Welcome to the selected LA regions for collaboration under the IUC-LAC Project.

Currently the LA regions available for your selection in order to initiate a pairing action for collaboration are: Brasilia (Brazil), Minas Gerais (Brazil), Biobío (Chile), Tarapacá (Chile) and O’Higgins (Chile)

We are pleased to invite EU Regions to express their interest to collaborate in a pairing action with Brasilia, located in the Centre of Brazil. The region has around 3,040.000 inhabitants and a GDP per capita of EUR 16,888.35 (conversion date: 2015). The Deputy Secretary of Strategic Affairs of Environment of the Federal District formally represents the region of Brasilia in the IUC-LAC Project.

The Federal District, where Brasilia, the capital of Brazil, is located, has complex territorial management issues. Highly urbanised and surrounded by a rural belt, it requires strong coordination amongst different state secretariats to ensure a proper zooning of its economic activities in alignment with the conservation and recovery of its ecological areas and associated ecosystem services.

The region aims to develop information systems and technologies able to integrate data and information from various government sources in order to enable its interpretation and use in an integrated manner across the regional government as well as by individual economic sectors.

Recently the regional government has developed its Economic-Ecological Zooning, which is currently in the state legislative chamber for approval. It is the first in-depth attempt to perform a holistic understanding of the Federal District territory in order to plan current and future economic activities aligned with its ecological characteristics. Hence, there is critical mass in terms of the requirements for an integrated management system able to build a holistic and comprehensive understanding of the territory.

In this context, an innovation strategy that enables an integrated management of the territory is key for the future of a region that foresees new 60 thousand inhabitants per year in the coming decades. This includes building a vision and anticipating socioeconomic and environmental challenges and associated integrated management as well as policy solutions. For instance, it is well known that Brasilia is currently facing challenges that will deepen in the future, such as: clean water availability; increasing temperatures due to climate change; solid waste disposal, treatment and energy conversion; clean and efficient energy and (mass-transit) mobility, among others. Also, that an integrated management system able to automate the authorisation of socioeconomic activities in the territory or otherwise is key to support decision making processes as well as to enable the region to direct innovation investments towards non-polluting activities. To this end, the region has put in place a number of policies and related instruments, and is currently devising an innovation strategy aligned to its Economic-Ecological Zooning.

Based on the above, pairing with a EU region shall enable Brasilia to share experiences and transfer knowledge between both regions. Also, to strengthen its strategic economic sectors in alignment with its Economic-Ecological Zooning, and to refine and implement its innovation strategy learning from the RIS3 approach. Ultimately, this shall build complementarities and enable access to new markets, and to improve its society quality of life. By establishing collaboration in areas of common interest, the aim is to leverage new business opportunities and leverage projects jointly developed. The main areas for joint collaboration with a EU partner, therefore, are:

  • Development of technologies for licensing and authorisation of socioeconomic activities in the territory;

  • Development of a Geo-referenced and Integrated Information System (GIS) to support the overall management of socioeconomic activities in the territory in alignment to its Economic-Ecological Zooning;

  • Development of technologies to convert solid waste contamination and for energy reuse;

  • Development of a methodology and associated information system to support managing river basins as well as of technologies able to ensure clean quality water for human consumption;

  • Development of technologies and associated management and metering models for the production of decentralised solar energy.


Aerial view of Belo Horizonte in Minas Gerais, Brazil

We are pleased to invite EU Regions to express their interest to collaborate in a pairing action with Minas Gerais, located in the Southeast of Brazil. The region has around 21,100.000 inhabitants and a GDP per capita of US$ 38,600,000.00 (conversion date: 2018). The Governor of the State of Minas Gerais formally represents the region in the IUC-LAC Project.

The State strategy named International Matters Network enabled the region to centralise required actions to integrate quintuple helix national and international actors in order to promote an increased focus on exports, especially for SMEs. Such strategy facilitates capillarity of information between all State secretariats and institutions.

Nevertheless, the region is currently still working towards developing appropriate diagnosis and monitoring public policies in order to enhance its ability to obtain external funding and to both prospect and implement solutions in areas such as:

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI)

  • Blockchain

  • Business intelligence

  • Geo-technology

  • Distance education

  • Information security

Regarding its current innovation ecosystem it is important to highlight that Minas Gerais has 14 public universities, of which three are among the top ten in Brazil. The state stands out in the courses such as Agronomy, Biological Sciences, Design, Information Systems, Pharmacy and Engineering, which occupies the first positions in the national rankings of education. In addition, the state hosts the best business school in Latin America, Fundação Dom Cabral.

