UQ and Chile

Partnering for change

UQ's world-recognised research strengths in mining and engineering are valuable to Chile, where copper export alone stands for more than one third of government income. In fact, the country’s major copper mining companies – including Codelco – are currently partnering on a range of projects led by UQ chemical engineers.

Fast facts


Chilean students enrolled at UQ


Chile-UQ co-publications


academic staff born in Chile


research project collaboration


alumni in Chile


agreements with 7 official partners

Fast facts show full year 2023 data. 



Chile and UQ have partnered on 526 co-publications in the past 5 years, with key research areas including Astronomy & Astrophysics, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, and Environmental Sciences. UQ's top co-publishing partners are the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Universidad de Concepción, and Universidad de Chile.

Research collaborations

In the past 5 years, UQ has collaborated with Universidad de Concepción, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, and Altonorte on 3 research projects. 

Research funding

Chilean organisations, including SMI International Centre of Excellence in ChileNational Copper Corporation of Chile, and Complejo Metalurgico Altonorte have contributed A$1,883,529 towards 14 research projects in the past 5 years. 

Collaboration in action

Partnering with industry to tackle water-supply concerns

The Sustainable Minerals Institute’s International Centre of Excellence in Chile (SMI-ICE-Chile) has partnered with Mitsubishi Corporation subsidiary M.C. Inversiones Limitada (MCI) to provide Chilean industries and society with sustainable water supply system planning tools. The smart tools will assist in designing optimised water supply systems that minimise economic costs and environmental impacts by taking into account local contexts and conditions. Water consumption across most sectors in Chile is increasing and availability is declining, causing concerns for continued industrial productivity, ecosystem health and society in general. SMI-ICE-Chile researchers lead the 3-year project, working in close collaboration with MCI, colleagues at UQ’s Sustainable Minerals Institute and local partners in Chile.

Advancing the desalination supply system in Chile

An agreement between Sustainable Minerals Institute Centre of Excellence in Chile (SMI-ICE-Chile) and TRENDS Industrial paves the way for collaboration on an integrated multi-user desalination supply system in Chile’s Atacama region. TRENDS Industrial is the company behind the Energías y Aguas del Pacífico project a solar-powered desalination project in the Atacama Region, which aims to ensure the stability of the industrial water supply. Chile and the Atacama Region is in severe drought, and continued industrial development, especially by the mining industry, will depend on sustainable water supply. SMI-ICE-Chile’s Executive Director Professor David Mulligan said, “The mining industry is responding and seeking to adopt and implement the outcomes of such initiatives.”

Renewable energy developments threaten biodiverse areas

More than 2000 renewable energy facilities are built in areas of environmental significance and threaten the natural habitats of plant and animal species across the globe. A UQ research team and School of Earth and Environmental Sciences lead author Mr José Rehbein mapped the location of solar, wind and hydropower facilities in wilderness, protected areas and key biodiversity areas. Mr Rehbein said he was alarmed by the findings. The team urge governments, industry and development organisations to avoid expanding renewable energy facilities into conservation areas and plan for alternative locations. Chile was one of the key countries studied by the team. Mr Rehbein now works for The World Bank as an ocean and climate change consultant. 

Changing the lives of children and families

The UQ-developed Triple P – Positive Parenting Program is offered free of charge to families in several Chilean municipalities to prevent child maltreatment (funded by the Ministry of Social Development) and to help prevent teen antisocial behaviour (funded by the Ministry of Home Affairs). Staff from these municipalities have been trained to offer a range of Triple P seminars as well as one-on-one and group interventions through schools, community centres and healthcare providers. 

Student mobility

Masters of Business articulation

High achieving students from the University of Chile have the opportunity to articulate into the UQ Master of Business thanks to a long-standing double degree arrangement with the Faculty of Business, Economics and Law (BEL). Students undertaking the UChile Master of Global Management can undertake a study abroad year or a Master degree, following the first part of their studies in Santiago. Students complete the UQ Master of Business in seven months by following an accelerated study plan.

Hands-on experience for engineering students

The Faculty of Engineering, Architecture, and Information Technology facilitates field trips to Chile, giving chemical and metallurgical engineering students exposure to some of the world's largest minerals processing operations. In partnership with the Catholic University of the North, in Antofagasta, the students are given the opportunity to visit mine sites, and meet industry representatives from a range of companies, including Complejo Metalúrgico Altonorte, Codelco, BHP Billiton, and Anglo American.


UQ has 400 alumni living in Chile. Alumni from or living in Chile include:

Veterinary science academic and researcher, and former Rector of Austral University of Chile (PhD – Vet Pathology 1988)
Co-Founder and Executive Director of Patagua; Previously, Camila was a volunteer for Fundación América Solidaria in the Dominican Republic, where she worked on natural resource management and local development projects (Master of Integrated Water Management 2011)