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Our research grantees in Chile have contributed to policymakers’ understanding of the economy, labour markets, social services, and key resource sectors such as forestry, fisheries, and mining.

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, support from IDRC enabled researchers to remain in the country and work despite the military dictatorship’s suppression of social science research. Driven out of universities and other publicly funded institutions, several researchers founded private research entities, whose work we funded. Later, the work of these institutions and the direct participation of many of their researchers in Chile’s political leadership contributed to re-establishing democratic institutions.

Rural development

We funded the region’s first research program on rural development in the late 1970s. Twenty years later, this program became the Latin American Centre for Rural Development. Based in Chile, it investigates successful and failed development efforts in rural Latin America.

A five-year grant has enabled the organization to identify the factors at work when a region prospers, poverty diminishes, and the gap between rich and poor narrows. The research, which involved 19 regions in 10 countries, has helped policymakers improve how they promote rural development. For example, lessons from the research have made their way into the Mexican government’s 2014 poverty reduction program, and a 2013 Colombian law on land and rural development.

Strong industry

From 1980 to 1995, we supported Chilean research on policies and practices to promote technological innovation. Researchers laid the groundwork for universities to analyze labour market trends and align educational programs with the skills industry needed.

Researchers also studied residential energy use, the need to use wood fuel efficiently, and the potential for small and medium-scale hydroelectric power generation. Chile’s energy management policies drew on this research.

Medical research

New collaborations between Chilean, Canadian, and Israeli researchers supported by the Joint Canada-Israel Health Research Program — a partnership with the Azrieli Foundation, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and the Israel Science Foundation — focus on cutting-edge medical research. One team is examining how the disruptive effects of antibiotics on gut bacteria may affect brain function in children. Another team seeks to understand the molecular mechanisms that can impact brain wiring and hinder proper brain development.

Total IDRC Support

287 activities worth CAD $39.5 million since 1974

Researchers studying water in Chile.

* These figures reflect IDRC’s investment up to 2018.

Our support is helping to

  • increase the role of women in civic life;
  • ensure that women and youth benefit from economic growth;
  • test the effectiveness of regulations intended to improve nutrition;
  • understand the connection between antibiotics and mental health; and
  • improve the well-being of people in rural-urban territories.


Explore research projects we support in this region.