • If you decide to share a flat or if you prefer to find your own apartment

Note that IMDEA Materials Institute is based in Getafe, south of Madrid and 15km from the city centre. It is easily accessible via public transport and is only 20 minutes by train from Atocha Station. To arrive at IMDEA Materials, there is a free shuttle bus with a regular timetable from Getafe Central Station. The shuttle stops right in front of the Institute and is also the first stop. You can find the schedule for the bus on our webpage under how to arrive at IMDEA Materials Institute here. The service is free; you will need to collect the required tickets from reception.

Which area to choose?

If you prefer to live closer to the city centre, an ideal location would be around Atocha Station. That will provide a hassle-free transport option to IMDEA Materials for your day-to-day work schedule. Another good option could be around Sol Central Station. However, this area is more expensive than others. Other neighbourhoods with good connections to Getafe Central are Piramides, Marqués de Vadillo, Pacifico or near Retiro. Malasaña, La Latina and Lavapies are three neighbourhoods that are particularly popular among the younger demographic and students.

If you prefer to live in Getafe, it will reduce the time you need to spend daily on public transport. The neighbourhoods of Getafe Central, Universidad, and Juan de la Cierva are all within walking distance of Getafe Central Station. El Bercial is also a recommended area but a little further from the station. Finally, Sector 3 and Buenavista are the neighbourhoods closest to the IMDEA Materials Institute. However, there is no direct public transport connection between them and the Institute, so you will need to travel via Getafe Central Station to arrive via public transport.

You can find more detailed information about public transport card options for the Madrid Metro and for the local train network (Cercanias).

We highly recommend renting a room with “Airbnb” or “Mad4rent” for 1 or 2 weeks or even up to a month once you arrive so you can check out all of the different options and choose the best one for you. This will also give you time to look for your own place once you’re on the ground. But, as you prefer! As stated previously, most IMDEA Materials employees arrive at the Institute either by private vehicle or the free shuttle bus service from Getafe Central Station. You can find more information on “how to come to IMDEA Materials” in the next link on our webpage.

I plan to use my own private transport while working at IMDEA Materials. Is there parking available?

Underground parking is available for employees. You will need to discuss this on a case-by-case basis with HR.

How much should I expect to pay to rent a room or an apartment?

The price of a room or apartment in Madrid varies depending on its size and location. Renting an apartment in Getafe will be a more affordable option than in the centre of Madrid. However, if you are looking for a studio or one-bedroom apartment, you will likely find more options closer to the centre.

For a studio or one-bedroom flat in Madrid in the Atocha area, prices start from around 800€ for a small studio. On average, you should expect to pay between 800-1200€ per month. For a two-bedroom apartment, this will obviously increase. If you plan to share a flat, prices will be lower, and you can rent a single room starting from around 500€ per month.

Prices in Getafe will generally be lower, and you can usually find a two or three-bedroom apartment for the same price as a one-bedroom flat in the city centre. Living in Getafe in your own apartment, you should expect to pay between €700-900 per month.

What are the conditions of a typical rental contract?

Rental contracts usually last one year, although sometimes you can negotiate with the owner to rent the flat for a shorter period. This could result in the price of the apartment going up. Normally landlords ask for a bond or deposit equal to the cost of one to six months' rent. It is essential to have the contract signed by both parties and receipt of payments. When renting through an agency, you will also generally be required to pay an agency fee that is often the equivalent of one month's rent. While this can be the more expensive option, it can offer greater security than renting privately. The most typical situation is that you will be asked for the first month in advance, one month's deposit and an agency fee. As such, you should be prepared to pay for your room or apartment for three months upfront. Normally services like electricity, water, gas, Wi-Fi, etc., are paid separately. We recommend you detail the terms when you speak with the owner (or check the platforms we recommend). You should never pay a deposit without viewing the apartment first.

Where can I find a place to live?

The largest online rental site in Spain is Idealista. Here, you can find listings from both agencies and private individuals. However, IMDEA Materials also has agreements with three platforms to help you find accommodation: student residences and private or shared flats. We recommend that you start your accommodation search as soon as possible to ensure the availability of the option that suits your preferences. These platforms are:

  1. Spotahome - Get 20% off the reservation fee on with the code: IMDEA20
  2. - Get 20% off the reservation fee letting them know you are coming with IMDEA Materials.
  3. Micampus - You can get a 50% discount depending on the time you take the rental.
  4. Mundialrooms - If you are looking to share an apartment. Note that a minimum three-month stay is required.

What paperwork will I need?

The most important paperwork you will need while living in Spain is your Foreigner Identification Number (Numero de Identidad de Extranjero or NIE in Spanish). IMDEA Materials will provide support with all the necessary paperwork and guide you through the process step by step. Getting your NIE will be your first step, as having one is required to open a bank account, get your health card, set up your Spanish phone number and officially register your address with the local government. You can find more information about registering for the NIE here.

Will I be covered by public health insurance while working at IMDEA Materials?

If you have a work contract with IMDEA Materials, you will be covered by the Spanish Social Security. The Spanish Social Security system provides good quality healthcare services. To access the services, you must register in a health centre assigned according to your registered address. You will then be assigned a family doctor who will treat common or minor illnesses and refer you to specialists or hospitals if needed.

Will there be a language barrier living and working in Spain?

The official language of IMDEA Materials is English, and a majority of our researchers is from outside of Spain, so all of your day-to-day work can be carried out in English. If you want to improve your Spanish, or English, you can attend free language classes at the Institute. Groups are divided into different levels, and lessons are interactive, dynamic and focused on communication skills.

Does IMDEA Materials offer additional training and personal improvement opportunities?

As well as seminars and on-the-job technical and specialized training, the Institute regularly organizes training activities to support your personal and professional development. Training is free for everyone working at the Institute; you can check the upcoming courses on our website.

Can I get to IMDEA by public transport?

You can find the schedule for the bus on our webpage under How to arrive at IMDEA Materials Institute here. The service is free; you will need to collect the required tickets from reception (the first day, you can pick up the tickets afterwards and give them to the conductor on the way back)

What is the cost of living in Madrid?

Housing: According to the results of several studies, the average cost of a student or researcher in Spain is calculated between €800 and €1,100 per month depending on the city where they reside and, of course, the volume of spending that each student or researcher can individually make.

If you share a flat, the cost of a room in the centre of Madrid is around €500 on average (accommodation only). On the other hand, in Getafe or Leganés, it is possible to find a room for around €350.

The supplies as electricity, water and gas, Madrid is a city that becomes very cold in winter, so heating is a very necessary good and makes gas consumption reach €100 – €150 per month in those months. Obviously, it depends on the size of the house, the time you spend in it and other factors, but on average, we are talking about €100 a month in supplies.

Transport in Madrid: it is one of those essential elements to move around the city. Right now, the monthly pass for basic public transport (B1) costs 25,40 € and will vary depending on the distance you travel every day.

Any more questions?

If you still have any doubts feel free to talk to our experienced staff by phone or email:

We will be delighted to help you!