Coordinator of the Agro-food Systems and Territorial Development research group of the Institute of Economics, Geography and Demography (IEGD/CSIC) since 2014. From 2011 to 2019, he was the Vice-Director of the IEGD/CSIC. He has been since 2008 the scientific coordinator of the Local Agri-food Systems European Research Group, made up of more than 20 European centres, Since 2018, he has been Secretary of the Editorial Board of Estudios Geográficos scientific journal, published by CSIC. Dr. Sanz’s field of research is at the confluence of territorial studies, agrifood and environmental social sciences. His focus is the territorial research of local agrifood systems and alternative food networks from an agro-ecological perspective. He has concentrated especially on territorial analysis of the olive oil sector.
Dr. Sanz has participated in numerous panels of international experts: UNESCO Chair on World Food Systems, Montpellier (2011/15); Knoleum Olive Tree Landscapes Network (2007/8); panels of the Andalusian Regional Government for the Olive Tree Law (2009); Forum on Sustainable Olive Production in Andalusia (2009); World Wildlife Fund Forum on mountain olive groves (2015/17); and the European BigPicnic project on botanic gardens and food security (2016/19). He has been the coordinator of the Agro-ecology and Circular Bioeconomy Challenge of the CSIC Strategic Plan (2019/2020). He is now expert responsible for agro-ecological cooperative logistics iniriatives for the White Book on Sustainable Food, funded by Carasso Fondation and Alternativas Fondation.
As principal researcher, he has coordinated different research projects of the Spanish National Plan on analysis and valuation of territorial externalities in local agrifood systems (2010/13 and 2013/16) and on problems of vertical competition in local quality foods (decade of 2000). He has also specialised in scientific cooperation with Latin America and with the Euro-Mediterranean countries: EU Euromed Heritage II programme (2002-6); EU-Mexico Internat. Science and Technology Cooperation Fund under the 7th EU Framework Programme (2009/11); projects of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) (1990s); Mexican National Plan projects (CONACYT) and the PAPIIT programme of UNAM in Mexico (3 times each in the period 2008/19), and the current FONTAGRO project, financed by the International Development Bank and IICA (2017-21). In terms of technology and knowledge transfer programmes, he has coordinated CSIC’s participation in the National Plan programmes on Technological Platforms and networks on olive groves and olive oil (2006-11).
He has been awarded the following research prizes: 20th National Prize for Agricultural, Fishing and Food Publications (1992), José Cascón Prize for Doctoral Theses (College of Agricultural Engineers, 1991) and 2nd Prize from the Caja Rural Foundation in 2014. He was president of the Scientific Committee of the CIER XII Ibero-American Congress of Rural Studies (2018) and the 3rd Internat. Congress on Local Agrifood Systems (LAFS, 2006). He has sat on the scientific committees of numerous international congresses and seminars: the IV-IX Internat. Conferences on LAFS, 7 occasions (2006/20), the Internat. Organic Olive Grove Conference "ECOLIVA 2008", the Internat. Seminaire "Les produits de terroir" in Antalya (Turkey, 2008) and the 1st Internat. Seminar on Food and Nutritional Security (FAO, IICA...; Ecuador, 2020).