The Chilean government is offering up to US$10 million (£6.5 million) to UK researchers to found an institute in Chile, Harald Beyer, Chile’s minister for education, said during his recent trip to the British Isles.
The Andean nation wants to expand on the four applied research centers that have opened over the past year in collaboration with overseas partners, Beyer said.
«We are beginning to look for UK institutes. In total we want to bring in around four or five more,» the minister told Times Higher Education.
The four current centers include: a partnership with France’s National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control in applied mathematics, a systems biology center with Germany’s Fraunhofer Society, a food research center with the Netherlands’ Wageningen University and Research Centre and a partnership with Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation on mining and metals.
The centers, which work closely with Chile’s Production Development Corporation (Corfo), are founded by foreign universities or research organisations but receive up to US$10 million in subsidies from the Chilean government.
The field of study which the prospective UK centers will undertake is yet to be determined, but the Chilean ambassador to the UK, Tomás Muller Sproat, listed marine and fishing research as having the potential to be mutually beneficial for both nations.
«We’ve started looking. It’s all up for grabs, but we have to identify a UK [proposal] that’s better than any other,» he said.
The ambassador compared what Chile was hoping to achieve with the University of Sheffield’s «spectacular» Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre – a collaboration with the aerospace giants Boeing and other partners, including Rolls-Royce.
Minister Beyer also reaffirmed the Chilean government’s long term ambition to have at least three Chilean universities ranked in the world’s top 150.