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The University of Southampton
Biological Sciences

Southampton academic helps develop world-leading higher education in the Amazon

Published: 2 December 2013
IKIAM Workshop

Professor Phil Newland, Associate Dean for Internationalisation in the Faculty of Natural and Environmental Sciences at the University of Southampton, is one of a team of global academics invited to Ecuador to advise on plans for a new Amazonian University IKIAM.

Southampton is one of only three Universities from the UK involved in the project that aims to make IKIAM (which means rainforest in the shuar native language) a pioneering research institution in Life Sciences, Earth Sciences and Human Settlements.

The government of Ecuador is investing US $1.6billion in higher education in 2013 and will spend a further US $8.2billion in the knowledge and human talent sector by 2017. The country's President Dr Rafael Correa is scheduled to address delegates during their six day workshop in Tena, a city in the Amazonian rainforest. They will also visit the capital Quito.

Associate Dean for Internationalisation
Professor Philip Newland

"It is early days because the university is not scheduled to admit students for a number of years, but the project has been approved unanimously by the National Assembly and building work will begin in June 2014," explains Phil. "We will be discussing the new university's academic, organisational and research strategy and exploring its development. This ambitious project needs international partners and Biological Sciences, Ocean and Earth Science and the Institute for Life Sciences at Southampton are all well placed to build strategic alliances for the benefit of all partners."

Phil is aiming to identify areas for exciting novel collaborative research projects and new educational opportunities that will involve fieldwork in the rainforest for University of Southampton undergraduate and postgraduate students.

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