Three technology parks are currently in operation in Minas Gerais: Belo Horizonte, Itajubá and Viçosa. Three other parks are under construction: Uberaba, Juiz de Fora and Lavras. All of them have close cooperation with local universities, which ensures permanent academic cooperation with companies located in the region. Technology-based companies from various sectors can establish themselves in any of these structures.

Minas Gerais is home to 25 technology-based incubators in several regions of the state. All of them are associated with the Mineira de Inovação. Seven of them have already been recognized as the best incubators in Brazil. The nascent technology-based companies in Minas Gerais can also count on the support of the accelerators installed here, such as Seed. Support for new developments in Minas Gerais takes place from its initial stages and accompanies them throughout the development of the business.

In Minas Gerais, companies can count on specific financing lines for innovation. BDMG, together with Fapemig, offers Pro-Inovação lines for companies with innovative projects, and Proptec, for companies installed in one of the state’s technology parks. There are also lines in partnerships with federal funding bodies. Codemig and BDMG also offer risk capital, through its investment funds in participation: BDMGTEC and Codepar.

The state government encourages innovation through its projects to stimulate creativity and entrepreneurship. Sedectes (the Secretary of State for Economic Development, Science, Technology and Higher Education) congregates its projects in the program “Minas Digital”, which works in diverse fronts for the support to the digital economy, creative economy and innovation. The Mineiro de Inovação System is one of these projects and works to bring Academia and Industry closer together. Innovative projects can also receive special support from Codemig, through its board of directors in support of the high technology industry. Also worthy of note is the Minas Innovation Trail (TMI), which is a strategic initiative of the Minas Gerais innovation ecosystem, involving the main state institutions. The TMI guides the user to find the solution most suited to their demand at a specific time, connecting it with the actions of the various partners.

Companies of high technological content chose Minas Gerais as the destination of their R&D centres. Embraer and Fiat carry out development of new products in Minas Gerais. The CSEM Brazil Microelectronics Centre also found the ideal conditions for its research and development in the state. In addition, public research centres are active in Minas Gerais, such as Fiocruz and Funed. The ten INCTs present in the state are further evidence of the great regional capacity in research and innovation.

The start-ups ecosystem of Minas Gerais has been recognized for its innovative and successful environment. Countless successful start-ups have been created and are established in the state. The San Pedro Valley start-ups community brings together more than 200 technology-based companies, as well as accelerators, incubators, co-working spaces and technology parks. In addition, start-ups from any region of the world are welcome in Belo Horizonte. They can enrol in the Seed Acceleration program, which provides seed capital and training for the development of innovative ideas.

In partnership with The Bakery in London, Hub Minas Digital runs Inspiration Day, a programme that seeks to connect large companies to start-ups. The International Business, Innovation and Technology Fair is the biggest of its kind in Latin America and boosts the formation of businesses and partnerships. Also, the State of Minas Gerais has been attracting several R&D centres, most notably EMBRAER and, more recently, the Hyperloop TT Research and Development centre, which has been installed in the city of Contagem, in the metropolitan area of Belo Horizonte. This demonstrates the state’s commitment to the development of new technologies and the search for innovative mobility solutions as tools for economic development in an intelligent and sustainable way.

Furthermore, Minas Gerais has an increased interest to develop new R&D capacity, especially in:

  • Renewable energy

  • Rare earth

  • Water resources

  • Biotechnology

  • Aerospace

  • Intelligent automotive systems

  • High density network architectures and devices

  • Digital communication devices

  • Surface technologies

  • Machinery

  • Sustainable and economical materials for the construction industry

  • Information management

  • Bovine culture, swine farming, poultry farming and coffee cultivation

  • Recovery of degraded areas and riparian forests

  • Roasting and grinding of coffee

  • International certification for the production of cheeses

  • Production and processing of dairy products

  • Agro-ecology technologies for the semi-arid

  • Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI): environmental information available through geospatial positioning and infrastructure

  • Mobility between Science and Technology (S&T) institutions

  • Family farming

In this context, pairing with a EU region shall enable Minas Gerais to refine its current Innovation Strategy in light of an adapted RIS3 approach in order to integrate quintuple helix actors, as previously mentioned, as well as to define priorities for investments. Moreover, establishing a long-term cooperation with a EU partner shall leverage alignment and adaptation of internal policies, thus facilitating trade negotiations between both regions, the joint development of innovation strategies and sustainable practices, as well as the exchange of technologies, methodologies, knowledge and experiences.

