The Federal University of Santa Maria (UFSM) has become the newest member of the network of UN-SPIDER Regional Support Offices, which now consists of 24 institutions around the world. The agreement between the University and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) was signed on 27 May 2020 and is valid for three years. UFSM’s main campus is located in the city of Santa Maria, Brazil. The University also operates three additional campuses in the State of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.
Since 2014, experts from the University have taken part in UN-SPIDER Technical Advisory Missions to countries in Latin America and developed Recommended Practices that have been published on the UN-SPIDER Knowledge Portal, and have conducted training courses on these and other Recommended Practices in the Dominican Republic, Central America and South America on behalf of UN-SPIDER. Therefore, the agreement lays a foundation for a more institutional relationship between the University and UN-SPIDER and will allow for improved synergies in capacity-building and institutional strengthening efforts in Latin America, the Caribbean and countries of Africa where Portuguese is the official language.
"The agreement with UNOOSA to establish the Regional Support Office at the Federal University of Santa Maria is a great achievement for the CCR, the Polytechnic College and for the whole University. It’s the result of the commitment and the support that experts from the University have been providing to UN-SPIDER during the last six years", explain RSO focal points Maria Silvia Pardi Lacruz and Manoel de Araujo Sousa Junior from the Federal University of Santa Maria. "The synergies between UN-SPIDER and the University have been very fruitful, as experts from the University have been able to exchange experiences, methodologies and knowledge with experts from other institutions around the world, including those of other Regional Support Officers. This exchange has led to an increase in personal and technical growth for all. Furthermore, the incorporation of the University as a UN-SPIDER RSO is in line with the aims of the Institutional Plan of the University regarding its recognition as a world-class Centre of Excellence."
The University has training units operating at different levels and currently offers 22 technical courses, 130 undergraduate courses, and 106 graduate courses, 12 of which are at the level of specialization, 59 at the level of Master’s degree, 34 at the doctorate level and one at the post-doctoral level. The university also offers 13 distance-learning courses.