Biodiversity and higher education: catalysts for development in Ecuador
VLIR-UOS received an acknowledgement from rector Sergio Flores of the Escuela Superior Politécnica del Litoral (ESPOL) in Ecuador. On the occasion of the celebration of the 55th anniversary of the university, rector Flores recognized the support of VLIR-UOS to the development of ESPOL and the creation of a national Network on Biodiversity.
ESPOL ranked in top 1.000
In the presence of vice-president Jorge Glas and a lot of representatives of the Ecuadorian government, rector Sergio Flores announced his challenge to get ESPOL ranked in the top 1.000 of best universities of the world in 2017.
The rector highlighted the social and economic impact generated by the projects of the institution. Among them the research for the improvement of the banana production, carried out by the Research Center in Biotechnology (CIBE) of ESPOL, which was supported by VLIR-UOS as part of the Institutional University Cooperation programme.
Network on Biodiversity
Rector Flores signed an agreement for the start of the Network on Biodiversity, a national-level programme led by four Ecuadorian universities with ESPOL as the coordinating institute. Universidad de Cuenca, Escuela Politécnica Nacional and Universidad Técnica del Norte are the other partner universities.
The Network brings together expertise about biodiversity and natural resources with a particular focus on water management and biodiscovery. The aim is to set up the first interuniversity master programme in Ecuador and link up with regional and international initiatives.
Long-standing partnership with VLIR-UOS
From 1998 to 2010 ESPOL was partner university of the Flemish universities through an Institutional University Cooperation (IUC) programme coordinated by Ghent University. It addressed topics as poverty alleviation, food security and global change, by research, education and service delivery.
Jorge Calderón, professor at ESPOL and former local coordinator of the IUC programme, testified on the impact of the partnership on the university:
‘This IUC cooperation really moved the university in a different direction, trying to focus on knowledge generation. It’s the long-term effort, among other things, that really brought this change.’
VLIR-UOS in Ecuador
Ecuador is the 4th most important partner country of VLIR-UOS, with a budget of approximately € 1.250.000 in 2013.
Since 2013 VLIR-UOS has a Country Strategy for Ecuador, based on the needs of the country, particularly the national priorities with regard to higher education and development. The two main themes of the Country Strategy are biodiversity and education.