specific activities supported by the RLB adhere to the following basic
principles: (a) maximization of the transfer of plant-science knowledge from
well-trained individuals from one Latin American country to the citizens of
another, particularly to younger individuals (horizontal connections); (b)
necessity of greater comprehension of environmental and developmental problems
at a regional level; (c) necessity to offer incentives for research relevant to
local problems; (d) necessity to encourage young Latin Americans to remain in
the region once trained; (e) maintenance of diversity rather than a standardized
curriculum; and (f) necessity for vertical connections by which activities are
temporally linked with new initiatives building on previous one.
this general framework, training is the focal activity of the RLB. Through the
training program the RLB supports students at the Doctoral, Masters, and
short-term training levels to undertake their studies in collaborative
institutions. In order to increase dissemination of knowledge about plant
sciences, RLB does not support students to study in their own countries.
Students are awarded travel, monthly stipend, tuition fees, and research help to
study within Latin America.
important activity organized by the RLB are regional graduate courses, most of
which are related to the conservation of biodiversity. These are designed to
supplement deficiencies and develop more integral approaches. Emphasis is on
theory and analytical skills. The RLB, through consultation with key scientists
in the region, searches for topics where knowledge is changing very quickly and
requires a coordinated effort. Once the topic has been identified, the RLB
appoints a coordinator to organize the course covering everything from thematic
contents to logistics. Courses are usually two weeks long, rotating from country
to country, and are generally attended by 15 to 20 Latin American students.
important is the organization of major symposia on topics relevant to the
region, and to help define regional opinions about particular issues related
with plant sciences. After consulting with experts to define the topic, the RLB
appoints a coordinator and a steering committee that identify the list of
participants, and organize the meeting from the scientific structure to the
logistics. The purpose of all these meetings is to identify research priorities
and opportunities for collaboration, yielding published products as scientific
papers, articles, books, and other documents that will be distributed widely in
the region using our Web site as well as the traditional method of distributing
support, on a competitive basis, is also offered to facilitate the transfer of
foreign students and university lecturers to attend already existing graduate
courses in other Latin American countries. As well as, RLB also provides partial
support to Latin American scientists to attend national and international
scientific meetings in other countries of the region.
its first years, the RLB tried to stimulate collaborative research by supporting
bilateral research projects in which researchers from two or three countries
worked on a common problem. The amount of funds that could be offered was
limited, and this affected program performance and continuity. In more recent
years, available research funds were channeled to support thesis research of
graduate students and to assist them with relocating to their home countries
after completion of their training.
role that the RLB has wanted to play more recently is to lead and coordinate
botanical and ecological research in the region. There is a major gap in the
coordination of research between the international and national levels. At the
national levels, countries and national governments have plans that govern
funding strategies. The RLB is ideally positioned to play this coordination role
and to articulate the needs of the countries and those of the international
organization. The implementation of this role of the RLB would occur mainly
through the organization of symposia, as it was described above. Scientists
coordinate their effort enabling them to tackle broader and more complex
questions. Research in the region can gain in impact when it is incorporated
into a larger framework. Incorporating regional research into a global framework
enable scientists from the region to access new international sources of
funding. Institutions gain as their resources are being used more effectively
and have an explicit version of the research priorities as seen from the point
of view of the scientists of the region.
activity developed by the RLB is the expansion and improvement of the
interchange of information within Latin American scientific community. To cope
with increased need for advertisement and communications, the quarterly
electronic newsletter "RLB Boletín Informativo" has been
published from 1994. This bulletin covers RLB news, and serves for disseminating
copious information arriving at the RLB headquarters to the Latin American
botanical community at large. The site “http://www.rlb-botanica.org”,
that added a new dimension to the RLB information system in 1996, contains links
to the information on the RLB’s collaborating institutions, and on Latin
American researchers and academic staff in plant sciences and any other
information relevant to the botanical community in Latin America.
of RLB are offered on a competitive basis, with academic excellence and the
needs of individual countries being the principal selection criteria.
Discrimination on the basis of political or religious affiliation, race, sex or
physical condition is not acceptable. Advertising material above RLB program of
activities and opportunities is sent to the RLB data basis comprised of
thousands of electronic mails from Latin American individuals and institutions.
It is also published in the RLB web site as well as in others related sites
within the region. RLB Scientific Committee that meets once a year makes the
selection of applicants.
After selection, the RLB office takes the responsibility of developing
contracts to be signed by beneficiaries, sending funds, monitoring progress, to
evaluate activities, etc.
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