How did we become what we are? … A brief history of ISTEC and its achievements

In an effort to improve international collaboration in science and technology in 1990, the staff of the University of New Mexico visited various countries in Latin America to identify and evaluate meaningful collaboration opportunities in science, technology and education.

Meetings were held with staff members from various governments, educational institutions, research centers and industrial companies to assess the interest in establishing international cooperation efforts in the technical fields.

The meetings resulted in the identification of areas of common interest for the use of practical education, research and transfer of state-of-the-art in technology and science.

As a result of these visits, an organizational meeting was held in December 1990 at the University of New Mexico, with the participation of staff from universities, industries, governments and foundations throughout Ibero-American.

These debates, which resulted in the creation of the Ibero-American Consortium in Science and Technology for Education (ISTEC), identified a series of obstacles that needed to be addressed:

  • Lack of updated information for technology planning and development
  • Lack of experience in the use of information
  • Lack of international cooperation in the development of the critical mass necessary for joint projects and efforts
  • Lack of interaction (and lack of trust) between universities, industries, governments and international organizations
  • Lack of technology availability
  • Lack of entrepreneurship to bring technology and intellectual property to the market

The aforementioned difficulties were exacerbated by another problem: the lack of awareness of the simultaneous existence and the interaction of the obstacles mentioned above.

It was a consensus among the participants in the December 1990 meeting that traditional cooperation mechanisms were not enough, and that new effective mechanisms and paradigms were needed.

As a result of the meeting ISTEC was created; universities, industries and other organizations became members by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

In 1999, the Consortium officially became a non-profit organization (U.S. 501 (c) (3)), composed of:

(1) A General Assembly (GA) to which all members belong, and which establishes the policies and directions to follow.

(2) A Board of Directors, composed of academic and industrial members of the General Assembly, that implements the policies and promotes the Consortium.

(3) An Executive Office that is responsible for the daily operations of the organization.



ISTEC, founded in 1990, has served as a catalyst to promote strategic alliances between academia, industry and government to encourage social, cultural, political and economic development.

Here are some statistics on the work that ISTEC has done in the last two decades:

  • In 2004 received the CISCO Systems Growing with Technology Award: Recognizing innovative companies that are networked for growth.
  • In 18 years of collaboration with the OAS, more than 200 scientists and engineers have been trained in the areas of Digital Image Processing, more than 500 software laboratories were implemented using KHOROS; and the OAS Educational Portal prototype was developed.

  • It was involved in the creation of the Excellence Centre of the University of Monterrey.

  • ISTEC designed and held numerous international engineering student competitions.
  • Scientific Publications: Journal of Computer Science and Technology (http://journal.info.unlp.edu.ar/journal/) and the Ibero-American Journal of Technology in Education and Technology Education (http: // teyet-magazine. unlp.edu.ar/).

  • More than 15 partner companies have actively collaborated with the academic sector.
  • ISTEC was a partner in the creation of the Economic Development Center of “La Plazita” in the Albuquerque South Valley.
  • 10 forums IT challenge to raise awareness, analyze existing ICT models and develop a regional ICT agenda.
  • More than 60 libraries that share information in real time within the ISTEC Digital Library Link Initiative (LibLink)
  • On average 12,000 documents are transferred each year within the DLL network, with an average annual savings of $ 100,000 for the region
  • More than 172 R&D laboratories in 17 countries (mainly in the area of digital signal processing, microcontrollers and embedded systems). More than 600,000 students have been trained in the last 10 years
  • More than 3,000 donations of engineering equipment; more than $ 5 million of equipment donated by Motorola, Hewlett Packard, Nortel Networks, Microsoft, Sun Microsystems, National Instruments, Xilinx, and Intel.

  • Centers of Excellence established in Ecuador, Colombia and Peru with “train-the-trainer” capacity in the region. Through this program, more than 200 teachers and students are trained annually in FPGA technologies.
  • Strategic alliance with Aldebaran Robotics to transfer NAO humanoid robotic technology to the region, through a comprehensive program of: (1) significant discounts on the purchase of robots; (2) online and on-site training program; and (3) design of a student contest in 2015 focused on NAO functions in applications that improve people’s quality of life.

  • Member of the Engineering Advisory Board for the Americas. The EftA is an initiative at the level of all the Heads of State of the Region that proposes a paradigm shift, in which engineering offers a broad base and sustainable improvement in the Americas. Engineers, whose degrees are based on international quality standards, are essential to provide a skilled workforce qualified to compete with Asia, India and the European Union. By trying to improve engineering education and applying quality assurances, work and workflow mobility can open new doors, lead to organic activity, create jobs and foster economic and social growth.
    The EftA has three main objectives:
    1) Improving the quality of engineering education.
    2) Promoting regional accreditation mechanisms for engineering careers.
    3) Stimulating job creation through better agreements between universities and industry.
  • Member of the Executive Council of the International Federation of Engineering Education Societies IFEES.