The Campus do Mar has continued visiting countries that it considers priority ones in its overseas projection strategy, in order to present the potential of its marine excellence project and to stimulate exchange and collaborations between institutions. After visiting Brazil and China, Mr. Emilio Fernández, Director of the Campus do Mar, and Mr. Alberto González-Garcés, Director for Internationalisation, visited Mexico this week where they met with representatives from universities, research centres and government bodies, who considered the Galicia-North of Portugal Euroregion initiative as very positive.
Mexico City was the first stop of the expedition, which began with a visit to the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) – the biggest university in Latin America with more than 300,000 students and which leads research in this Aztec country. They were received by Dr. Carlos Arámburo, the scientific coordinator of the UNAM, Dr. Mrs. Elva Escobar, Director of the Marine Sciences and Limnology Institute, and Dr. Mrs. Gloria Vilaclara, PhD coordinator at the said institute. Issues discussed were future collaboration agreement between the Campus do Mar and the UNAM for exchange of postgraduate students and researchers. An agreement was reached on procedures for mutual recognition of PhD programs from the two institutions such that the Campus do Mar PhD students will be able to avail of opportunities provided at the UNAM and vice-versa.
The representatives next visited the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN) also in Mexico City where they were received by Dr. Mrs. Patricia Muñoz, Director of the Interdisciplinary Research Centre for the Environment & Development.
Representatives from the Mexican National Board for Science and Technology (CONACYT) expressed deep interest in the project and stated that they would establish an agreement with the Campus do Mar after Mexican universities and research centres had first expressed their interest. CONACYT is the central body of the R&D system in Mexico, entrusted with financing research, scholarships and exchange programs. It has 28 reference research centres, two of which have been targeted by the Campus do Mar.
And in La Paz, Emilio Fernández and Alberto González-Garcés reached an agreement with the entire management team of CIBNOR (Northwestern Centre for Biological Research), headed by Dr. Sergio Hernández, to explore possibilities for coordinating PhD programs in the two institutions and to boost interaction between researchers, essentially in the field of sustainable marine resources, which is the strong point of the centre. Messrs. Fernández and González-Garcés discovered that the centre had important programs underway for results transfer and boosting entrepreneurship. They therefore decided that experts from this institution should provide consultancy in order to start up the said programs at the Campus do Mar.
The visits continued on the same day to the Interdisciplinary Marine Sciences Centre (CICIMAR) (dependent on the Polytechnic Institute), which focuses on fisheries research, where the delegation was received by the Director, Dr. Mrs. Margarita Casas and her management team. The outcome of this meeting was to immediately establish a PhD student exchange program between the Campus do Mar and CICIMAR.
Prior to ending their visit to Mexico, the Campus do Mar representatives visited the Centro de Investigación Científica y Estudios Superiores de Ensenada, and the Autonomous University of Baja California (UABC) where, amongst others, they spoke to the Deputy Vice-chancellor of the UABC Ensenada Campus, Dr. Óscar López, and the Director of the Marine Sciences Faculty, Dr. Juan Vaca.
The assessment upon finishing the mission to Mexico is that it was very positive because the Campus do Mar was able to lay the foundations for intense collaborations with all institutions visited. In all cases, the process for establishing collaboration agreements within the scopes of joint research projects and especially to carry out joint postgraduate programs would start immediately.