Yachay Tech and the Charles Darwin Foundation Will Work Together to Achieve Excellence for Science in Ecuador

Catherine Rigsby, Chancellor of Yachay Tech, and Arturo Izurieta, Executive Director of CDF, sign the agreement.

On September 15, Catherine Rigsby, Chancellor of Yachay Tech, Paul Baker, Dean of the School of Geological Sciences and Engineering, Edwin Cadena, a teacher at the same school, and Arturo Izurieta, Executive Director of the Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos islands, met in the facilities of the research Station in Puerto Ayora to sign a framework agreement to promote education and research for the conservation of biodiversity, geological research of Galapagos and the creation of Ph.D programs.

Currently, the two institutions are starting the construction of specific agreements, which they will work on over the next 5 years. One of these agreements, in collaboration with the Archaeological Museum of Argentina and Germany, aims to conduct research on the giant tortoises of the Galapagos. How the proteins in their bones grow and differentiate, and why they live so long are among the features to investigate. The added value of this research lies in the analysis at the molecular level, with Edwin Cadena at the head as the expert.

Another contribution of Yachay Tech in this agreement is to provide oversight for research standards in Galapagos. Also, in the future, to establish specific agreements related to the training of students and the use of facilities for research on the islands. Additionally, Cadena ensures that more projects will be forthcoming related to geology, especially studies in volcanology, biodiversity and oceanic geology.

Arturo Izurieta said the investigation conducted under this framework agreement would reflect the capacity and scientific quality of Ecuador that generates impacts at local, national and international levels.           


Arturo Izurieta Valery, Ph.D

Dr. Arturo Izurieta Valery is the Executive Director of the Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos Islands (CDF). Dr. Izurieta has experience in science, management of protected areas and local issues. He worked for more than 30 years in strategic projects and conservation in Ecuador, Australia, Malaysia and Central America. In his management of the Directorate of the CDF, Dr. Izurieta works in the strategic planning of the institution and strengthening collaborative bonds between national and international researchers to support science projects for conservation and sustainability in the Galapagos Islands.

Paul Baker, Ph.D.

Dr. Baker holds a PhD in Geology from the Scripps Institute of Oceanography in California. He is currently the Dean of the School of Geological Sciences and Engineering at Yachay Tech. He has experience in analyzing climate and paleoclimate, global environmental change, Geochemistry and Oceanography. He is also Professor of Earth and Ocean Sciences at Duke University. He is Chairman of the newly created Andean chapter of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (part of the United Nations’ global SDSN initiative). Paul is also a member of both the Committee for Research and Exploration of the National Geographic Society, and the Board of the Charles Darwin Foundation.

Edwin Cadena, Ph.D.

Edwin is a geologist-palaeontologist with a solid foundation in discovering new fossil species. He also has considerable experience in the phylogeny and molecular paleontology of turtles. He completed his studies at the Industrial University of Santander, in Colombia, his masters at the University of Florida, and his PhD at North Carolina State University, both in the United States. He also was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship at the Alexander Von Humboldt Foundation in Germany. He joined the faculty of Yachay Tech in October 2015.

The “Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos Islands”, in French “Fondation Charles Darwin pour les îles Galapagos”, Association International sans but lucratif (“AISBL”), has its registered office located at Drève du Pieuré 19, 1160 Brussels, and is registered under the trade registry of Brussels under the number 0409.359.103.

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