The ASPIRE Project aims to develop regionally relevant, replicable models for how Latin American universities can address local development priorities through their research, teaching, innovation, and entrepreneurial activities.


Jointly developed and implemented by MIT, the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala (UVG) and AGEXPORT, the Guatemalan Exporters Association, the project is creating a Center of Excellence in development research under the USAID-funded Building Research and Innovation, Generating Evidence, and Training (BRIDGE-Train) program.


 ASPIRE is a five-year, $15 million project, funded by USAID, and implemented by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala (UVG), and the Guatemalan Exporters Association (AGEXPORT). This partnership leverages existing assets and brings together new methods of expansion for the innovation, research, and entrepreneurship capacities of higher education institutions in Latin America. The project will create replicable models for how higher education institutions and their collaborators in the private sector, government, and local communities can address local and regional development challenges.


The project has four main objectives:

1. Training: building capacities of UVG and MIT faculty, researchers, and staff to provide world-class training in the generation and use of research and innovation for development.

2. Research, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship: building the capacity to conduct high-quality research and research-driven innovation that are relevant in addressing regional and local challenges.

3. Partnership, Technology Transfer, and Uptake: creating a replicable model for uptake of university research by start-ups and other private and public sector partners.

4. Culture and Systems: creating a university culture and administrative / research systems supporting innovation and entrepreneurship. Additionally, ASPIRE will generate and share lessons learned through a Community of Practice  


The project is deeply informed by MIT’s approach to research-driven innovation ecosystem development and builds on existing collaborations between MIT, UVG, and AGEXPORT to co-develop innovative local solutions to local challenges.

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