The State Government of Minas Gerais will enable the entire technical staff of the State International Relations for monitoring and executing this pairing action with the selected EU region. This technical staff will also be responsible for articulating with the specific and competent areas of the State of Minas Gerais to work at each niche of the action plan that will be jointly developed. The government will also endeavour to seek other complementary sources of funding, depending on the needs of each joint pilot project developed through the IUC-LAC joint project implementation.

In this context, in terms of specific niches for cooperation, it is important to highlight:

  • Rare earths: in view of Germany’s growing interest in the production of rare earth magnets as a by-product of niobium found in abundance in Alto Paranaíba. CODEMIG and FAPEMIG have already given due attention to this issue. The objective would be for Minas Gerais to add value in mining soil, instead of providing by-products alone, which would require some transfer of technology from Germany.

  • Trade exchange: connection between companies based in Minas Gerais and knowledge and business networks in the European Union selected region, aiming at joint projects or initiatives related to technological innovation and export promotion, in particular of SMEs.

  • Smart Cities: develop technologies and both joint R&D and businesses in areas such as mobility, industry 4.0, sustainability, biofuels, entrepreneurship education and innovation. Different arrangements are possible, including inter-institutional cooperation between regional and foreign universities, cooperation between regional companies and foreign start-ups, between regional start-ups and foreign companies, development of partnerships for the development of biofuels with foreign companies, among others.

  • Development of joint work agendas in mines and management of the period following mineral exploration: promotion of the strengthening of mineral areas or old mining areas, together with the improvement of alternative technologies for tailings disposal, as well as the recovery and conservation of biodiversity and a contribution to fight against pollution.

  • EU certification for cheese production: within the state’s competitive dairy industry, a training effort would be required to enable a large proportion of the highest quality dairy products to be certified by the EU, accrediting companies to export not only to the EU but also to other markets that require such certification. The strategy would serve to consolidate cheese from the high gastronomy of Minas Gerais, such as Serro and Canastra, creating denominations of controlled origin and obtaining the proper certification of handling, production and export, within the requirements of the EU.

  • Innovative exploration of mineral water: with regions in France or with Italy, a cooperative program could be developed that would allow for an improved exploration of the mineral spring waters of the South of the state, considered among the best in the world. The idea is to go beyond the current concession model – a questionable success – and incorporate a robust marketing strategy that incorporates elements of tourism, gastronomy, sustainability, social responsibility and technological innovation, with a view to revitalizing the Circuit of Waters under new greater involvement of the population and the consequent recovery of the identity of the related municipalities, especially Lambari, Cambuquira, São Lourenço and Caxambu, centred on a conscious and innovative exploration of the world famous mineral waters of that region, like the Perrier (France) and Pellegrino (Italy), which are examples of world class products with high added value that generate a positive impact in the cities where the sources of exploitation are located.


We are pleased to invite EU Regions to express their interest to collaborate in a pairing action with Biobío, located in Central Chile and represented by its Regional Governor (Intendente)

Biobío is a reference region in terms of innovation in Chile, but also in Latin America. Specifically, it is positioned as a competitive region for the development of innovation for the following reasons:

  • High number of universities that lead an innovation ecosystem. Biobío, and in particular the city of Concepción, has distinguished itself by its university tradition. In 2017, the number of universities was 16, of which four belonged to the Council of Rectors of Chilean Universities. In 2010, the Professional Institutes were 16 and the Technical Training Centers 13. In fact, together with Santiago de Chile, Concepción (capital of Biobío) has been the main university city of Chile. The University of Concepción, for example, has traditionally been located among the top three universities in the country in different rankings. In 2015, the number of university students enrolled in the region amounted to 151,766, an important part of which came from other regions of the country (CNED data). Universities are beneficiaries of public funds for the development of innovations, many of them transferable to the business fabric. Also, some universities have strategic alliances with European universities or other countries of the northern hemisphere, to jointly develop R & D & I projects.
  • In 2015, the GDP amounted to 10,853,256 thousand dollars, which represented about 7% of the total of Chile. It is the region of Chile, after the Metropolitan Region, with the highest volume of population and employment. In 2015, the population amounted to 2,164,658 people and employment totaled 879,962 jobs, according to data from the National Institute of Statistics. This potential of human capital, a good part of which has been trained in their universities and whose level of qualification is higher than the average of the country, constitutes an input of great relevance to lead new ventures and innovations.
  • High degree of diversification of its economic activity. Productive diversification must be interpreted as one of the main strengths of the economic and business structure of the Biobío Region, in accordance with the Regional Development Strategy (ERD) and especially the Regional Innovation Strategy (ERI) already implemented in the territory. The use of the natural resources of Biobío has allowed the development of fishing, agri-food and forestry activities with a significant projection in the national and, sometimes, international market. On the other hand, the metal-mechanic activity has played a fundamental role in the development of the region, while it has contributed in a remarkable way to define the industrial profile of Biobío and to be a source of innovations. At present, the innovation activities to be implemented in the industrial sector are linked to areas such as advanced manufacturing or industry 4.0, as well as the industrial companies that lead territorial development in many regions of the European Union.

