Acronyms 3 Mission Context and Background 5

Title level 2 Instituto Superior Politecnico Jose Antonio Echeverría (ISPJAE)

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Title level 2 Instituto Superior Politecnico Jose Antonio Echeverría (ISPJAE)

ISPJAE is the largest technical university in Cuba and coordinates national collaboration in this field within the HE System. It has six faculties and 10 research centres. While there are evident problems of renewal and maintenance of equipment and facilities on the ISPJAE campus, the institution is recognised for the quality of its teaching and research staff as well as for its active and diverse links with the productive sector, providing assistance to a wide network of enterprises and industries throughout the country. The institution has an active policy of internationalisation which is evidenced through its participation in international projects and networks with many institutions in Europe and Latin America (including two VLIR-UOS OIs and three South Initiatives).

While ISPJAE is not a candidate for an IUC programme because of the regional priority and strength of its existing international and national programmes , in the context of the current identification mission, the potential involvement of the ISPJAE should be considered in projects in the following areas:

Environment: clean technology and production, clean and efficient energy and renewable energy through the involvement of the Technology Department of the Architecture Faculty, the Geosciences Department of the Faculty of Civil Engineering and the Centro de Estudios de Tecnologias Energeticas Renovables (CETER).

ICT and applications: artificial intelligence and computer sciences, bioinformatics, bioengineering, through the involvement of the Bioengineering Department of the Faculty of Electric Engineering and the Centro de Estudios de Ingeniería de Sistemas (CEIS).

    1. Universidad de Ciencias Informaticas (UCI)

UCI was created on the site of a former Russian military base in 2002 as an initiative of Fidel Castro with the twin objectives of training Informatics Science professionals, highly committed to the development of the country, and the production of software and informatics services based on the study-work pedagogical model, serving as a support for the development of the Cuban software industry. UCI was developed under the control of the Ministry of Communications, but its transfer to the MES is currently underway.

This institution has been provided with excellent facilities and the technological infrastructure and equipment reach far higher standards than most other HEIs in Cuba. Considering that this is a national and governmental priority institution it is remarkable that only national students have been enrolled in its courses since its foundation. Most of the software and services produced by its students have been developed for Cuban and Venezuelan organisations.

Despite its impressive infrastructure, UCI remains a weak institution in terms of its academic and scientific potential. The number of PhD among its teaching staff is very low in comparison with other technical universities of the country and most of the members of the academic staff are former students of the institution. Nonetheless, the university seems to have a good strategy for resolving this weakness in the coming years.

It has potential as a stakeholder in future cooperation projects and has offered its facilities as a host of a national centre for postgraduate training on informatics and computer sciences, possibly in collaboration with UCLV (see Error: Reference source not found). At this stage, this seems to be an excellent way of involving UCI in the future VLIR-UOS programmes in Cuba.

    1. Universidad Agraria de La Habana (UNAH) and the Centro Nacional de Sanidad Agropecuaria (CENSA)

UNAH, CENSA, ICA and INCA integrate a specialist academic and scientific national centre of excellence. This group of institutions has a leading role in the implementation of national policies in the agricultural sector, and these institutions coordinate most of the academic and scientific networks within the HE system. At the same time, the institutions work closely with the Ministry of Agriculture as well as with other research and production institutions related to this economical sector.

The university and three research centres have built a good cooperation network with academic and scientific institutions in Latin America and Europe and collaborate with international organisations and NGOs in the implementation of different projects in fields like the rural development and food production.

Of particular significance is a pilot project on local management and development of agricultural production that UNAH began to implement recently in the new provinces of Mayabeque and Artemisa (territories of the former Province of Habana). This pilot project is a result of the new economic policy implemented by the national government to empower the private sector and decentralised the national economy. Through this project the UNAH is experimenting new models for the organisation of the agricultural sector. The project includes training and advice to local governments (municipalities), cooperatives and local producers on agricultural business management.

Among the main lines of research developed in a coordinated scheme by the 4 centres are:

  • Sustainable rural development

  • Sustainable agricultural production

  • Plant health

  • Animal health

  • Animal and plant biotechnology

  • Animal reproduction

  • Genetics and animal breeding

  • Nutrition and bio-fertilisation plant

  • Production and quality of milk and meat

  • Soil management

  • Conservation of soil, water and genetic resources

  • Development and production of diagnostic kits and drugs for veterinary and agriculture use

  • Development of technologies for pest management

  • Applied bioinformatics

Considering the definition of food security and agricultural production as the biggest national priority, the involvement of the four institutions that make up UNAH in any projects implemented in this area would be relevant and a significant strength. UNAH has a long history of collaboration and cooperation with Flemish universities including several OIs.

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