University of Chile
The Center

The International Center for Andean Studies (INCAS) is an autonomous branch of the University of Chile, conceived as a place in which research on high altitude environment can be developed. Current research areas are:

  • Biomedicine (human and animal adaptations to high altitudes).
  • Human and Social Sciences (cultural and social adaptations to high altitude ecological systems).
  • Earth Sciences (geology and geophysics, hydric resources).
  • Vegetation (botanic, taxonomy, vegetational dynamic).
  • Animal Resources (flock management, genetic, wild and domestic populations ecology).
  • Cosmic radiation.
  • Seismology.

In recent years, anthropogenic strains upon this area have increased, producing environmental degradation and damage. The modernization process occurring in the country i.e., road system expansion economic development, mining and water resource extraction for industrial and urban use, tourist activity, etc., is threatening the existence of this "fragile ecosystem. Desertification – water supply crisis – damage to the fauna – consequent migration to the cities – exploitation of natural resources and adaptation of human beings to living in high altitude conditions – are subjects that require our immediate attention.

These problems are addressed through interdisciplinary studies, involving legal, economic and scientific aspects. The University of Chile and other regional universities (Tarapaca. Arturo Prat and Antofagasta), as institution from Chile, CONAF, SAG, Corporacion de Estudios y Desarrollo Norte Grande, Bio-Digital, Taller de Estudios Andinos, etc., and from Peru. Bolivia and Argentina, have been doing research in the area. There is a need to establish an efficient mechanism to interconnect and coordinate their scientific work. The University of Chile has taken the initiative to create the International Center for Andean Studies (INCAS) with this idea in mind. Cooperation includes the four countries that share the altiplanic territory and other countries that are working on mountain ecosystems. Scientists from the USA, UK, France, Germany, China, Ecuador, Spain and Poland, have expressed and interest of are already involved in activities with our Center.

An important body of interdisciplinary studies generated over the last 30 years constitute the basis to deal with many new issues that are using from the changes occurred in the ecosystem recent years.


The International Center opens important space for.

  • inter-institutional work
  • multidisciplinary research
  • public and private enterprise contributions
  • international awareness to preserve an endangered ecosystem


To promote and coordinate national and international scientific activities oriented to preserve and develop the "altiplano" region.

This center is open to be used by chilean and foreign researchers interested in any scientific discipline related to high altitude environments.

Copyright SISIB - Universidad de Chile.