Modern Biotechnology


  • The Latin America region is negatively affected by a knowledge gap that is characterized by a disconnection between knowledge generated at academic institutions and its application in industrial areas. With the Modern Biotechnology Programme, the UNU Programme for Biotechnology in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNU-BIOLAC) aims to promote the entrepreneurial capabilities of students through the use of biotechnology tools. It also aims to foster a better understanding of the significance of intellectual property and the importance of technology transfer, as well as raising awareness of the potential impact of biotechnology on the environment and human health. These objectives are met through short training courses, fellowships, thematic workshops, and research networks built around specific areas of interest.

    Focal Points

    UNU-BIOLAC’s coordinator and advisors are responsible for the management and coordination of all activities.


    Since biotechnology is a continuously developing area, there is a need for UNU-BIOLAC to identify the best researchers and successful biotechnology business in Latin America and the world, to monitor new experience and emerging developments and to present them to young Latin American researchers who can then translate this knowledge into opportunities to become independent business people.


    Special efforts are being made to inform countries, institutes and young scientists about existing biotechnological resources and capabilities in the region; promote technology transfer and productive capacity development; and keep young scholars informed about new trends and potential business opportunities in biotechnology. This is done via electronic communications, web page announcements, and online scientific and social networks.


    UNU-BIOLAC takes into account gender balance when analysing and approving proposals, as well as in considering fellowship applications.

    Target Audience

    The targeted audience consists mainly of young researchers seeking to launch new businesses in biotechnology. The programme also targets private or public companies in biotechnology.

    Intended Impact

    Impact: Capacity development in developed/developing countries
    Target: Our target audience, for organizers of course proposals and participants, are young Latin American researches in the field of biotechnology willing to disseminate the knowledge acquired once they return to their home institutions.
    How: This will be achieved through courses and field experience that teach hands-on approaches to the development of business or the application of knowledge. This will help create new sources of employment and increase economic productivity. UNU-BIOLAC’s web page is becoming more visible within the scientific community and even outside the Latin American region.

    Value Added

    The results of these efforts will have a positive impact on the UN system as a whole by increasing levels of capacity development, dissemination and transfer of knowledge in developing countries. Countries benefit from the programme’s aim to expand their economic base, encouraging prosperity and a better standard of living.


    During courses and trainings, people related to the industry and government are invited to address the students and get information about the purpose of the training. The experiences will be posted on the UNU-BIOLAC webpage.

    Timeline/Programme Cycle

    This is a continuous programme with multiple year projects. Every two years, a follow-up will be conducted on courses and training activities.


    The evaluation consists, in part, of a follow-up on trainees’ activities after the training. As indicators of performance, employment within the public or private sectors will be assessed by, for example, measuring how many trainees have started new companies or small businesses.


    The main challenge for this programme is to break the non-corporate culture, or non-business orientation of the Latin American academic world. Second, the absence of venture capital is a handicap that needs to be corrected by government support.

    Expected Duration

    The programme is expected to run for a duration of 24 months, from 1 January 2012 through 31 December 2013.

  • United Nations University
    Biotechnology Programme for Latin America and the Caribbean

    María del Valle Bello.

    Carretera Nacional Hoyo de la Puerta. Instituto de Estudios Avanzados IDEA.
    Edificio Bolívar.
    Piso 3.
    Oficina UNU-BIOLAC.
    Caracas, Estado Miranda, 1080.

    T: +58 (212) 9621120
    +58 (212) 9621644
    +58 (212) 9621605
    F: +58 (212) 96202223