– Relevance of the creative pole of the region. Biobío stands out for having a creative pole, concentrated mainly in Concepción and its surroundings, through:

o The plurality of its research centers and academics.

o The creation of companies specialized in new technologies, ITC, design, engineering and art.

o The diversity of artistic and cultural activities.

In addition, we must add other comparative advantages in the region that should be mentioned:

  • Biobío occupies a geographical place of strategic character, being located in the southern half of Chile, positioning itself as a “bridge region” with the south of the country and the rest of the regions.
  • Biobío has important port infrastructures and the second most important airport in the country.

On the other hand, it is necessary to insist that Biobío has a Regional Innovation Strategy, based on the RIS3 methodology, which has favored universities, companies and new entrepreneurs to access public funds through instruments (national or regional) such as the Innovation Fund for Competitiveness (FIC), the National Fund for Regional Development (FNDR), CONICYT or CORFO, among others.

The update of the Regional Innovation Strategy, scheduled for 2018, will allow the region to reevaluate its competitive capabilities, incorporate new strategic axes and programs, assume new challenges and reach compromises among the set of actors that build the regional innovation ecosystem.

In this context, the link with an EU region will allow Biobío to launch a regional planning instrument, based on consensus and widely validated by the entire regional innovation ecosystem. It will be a meeting point to guide all investments and efforts in science, technology and innovation, in function of the intelligent specialization of the different sectors of the region.

The establishment of collaboration in areas of common interest with an associated EU region will allow the exploitation of new business opportunities and the definition of projects to be jointly developed.

The fields of interest that Biobío proposes to promote future collaborations with Europe in the economic and technological field are:

  • Metal industry – mechanics
  • Industry 4.0
  • Creative industries (ITC, design, engineering, art, audiovisual, music)
  • Agroindustry
  • Forestry
  • Ports activity
  • Logistics


The clock tower of Iquique, Tarapacá Region, Chile

We are pleased to invite EU Regions to express their interest to collaborate in a pairing action with Tarapacá, located in the North of Chile. The region has around 325.000 inhabitants and a GDP per capita of US $ 17,696 (conversion date: 2018). The Regional Governor (Intendente) of Tarapacá formally represents the region in the IUC-LAC Project.

The Regional Government of Tarapacá has been linked for about 10 years to Innovation, through the application of the Innovation Fund for Competitiveness – FIC, which is one of the main tools that the region has in matters of decentralization. Though this instrument it decides and distributes annual resources for science, technology and innovation.

Given the aforementioned, the region has a Regional Innovation Strategy, based on the RIS methodology, which has directed investment in innovation and which is in the process of being updated. In this way, the Regional Government of Tarapacá has invested around US $ 36,000,000 in a series of projects in various strategic and emerging sectors of the region, to improve regional competitiveness.

The latter includes the need to improve technology transfer mechanisms; strengthen technology-based entrepreneurship or science; promote the value of research; enhance intellectual property processes; improve production scaling; promote risk financing mechanisms; strengthen global, dynamic and high growth enterprises; promote creative economies, social economies and public innovation; promote a collaborative culture; improve the diffusion and valorisation of the results of regional innovation; establish sustainability mechanisms and smart cities; among others.

The Tarapacá region has significant comparative advantages over other regions of Chile:

  • It is geographically in a strategic position at the national level, with direct access to the southern cone and global markets, thanks to a dynamic foreign trade sector and constant growth. This is strengthened by its Free Zone regime, which allows goods to transit free of tax to neighbouring countries and within the region.

  • Consolidated mining sector at the national level and with a series of opportunities for the development of technological solutions

  • Development of a renewable energy growing sector, car Tarapacá has one of the highest solar irradiations in the world, as well as climate stability

  • Increasing tourist activity throughout the year based in its history and multiculturalism, as well as its geography and climate.

Tarapacá considers itself as a competitive region for the development of innovation as a mechanism to achieve important levels of territorial development, namely:

  • Tarapacá has several regional and national universities that develop various R&D actions and are inserted in all the strategic sectors of the region.

  • It has a regional innovation ecosystem that is more articulated each year and with a series of instances installed for the development of entrepreneurship such as co-working, HUBs, Prototyping Laboratory, among others.

