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Top 10 Research Institutes in South America

Although research institutes in South America may not be as popular as the ones in North America, many South American countries have good Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Policies. This has led to strong growth in participation in higher education and R&D in scientific production. 

Countries like Brazil and Colombia have caught the world’s attention with their focus on biodiesel and innovation based on the sustainable use of biodiversity. Argentina and Brazil boast space research programmes with growing sophistication and ambition. 

Here are the top 10 institutes that are contributing to the innovation and development of South America. 

1. National Institute for Research in the Amazon, Brazil

Created in 1952 and implemented in 1954, the National Institute for Research in the Amazon (INPA) is world-renowned in Topical Biology. It has been carrying out scientific studies of the physical environment and living conditions in the Amazon region to promote human well-being and the social development of the regional economy.

INPA’s early years were characterized by surveys of fauna and flora. Their main focus now is to sustainably expand the use of natural resources in the Amazon.

2. University of Buenos Aires, Argentina

The University of Buenos Aires (UBA) is a public research university in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Established in 1821, it is one of the most prestigious universities in the region. It ranks 66 in World University Ranking and is responsible for approximately 40% of the country’s research. 

UBA has 61 research institutes that encourage and develop research activities in different scientific fields, train researchers and engage in the transfer of technology.

3. The Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (FRJ) is a public university in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and is one of the Brazilian centres of excellence in teaching and research. 

The main highlight of this university is the Technological Park of Rio which is a technopole geared towards research in energy, oil, and gas. The main research facilities of this park include the Electric Energy Research Center, General Electric Global Technological Centre and Mineral Technology Centre. These facilities manage R&D related to electrical energy, oil engineering and metallurgy.

4. Tiputini Biodiversity Station, Ecuador

Tiputini Biodiversity Station (TBS) is a scientific field research center in the Ecuadorian Amazon. It was established in 1995 by Universidad San Francisco de Quito in collaboration with Boston University as a centre of education, research and conservation.

The station has been the site for many research projects and has led to the publication of many papers. Primatology is a large topic of study in this area because of the diversity and abundance of primate species. 

Besides being a research institute TBS also serves as a guardian of 638 hectares of lowland and primary rainforest spanning approximately 300km.

5. Center for Scientific Studies, Chile

CECs, Centro de Estudios Científicos (Center for Scientific Studies) is a private, non-profit corporation, devoted to the development, promotion and diffusion of scientific research in Chile.

Nestled between the Andes and the Pacific, CECs is one of the few institutes in the world working at the frontiers of research in multiple disciplines without endowment or affiliation to a host institution. 

The notable achievement of this institution was in 2014 when CECs discovered a subglacial lake in West Antarctica and conducted research on it. It was named Lake CECs in honour of the institution.

6. The National Council for Scientific and Technical Research (CONICET), Argentina

CONICET was formed on February 5, 1958, to respond to the need for an academic body that would promote scientific and technological research in Argentina. 

Its mission is to foster and implement scientific and technological activities in the whole territory and all areas of knowledge. After sixty years of work, CONICET is one of the most important assets of Argentina in terms of science and technology.

CONICET currently has more than 10,000 researchers and about 2,700 technicians and research support professionals with operations spread across Argentina.

7. Sinchi Amazonic Institute of Scientific Research, Colombia

The Amazonian Scientific Research Institute, SINCHI is a non-profit research institute of the Government of Colombia. It’s responsible for carrying out scientific investigations on matters relating to the Amazon Region of Colombia. 

The Colombian Amazon covers an area of ​​483,164 km2 which is 42.3% of the national continental territory. Naturally, the main objective of this institution is to research and innovate for the sustainability of the region.

8. The National University of San Marcos, Peru

The National University of San Marcos is a public research university in Lima, Peru. Throughout its history, the National University of San Marcos has significantly contributed to the scientific development of Peru. 

There are currently over 30 centres, units and institutes of research in San Marcos. Each one of these canters or institutes has specialized museums and laboratories for research and innovation.

9. Colombian Geological Survey, Colombia

The Colombian Geological Survey (CGS) is a scientific agency of the Colombian government. It operates a network of volcanic and seismic observatories throughout Colombia. 

CGS is in charge of contributing to the socio-economic development of Colombia through research in basic and applied geosciences, evaluating and monitoring threats of geological origin and studying the nuclear and radioactive elements in the region.

10. Cayetano Heredia University, Peru

Named in honor of Cayetano Heredia, one of the eminent Peruvian physicians, the Cayetano Heredia University is a private non-profit medical university located in Lima, Peru.

It’s among the top research institutions in tropical medicine in Latin America, with ongoing investigations in tuberculosis (TB), malaria, and HIV. The institute is internationally recognized for the Gorgas Course in Clinical Tropical Medicine, given jointly with UAB.

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