Chilean university teams up with world research leaders

Universidad de Valparaíso will host Latin America’s first ever Max Planck Institute for research in the field of neuroscience.

Chile’s acclaimed Universidad de Valparaíso is getting ready to begin an exciting new partnership with German institution the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science.

The joint research center, to be based in Universidad de Valparaíso’s Interdisciplinary Center of Neuroscience (CINV), will be the only Max Planck Institute in Latin America.

Alongside Albert Einstein, Max Planck was the most influential physicist of the 20th century. The German scientist made many contributions to theoretical physics, but is best known for pioneering quantum theory, revolutionizing the way we understand the atomic and subatomic process.

Named after its prestigious former president, The Max Planck Society for the advancement of Science runs more than 80 research institutes in Germany and is widely considered the world’s foremost basic research organization. Focusing on science and technology, its scientists have won a total of 32 Nobel Prizes.

Dr. Ramon Latorre, director for the new center, said the new institute will attract the best young scientific minds from across the world.

But getting here wasn’t easy, explained the Universidad de Valparaíso professor. The Max Planck Society’s tough restrictions and comparatively better funding meant the Chilean partner institute had to do more with less to meet the high standards of their new partner. However, Latorre is confident the South American wing will be able to live up to the German institute’s reputation.

In total, students in the program will complete seven years of investigation during which time they will be able to make the most of the partner institution’s considerable infrastructure and collaborate with its scientific community. Chile’s National Science and Technology Development Fund (Fondyct) will also be offering grants to promising students to further their research.

Latorre said that they are expecting plenty of young Chileans to be among the new institute’s exclusive intake, but promising applicants from all other the world are welcome.

“I hope that today’s Chilean students are going to complete doctorates, apply and be competitive. However, if there are scientists from Russia, Zambia, Chechnya or wherever, we will bring them here,” he added, explaining that this was crucial to establish a leading research facility.

This is something Chile has historically done well and many of the nation’s universities compete on the same level as the globe’s best known schools. Last year, a record 17 Chilean higher education institutes made it into SCImago Research Group’s ranking of the world’s best research universities.