UTS researchers expand collaboration with Latin America
A recent trip by UTS researchers to Latin America is opening up exciting research opportunities in areas such as water management, urban sustainability, domestic violence and elite sports recovery.
A delegation of eight UTS staff and academics met with their counterparts at two leading universities in Latin America: Pontifical Catholic University of Chile (UC), and Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) in Brazil.
The universities are investigating new arrangements for co-publication of research papers, joint funding for research, and co-supervision of PhD students, to support their shared research goals.
Professor Damien Giurco, Professor of Resource Futures and Director (Innovation) at the UTS Institute of Sustainable Futures (ISF) said there is a shared vision to strengthen voices from the Southern Hemisphere on key policy issues.
“What was interesting from the visit was the need to make sure voices from the Southern Hemisphere are well-represented in global debates. There is a sense of solidarity around making the science and policy voice heard from continents in the Southern Hemisphere.”
Professor Giurco identified urban sustainability and water management as two areas of critical interest to UC, UFMG and UTS’s Institute of Sustainable Futures.
“UC’s Centre for Urban Development has quite a strong urban focus in relation to sustainability, as we have at the ISF,” he said. “And at UFMG, there’s a lot of attention being paid to water and wastewater: where it’s coming from and how it’s used.”
“In Brazil, they recently had a huge drought, where 25 million people were almost running out of water. ISF has worked extensively in Australia with water utilities to think about efficiency. We can share lessons from Australia about how to plan and manage water during times of drought. So I think there are clear areas of potential for future research collaboration.”
Professor Giurco was joined by senior academics from the faculties of Engineering and IT, Health and Science on the trip.
Professor Fiona Brooks, Associate Dean (Research) in UTS’s Faculty of Health is looking forward to strengthening public policy initiatives in the area of community violence.
“I connected with colleagues at UFMG’s Department of Social Medicine. They’re doing some really interesting work around family and community violence. We can really learn from their innovative approach to intervention design.”
Professor Brooks visited the community projects and spoke to some of the women UFMG are working with.
“They’re supporting women to engage in community enterprises to gain economic independence, in combination with psychological and community support. So they’re doing some really innovative work by combining primary health care, psychological interventions and community development. I certainly had my thinking broadened by the trip and the ongoing collaboration we have set up with colleagues in UFMG and faculty.”
The delegation was led by Professor Glenn Wightwick, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Research) at UTS.
Professor Wightwick had fruitful meetings with government bodies in Brazil and Chile to discuss opportunities to expand the collaboration between UTS, UC and UFMG.
He said, “Our partnerships with UFMG and UC are an integral part of our flagship Key Technology Partnership program with leading universities from around the world. We look forward to developing our research links in the region.”
UTS signed Key Technology Partnership agreements with UC and UFMG in 2015 and 2016 respectively. During that time, the UTS Visiting Fellow Program has facilitated academic exchange and co-publication between the universities.
A UTS agreement with Chile’s National Commission for Scientific and Technological Research (CONICYT) is also underway, which aims to create new opportunities for PhD student exchange between UC and UTS.
A special project proposal for the Minas Gerais State Agency for Research and Development (FAPEMIG) in Brazil is currently underway and will be jointly presented with UFMG.