  • Regional human capital has been strengthened through multiple specialization programs and also the region has a critical scientific mass and important generated knowledge, which has also been highlighted at a national and international level, such as high altitude medicine, water resources, agriculture in the desert, biotechnology, among others.

These actions respond to a society increasingly aware and demanding of creative and innovative solutions, which must be addressed through social innovation and public innovation, where the role of the Regional Government must be increasingly leader.

Effectively, the challenges set out above must have financing mechanisms and routers. For this, the region has funding from the Innovation Fund for Competitiveness, which is applied through the current Regional Innovation Strategy. Having an update of the current Innovation Strategy to one of RIS3 or smart specialisation, will enable the region to value its competitive conditions, incorporate new strategic axes, new challenges and reach consensus through the process with the different actors of the regional system of Innovation. The region will discuss these challenges, which will make it possible to validate them through regional consensus, and will allow the sustainability of the future measures addressed to improve regional competitiveness.

Through an update of its current innovation strategy a new radiography of the Tarapacá region will be obtained and new initiatives will have another orientation through innovation projects. Subsequently, the established guidelines will allow organizing innovation work in the region (in a decentralized future). This will be key when preparing bidding rules to distribute Innovation funds, and to support the internalisation of the applicants.

In this context, pairing with a EU region will enable Tarapacá to develop a regional planning instrument (RIS3), based on consensus and widely validated by the entire regional innovation system. This will be key to direct in the future all investments in science, technology and innovation, which will have a high territorial component and will promote the smart specialisation of the different sectors of the region. Based on the above, this instrument will favour the mobilization of all key actors of the regional innovation system, under the same discourse and through common interests, generating investment in innovation.

The expectations of Tarapacá with regards to the collaboration with an EU partner region include sharing experiences and learnings to incorporate them in the application, administration and planning of resources in science, technology and innovation. Also, it is expected to acquire a series of competencies and good practices in a number of areas, such as decentralization, technology transfer mechanisms, intellectual property management, deployment and role of the public sector in Science and Technology, planning of smart cities, among others. In addition, the establishment of collaborative networks at diverse levels, including academia, the public sector, companies, shall encourage instances of mutual collaboration.

The process of updating Tarapacá’s Regional Innovation Strategy through the RIS3 methodology will strengthen its Innovation system and its regional capacities. Hence, by establishing collaboration in areas of common interest with a partner EU region, the aim is to leverage new business opportunities and leverage (institutional, business, technological) projects jointly developed with the European partner Region.

The main areas for joint collaboration with a EU partner, therefore, are:

  • Mining

  • Solar and renewable energies

  • Logistic activities

  • Tourism

  • Water resources

  • Desert agriculture

  • Biotechnology

  • High altitude medicine


Vineyard at Kaiserstuhl / Rhine rift valley (Vitis vinifera)

We are pleased to invite EU Regions to express their interest to collaborate in a pairing action with O’Higgins (Del Libertador General Bernardo O’Higgins), a region located in the Centre of Chile. The region has around 915.000 inhabitants and a GDP per capita of EUR 1,092.93 (conversion date: 2018). The Governor (Intendente) formally represents the region of O’Higgins in the IUC-LAC Project.

Key sectors in O’Higgins include agro-food (fresh fruits, meats, wines, nuts) and mining (copper and molybdenum). In these sectors, the region possesses critical mass in genetics, adaptation of crop varieties, automation, plant and animal health, as well as water and energy efficiency. Key associated challenges are environmental sustainability and adaptation to climate change, aggregation of value and transformation of the raw materials, international positioning and the global image of the region, and its territorial balance.

In this context, an innovation strategy under development should contribute to identifying priority areas for investments and to building a proper governance structure amongst the key actors that represent the productive sectors, academia, the public sector and other relevant organizations in the key sectors identified.

Based on the above, pairing with a EU region shall enable O’Higgins to share experiences and transfer knowledge between both regions. Also, to strengthen its strategic economic sectors and develop new business opportunities between firms in both regions. Finally, to establish new collaboration networks between companies and research organisations.

Hence, the main economic areas for joint collaboration with an EU partner are:

  • Agroindustry (development of more sophisticated productions)

  • Wine

  • Livestock activity (cattle raising)

  • Technologies to develop Agriculture 4.0 and Agriculture of Precision

  • Water management

  • Auxiliary activities of Mining

  • Auxiliary activities of Renewable Energies

  • Metal-mechanic, in particular related to machines and tools for the agriculture

  • Tourism and enotourism

  • Logistic

And the proposed research and knowledge areas of collaboration are:

  • genetics, adaptation of crop varieties

  • automation

  • plant and animal health

  • water and energy efficiency

  • environmental sustainability

  • adaptation to climate change