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Chilean and European universities to collaborate in scientific, social, and educational research

A collaboration between Chile-Italy and Chile-France has been created aiming to promote collective research with support from Universidad Católica, Universidad de Chile and Universidad de Concepción, as well as educational and research institutions from these two European countries


photo_camera Astronomy is one of the topics that have been promoted in academic forums, as well as medicine, data science, social sciences, humanities, heritage and the arts. (Photo: ALMA)

Advancing collaborated research on topics such as artificial intelligence, data science, astronomy, medicine, social sciences, climate change, food, design and heritage is the main objective of the Chile-Italy and Chile-France forums.

Through these strategic collaborations, Universidad Católica (UC Chile), Universidad de Chile Universidad de Concepción have established an alliance with institutions of higher education and research in both countries, with the continued support of both the Embassy of Italy and the Embassy of France

The Chile-Italy Forum took place in a hybrid format between September 21st  and 23nd. University of Bologna hosted the event, which was attended by representatives from the Sapienza University of Rome,  the Politecnico di Milano, the Politecnico di Torino, as well as Chilean institutions.

Ignacio SánchezEnnio Vivaldi, and Carlos Saavedra, the respective presidents of UC Chile, Universidad de Chile, and Universidad de Concepción, also attended the opening day of the forum.

“These forums can have a significant and substantial impact in terms of publications, new joint research projects, and book deals, in areas such as the sciences, humanities, arts, and can open new paths for us to apply for funds, which allow us to strengthen our competitive research funding,” said UC Chile President Ignacio Sanchez.

He explained that the institution has been working on these forums for several years now, which include not only France and Italy, but Sweden and Japan as well.

‘In this instance, we are not only promoting international academic links but also strengthening ties with a country's universities, in this case with Universidad de Chile and Universidad de Concepción,’ added Sanchez.

President Vivaldi noted that "this is a moment in humanity's history when multilateral relations are once again of key importance and, therefore, the relationship between Europe and Chile is critical." A delegation of ten people from Universidad de Chile is currently in Italy, a decision that shows “these are key projects at stake.”

“It is time to strengthen the multilateral relations, which is something the universities have always done, and which was deeply affected by the impact of the pandemic,” added President Vivaldi.

“The Chile-Italy Forum reflects a tradition of collaboration between Universidad de Concepción and various educational institutions in the European country,” said President Saavedra.

“At the same time, it presents opportunities for the future, as it favours the deepening of such cooperation through scientific and academic relations but also student and faculty mobility. All these initiatives are also enhanced by the inter-institutional collaboration of three important Chilean universities,” he said.

Inside the University of Bologna
The University of Bologna, which is considered the oldest in the world, hosted the second Chile-Italy Forum, which was held in a hybrid format.

Health, Astronomy, Artificial Intelligence and Other Areas of Work.

In this case, the five working groups that will meet will cover the following topics:

  • Health and food (Biomedical Sciences, Food and Bioprocesses, Human Health, Animal Health, Plant Health, and Evolution)
  • Human-nature relations (Energy, Environment, Sustainability, Risks and Disasters, Climate Change and Biodiversity, and Geodynamics)
  • Design, Arts and Heritage (Design, Arts, Heritage, Design and Project Development, Materials, Expertise, and Innovation)
  • Humanities and Social Sciences (Humanities, Education, Social and Political Sciences, and Anthropology)
  • Astronomy and Data Science (Astrophysics, AstroIT, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, and Data Analytics)

The forum also met at Universidad de Concepción in May 2019, where innovation was one of the main topics.

Pedro Bouchon, vice president of UC Chile research, says that such forums foster collaborative research, "thanks to strategic work between the authorities of the different universities that build the necessary institutional trust and generate the appropriate incentives to sustain it."

As he explained, this link benefits advanced education, “through doctoral internships for our young researchers, enriching their experience and international networks.”

In addition, this collaboration makes it possible to generate initiatives that can be financed and scaled up thanks to the funding available in the different countries, as well as international funds, and some can be developed jointly with the industry.

Vice President Bouchon emphasized that “for each academic forum we are always reviewing the conditions to take part in and the inclusion of new Chilean universities, as well as partner countries/universities.

There are expectations of increasing the number of partners, especially with China, after we carried out a joint activity in 2020 that could be considered a first step (to establish a relationship of this type.)”

He highlighted that the goal “is not to increase participation just for the sake of it, but to strengthen existing relationships and ensure that new ones have the potential to become meaningful, horizontal and mutually beneficial in areas of research.”

Online Meetings

The meetings of the Chile-France Forum were held remotely between September 28th and 30th. 

In addition to Chilean universities, representatives of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique(CNRS) were also present. Here, the topics of the working groups included:

  • Challenges in Health Systems
  • Climate and Biodiversity
  • Data Science 
  • Smart Agriculture
  • Challenges in Energy Production
  • Social Sciences and Humanities
  • Design, Art, and Heritage

Currently, joint studies are being carried out together with the CNRS on diverse topics such as astronomy, research on the Hantavirus, marine algae and the link between humans and their environment.

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