ESPOL is a research oriented university located in Ecuador (South America) which provides society with professionals who will contribute with their knowledge to Ecuador’s development and through its research to the country’s economic growth and population welfare. ESPOL counts with six Faculties, eight research centres, 51 Ph.D’s (50 in process of graduation in the next 2 years), 49 undergraduate programs (10,164 students), 24 graduate programs (1,012 students) out of which two, “Environmental Sciences” and “Climate Change”, are related to the Erasmus Biodiversity and Conservation Program, and one is an ongoing ERASMUS graduate program with Gent University since 2008 (IMRD - International Master of Science in Rural Development).
One of ESPOL’s Faculties is directly related to EMBC initiative. The Marine Engineering, Biological and Oceanic Sciences and Natural Resources Faculty (FIMCBOR), has ongoing academic and research activities oriented towards marine/freshwater organisms and environmental conservation. The CENAIM (National Aquaculture and Marine Science Research Centre) is one of the research centres associated to the FIMCBOR. Research programs (VLIR-IUC) in cooperation with University of Gent (Belgium) have been and are focused on the identification of live organisms as environmental and aquaculture management practice bio-indicators.
Recently, ESPOL was granted (April 2012) by VLIR a new funding initiative to develop an interuniversity masters program in Ecuador in network with three other Ecuadorian universities and in collaboration with several Universities in Belgium in the field of Water resource management, and Bio-discovery and Conservation.
Even though Ecuador is a small country with regard to its extension (283,561 km2), it is one of the richest countries in the world in terms of biodiversity (aquatic and terrestrial), therefore it is a unique site where biodiversity and conservation studies can be undertaken. Being ESPOL located in such an exclusive location it will offer the ERASMUS students the opportunity to develop internships and execute thesis topics, either at its coastline campus (CENAIM research institute) or at CIBE (Biotechnology Institute at Prosperina Campus). CENAIM’s research facilities are located on the coastline of the Santa Elena province, offering diverse sites for sampling (estuarine, marine, intertidal, open water, aquaculture site, national park), laboratories with different types of microscopes and equipment for processing/identification of species, different dimension and setup of experimental units (tanks, aquariums) to undertake trial/tests, and analytical laboratories for water/soil/organism chemistry, microbiology and molecular analysis. CIBE is a Biotechnology Institute located in Guayaquil, which is currently oriented to agriculture and plant studies; nevertheless, its facilities may broaden the opportunity for internships in molecular and genetic analysis of organisms.