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Colciencias and Sapiencia Fund New Higher Education Partnerships Between the United States and Colombia

Taylor Nelson
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Colciencias and Sapiencia Fund New Higher Education Partnerships Between the United States and Colombia

100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund Announces Grant Winning Institutions

Los Angeles, May 28, 2017. The U.S. Department of State, Partners of the Americas, and NAFSA: Association of International Educators announced the latest 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund grant winners sponsored by Colombia’s Department of Science, Technology and Innovation – Colciencias and the City of Medellin’s Higher Education Agency – Sapiencia.

The goal of 100,000 Strong in the Americas, the leading education initiative in the Western Hemisphere, is to increase the annual number of U.S. students studying in Latin America and the Caribbean to 100,000, and bring 100,000 students to the United States by 2020.  Innovation Fund grants fuel strategic new partnerships among higher education institutions in the United States and the rest of the Western Hemisphere to create innovative and sustainable student exchange and training programs. Since January 2014, Innovation Fund grants have been strengthening institutional capacity, increasing student mobility, providing more training opportunities, and enhancing regional education cooperation in the Americas.

This is the first Innovation Fund grant competition supported by Colciencias and Sapiencia and will facilitate five new higher education partnerships between the United States and Colombia. These grants will provide more dynamic exchange and training opportunities for students in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), agricultural sciences, and social sciences, with an emphasis on post-conflict resolution and peace building.

For Colciencias, this type of alliance that generates international mobility is of great impact for the country, since it will be a learning process in which the students strengthen their capacities through cultural exchange, which means a great contribution for the generation of knowledge and for the scientific development of Colombia.

The five Innovation Fund grants announced today for higher education institutions in the United States and Colombia will continue groundbreaking exchange programs that allow students to work in teams, gain technical skills, and become more competent for the global 21st century workforce.  Innovation Fund grants are $45,000 each, and grant-winning university teams contribute additional resources to leverage and implement unique short-term study abroad programs in the Western Hemisphere.

New Innovation Fund grants sponsored by Colciencias and Sapiencia will be awarded to:

Computer Vision Applications: Joint Research Training Program ITM-UTEP
Instituto Tecnológico Metropolitano  (Medellin, Colombia), in partnership with the University of Texas at El Paso (Texas, U.S.), will develop a joint research training program for students pursuing computer and electrical engineering degrees to develop research skills in computer vision, an interdisciplinary field that encompasses systems, models, and techniques in acquisition, processing, analysis and interpretation of digital images and video.

Joint Research Development: Creating Knowledge Together
Tecnológico de Antioquia – Institución Universitaria (Medellin, Colombia, in collaboration with Tennessee State University (Tennessee, U.S.) and Institución Universitaria Pascual Bravo (Medellin, Colombia), will implement a program to promote student engagement in research in engineering and technology at both the undergraduate and doctoral levels.

Program for Internationalization of Life-experiences, Learning and Research for Students in Engineering – P.I.L.L.A.R.S in Engineering
Universidad del Norte (Barranquilla, Colombia) and Texas Tech University (Texas, U.S.) designed innovative model for students from low-income families and those with financial hardship in Colombia and the U.S. to participate in an international research and educational exchange in the theme of renewable energy.

Technical-Scientific Exchange for Knowledge Generation Around the Poultry Production Chain, Promoting Young Researchers for the Growth of the Poultry Production in the Tolima Department and in Colombia
Universidad del Tolima (Ibague, Colombia), with North Carolina State University (North Carolina, U.S.), will collaborate on a program that will improve the training of undergraduate students in agricultural sciences through research in the poultry sector, and enable them to contribute to the knowledge and experiences around food production, and understanding family farming and agricultural activities managed by poultry farmers in the U.S. and Colombia.

Virtual Health Sciences Education to Tackle Rural Health Outcomes in Post-Conflict Colombia
Universitaria Juan N. Corpas (Bogotá, Colombia) partnered with Eastern Washington University (Washington, U.S.), proposes a program focused on health care and post-conflict studies that will provide students the opportunity to conduct research and provide policy proposals on improving health outcomes and increase access in post-conflict rural settings in Colombia.


The 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund is the dynamic public-private sector collaboration between the U.S. Department of State, Partners of the Americas, and NAFSA: Association of International Educators, corporations, foundations, and U.S. Embassies working together to inspire U.S. universities and community colleges to team up with universities in the Western Hemisphere to create new student exchange and training opportunities and strengthen regional education cooperation and workforce development.

Since its inception in January 2014, a total of 118 Innovation Fund grants have been awarded to teams of 235 higher education institutions from 25 countries in the Western Hemisphere region.  Innovation Fund partnerships between universities and community colleges in the United States and higher education institutions in the Western Hemisphere are increasing more student exchange opportunities and strengthening regional education cooperation throughout the Americas.

Learn More: www.100KStrongAmericas.org

Follow the Innovation Fund on Twitter and Facebook via #100KStrongAmericas.

The mission of Partners of the Americas is to connect people and organizations across borders to serve and to change lives through lasting partnerships. These partnerships create opportunity, foster understanding, and solve real-life problems. Inspired by President Kennedy and founded in 1964, under the Alliance for Progress, Partners is a non-profit, non-partisan organization with international offices in Washington, DC.  Learn more at www.partners.net or via Twitter @partnersamerica.

With 10,000 members worldwide, NAFSA: Association of International Educators is the largest non-profit professional association dedicated to international education program and policy. Learn more at www.nafsa.org and www.connectingourworld.org or via Twitter @NAFSA and @ConnectOurWorld.

COLCIENCIAS – Administrative Department of Science, Technology and Innovation

The goal of COLCIENCIAS is to create better conditions for the development of Colombia’s scientific and technological knowledge; to stimulate the innovative capacity of the productive sector; to have the capacity to use, create, and acquire knowledge; to improve the support services for scientific research, to develop technology and innovation; to facilitate the public approbation of knowledge; to consolidate the National System of Science, Technology and Innovation, and in general, be able to boost the creativity of Colombian citizens in order to improve quality of life. www.colciencias.gov.co

The Higher Education Agency of Medellín – SAPIENCIA (special administrative unit of the Municipal Order), is an initiative of the Mayor’s Office of Medellín, the first and only in Colombia, focused on formulating and leading the policy and guidelines of the higher education system of Medellín. We concentrate and promote the strategies for improving and strengthening the city’s higher education system.