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 2020 data.



Chile and UQ have partnered on 445 co-publications in the past 5 years, with key research areas including Astronomy and Astrophysics, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Environmental Sciences. UQ's top co-publishing partners are the Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, Universidad de Concepción, and Universidad de Chile.

Research collaborations

In the past 5 years, UQ has collaborated with Altonorte and Universidad de Concepcion on 2 research projects. 

Research funding

Chilean organisations, including CodelcoMinera Escondida Limitada, and JKTech South America SpA have contributed A$2,632,263 towards 15 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 three-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.”

English Open Doors Program

UQ’s Institute of Continuing & TESOL Education (ICTE) has collaborated with Programa Inglés Abre Puertas (PIAP) since 2007 to deliver innovative English and methodology programs tailored to the linguistic and educational needs of Chilean teachers of English. In 2019, ICTE delivered an International Professional Internship for Teachers of English program, sponsored by the Chilean Ministry of Education, Programa Inglés Abre Puertas (PIAP), or the English Opens Doors Program. The four-week program provided Chilean teachers with an opportunity to enhance their English language skills through an immersion experience, gain insights into innovative teaching methodologies, and to design an educational improvement project to implement upon their return to Chile.

Revitalising the metals industry

Codelco and China’s Shandong Fangyuan Nonferrous Metals Group are jointly sponsoring a Professorship. The position is currently being held by Dr Baojun Zhao, Associate Professor within UQ’s School of Chemical Engineering and the Pyrometallurgy Innovation Centre. The aim of the Professorship is to support the research behind the next-generation of copper smelting technologies, and to enable a sustainable future for the global metals industry. Dr Zhao plays a pivotal role in international metals research, and has developed a number of novel techniques to accurately determine phase equilibria and viscosity of complex ceramics and metallurgical slag systems.

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. 

Chilean students at UQ

More than 230 Chilean students have enrolled in UQ degrees in the past 5 years. PhD studies, the Master of Business, MPhil studies, and the Master of Environmental Management are among the most popular program choices. Chileans can apply for the Latin America Global Leaders Scholarship and School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences Latin American Scholarship, as well as scholarships from the Chilean Government.

The UQ Latin American Student Association and UQChile are just a sample of the clubs and societies on campus that provide a platform for sharing cultures and welcoming Chilean students to UQ.

Video: Andrea from Chile talks about studying English at the UQ Institute of TESOL and Continuing Education (ICTE-UQ) before enrolling in a degree.



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)
Vice-President Finance and Administration, Collahuasi (Bachelor of Commerce 1993, and Bachelor of Laws 1996)
Co-Founder and Executive Director of Patagua (Master of Integrated Water Management 2011)
President, CEO and Director, Coro Mining (Master of Engineering Science 1999)