Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) study



Project description

The third GloSYS research project examines the social circumstances of young researchers in Latin America and the Caribbean. The objective of this project is to investigate the socio-structural contexts that influence the trajectories of early career researchers and the capacity of these academics to shape their careers. In considering the careers of young academics as pivotal components of knowledge production and dissemination, the project will have significant policy implications for national, regional and international contexts. Six countries – Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Guatemala and Panama – were strategically selected as the study’s focal countries.



There has been a notable development of scientific activity in Latin America and the Caribbean in recent decades, inter alia in terms of enrolment ratios and scientific publications. Despite the great capacity for developing research in this region, it is hindered, in part, by barely explored obstacles that lay on the career paths of young researchers. What is more, prior research on career trajectories can be characterised as either highlighting individual or structural factors, while organisational structures, institutional dynamics or national influences tend to be misregarded. A growing awareness of this separation has led to a consensus: Research on early career researchers needs to capture the critical intersections between individual and structural factors that influence their careers and societal integration. We argue that investigating the interplay between structural factors and individual agency in Latin America and the Caribbean is crucial to understand the recent expansion of their higher education systems and development of research capacity.



As the GloSYS umbrella study is based on a comparative approach, the LAC study draws upon the preceding GloSYS ASEAN and Africa studies and therefore enriches the research outcome. The state of the art of the state of early career researchers in the LAC region was evaluated through a literature review as scoping study. The empirical study as such will be conducted through an innovative, mixed-method design. We propose a four-phase study that involves:

1.) qualitative interviews to explore the state of early career researchers and develop a quantitative questionnaire;

2.) a quantitative survey to investigate socio-structural contexts;

3.) qualitative interviews to explain why and how certain factors identified in the survey are significant; and

4.) integration of the evidence from the three earlier phases to consolidate an overall interpretation.


Team & Partners


Principal Investigator

Alejandro Miranda-Nieto
Global Young Academy
c/o German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina
Emil-Abderhalden-Straße 37
06108 Halle (Saale)
Tel: +49 345 47239 176


Research Assistant

Franziska Schreiber
Global Young Academy
c/o German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina
Emil-Abderhalden-Straße 37
06108 Halle (Saale)
Tel: +49 345 47239 176


Project Researcher

Dr. Sandra López-Vergès (GYA Member and Senior Health Researcher at the Gorgas Memorial Institute for Health Studies, Panama)


GYA Members

Dr. Abdalhadi Alijla (Sweden)

Dr. Almas Taj Awan (Brazil)

Dr. Paulina Carmona-Mora (USA, Chile)

Dr. Chang Da Wan (Malaysia)

Dr. David Fernandez Rivas (Netherlands)

Dr. Alex Godoy-Faúndez (Chile)

Dr. Alma Cristal Hernández-Mondragón (Mexico)

Dr. Mona Khoury-Kassabri (Israel)

Dr. Robert Lepenies (Germany)

Dr. Daniel Limonta (Cuba)

Dr. John Malone (USA)

Dr. Flávia Ferreira Pires (Brazil)

Dr. Clarissa Rios Roja (Europe, Peru)

Prof. Dr. Michael Saliba (Germany; Executive Committee 19/20, Co-Chair 20/21)

Dr. Bernardo Urbani (USA, Venezuela)

Dr. Fernando Valiente-Echeverria (Chile)


GYA Alumni

Dr. Gonzalo Tornaría (Uruguay)


External advisors & collaborators

Prof. Lynn McAlpine (Professor Emerita at the University of Oxford and McGill University)

Dr. Alejandro de la Puente (USA, Peru)

Dr. Nadia de Leon (Panama)

Dr. Franco Cabrerizo (Argentinian Young Academy, Argentina)

Dr. Hernan Grecco (Argentinian Young Academy, Argentina)

Matt Keane (Community and Social Planner at Moorabool Shire Council, Victoria, Australia)


Data analyst

Dr. Hsin-Chou Yang (Institute of Statistical Science, Academia Sinica, Taiwan) 




Miranda-Nieto, A., McAlpine, L., Schreiber, F. F. N., Keane, M. 2021. Reviewing research on researchers: Our knowledge of early-career researchers in Latin America and the Caribbean. GYA Working Paper Series, No. 1/2021. Halle (Saale): Global Young Academy/German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina.

Schreiber, F. F. N. Mind the gap: Assessing research on early-career researchers in Latin America and the Caribbean before and during COVID-19. Global Young Academy (ed.): GYA Connections 2021. Halle (Saale) (in press).




GloSYS Forum at CILAC 2021

GYA working paper highlights substantial research gap on early-career researchers in Latin America and Caribbean countries