The project

Young universities share particular challenges when it comes to research capacities: they have poor resource bases compared to traditional universities, they operate outside important research and policy networks, and when it comes to national funding, the mechanisms are often unfavourable and tend to reinforce the imbalance between institutions.
However, young institutions generally play an important role in their own local contexts and have the advantage of having more dynamic and flexible structures, which favours the relationship with external actors.
I2LATAM will focus on the development of R&D capacities in young Latin American universities, through the generation of knowledge exchange spaces to stimulate the relationship with key regional socio-economic actors. The quality, size of the consortium and the participation of four of the largest countries in Latin America (Colombia, Peru, Mexico and Argentina) give this project a unique scope and high impact.

The project will result in the development of tools and methodologies to systematically map and match institutional capacities with regional opportunities, as well as in the creation and reinforcement of knowledge sharing spaces, such as the use of successful European models. In addition, I2LATAM will develop R&D capacities in young researchers and R&D managers by launching an open access training package focusing on key skills to promote regional and international collaboration.
The ultimate goal of I2LATAM is to strengthen capacities for strategic research and innovation management in young Latin American universities by harnessing the potential of local and regional impact, while fostering collaboration between Latin American and European partners for the development of innovative research initiatives and projects. In the long term, it is expected that the exchange of knowledge, experiences and good management practices will contribute to the insertion of the region in the global dynamics of research and innovation.

General Objective

Strengthen research and innovation capacities in young Latin American universities by fostering innovative collaboration strategies between the University and key regional socio-economic actors.

Specific Objectives

O1: Combine the research strengths of the participating universities with the economic and social strengths of their regions, in order to identify possible strategic areas of cooperation.

O2: Implement or dynamise existing knowledge exchange spaces to bring together university teams (researchers, unit managers and leaders) with socio-economic actors at regional level (industry, clusters, investors and the public sector) for the identification of collaborative research and innovation initiatives.

O3: Develop strategic interdisciplinary research projects based on the identified initiatives, with the support of international funding and partnerships.

O4: Raise awareness and promote, among institutional leaders, an attitudinal transformation in relation to R&I through the adoption of policies, plans and strategies based on exchange with other R&I leaders.

O5: Train researchers and management staff in the mechanisms and skills required to improve the quality and sustainability of research and innovation in higher education institutions.

Work packages

The WPs respond to the activities and work methodologies designed to reach, in successive stages and transversal actions, the achievement of the project's objective.

Preparedness - Combining institutional research capacities with social and economic strengths.

Description: This work package is essential as it will provide the basis for the development activities planned throughout the project. This mapping will be the basis of the consortium, as it will provide the areas of specialisation of each member, thus providing a focus for all consortium work. The overall aim of this WP is to promote the process of smart specialisation in the research organisation of universities by developing better research strategies, in order to achieve greater impact and gain critical mass through a participatory evidence and intelligence approach. To achieve this, with the support of the WP leader, participants will:

  • Develop a shared vision on research priorities to integrate and bring together fragmented capacities, to gain critical mass, to become more competitive;
  • Align university research priorities with local, national and international agendas, as well as with emerging research areas in accordance with internal capacities;
  • Promote social commitment and dialogue with society (companies, governments and civil organisations) to improve the impact of research carried out at universities.

Development - Structuring spaces for interaction with regional actors

Description: this WP aims at designing and developing new hybrid spaces that allow Universities to identify opportunities, projects and activities in close collaboration with relevant actors of the regional environment (companies, clusters, business associations, governmental bodies, NGOs, other universities). In this sense, this WP will promote the creation and/or consolidation of socio-economic development networks based on R&I.

Development - Development of strategic interdisciplinary research projects

Description: at this stage the teams will seek to develop interdisciplinary and strategic projects with the aim of capitalising and sustaining the project results. These projects will not necessarily involve the investment of large initial funds, but will have a significant symbolic impact in order to set in motion new processes and mechanisms for the joint development of research with the contribution of regional actors.

This WP is of particular importance for the sustainability of the project, as it aims to develop concrete collaboration and project initiatives based on the reflection and mapping exercise obtained in the other development WPs. In this WP multiple target groups are involved and engaged to ensure a bottom-up approach.

Development - Institutional Benchmarking and Development

Description: This WP is key as it lays the foundation for the sustainability of the activities and learning process generated by the project. Through strategic discussions and benchmarking activities, WP4 will work with institutional leaders to raise awareness on the fundamentals of promoting R&I with regional impact. In addition, through support and interaction with European counterparts, leaders will be able to identify appropriate means to ensure the sustainability of their strategies in the short and long term.

Development - Training package based on the identified needs

Description: focus on the development of the I2LATAM training package (TP) to strengthen the skills of researchers and management teams in identifying key processes such as doctoral supervision, technology transfer, intellectual property, fundraising, etc.

Among the training activities included in this WP as an introduction to some activities carried out in WP3, a virtual module on fundraising and exploitation of EU funding opportunities will be developed, with the aim of encouraging the participation of LATAM participating universities in research and innovation projects, providing the means to take advantage of the funding that the EU has available for this purpose.

Quality plan - Quality control and monitoring

Description: to ensure quality control and evaluation of the project as well as of its meetings, deliverables and results, the Consortium has defined several mechanisms:

The Project Coordination Team (PMT) will be responsible for the overall supervision of the quality assurance mechanisms. The Quality Control team is responsible for carrying out monitoring and evaluation activities throughout the project in order to report on the quality of the activities and referrals to the PMT.

First a Quality Plan document will be drafted defining the quality control procedures and monitoring instruments of the project. The quality control procedures will ensure that the deliverables comply with the grant agreement. The Quality Control and Monitoring Plan will define in detail the requirements for the preparation of activities and deliverables, based on the set of indicators identified in the Logical Framework Matrix (LFA) and the project work plan. This is essential to avoid delays and to make more efficient use of resources.

Dissemination and exploitation

Description: this WP consists of two stages: dissemination activities become exploitation activities.

Initially, dissemination will start internally, focusing on communication among Consortium partners and providing guidelines and communication strategies in order to involve the academic communities of the member universities in the project activities.

Project management

: This work package is designed to make administrative and management decisions in an informed and structured manner. The project coordinator and the management team, in charge of the WP, are responsible for ensuring that all activities are carried out and that results are achieved throughout the project. It is the role of the project coordinator and the team involved to ensure that each partner is fully committed to the project and fulfils their responsibilities. It is also important that the management team can anticipate potential risks in order to mitigate them appropriately.

The team will also monitor the appropriate use of resources to ensure that the project is carried out in a cost-effective manner.

WP8 includes all management procedures, including reports, committees, as well as the consortium's financial and contractual arrangements.