UFRO despedida estudiantes extranjeros 1


With a photo contest and a great experience acquired, the international students prepare for their return home.

The International Affairs Office of the university Universidad de La Frontera (UFRO) and its Office of National and International Student Mobility organized a Farewell Ceremony for the foreign students who carried out a semester of academic exchange at UFRO during the first semester of 2020.

Among the students, who came to UFRO for their academic exchange experience, are many students from Mexican universities, since UFRO maintains important ties with them in terms of student mobility and academic cooperation.
Thus, thirteen foreign students – eight from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), three from the Michoacan University of Saint Nicholas of Hidalgo (Mexico), one from the Autonomous University of Puebla (Mexico) and one from the San Pablo Bolivian Catholic University (Bolivia) – started to prepare for their return home.

During the second semester of 2020, six foreign students are going to carry out their academic exchange at UFRO – two from UNAM, three students from the Brazilian universities Universidade de São Paulo, Centro Paula Souza and Universidade do Estado de Santa Catarina, and one student from the Autonomous University of Barcelona (Spain).


The Farewell Ceremony took place online, with the presence of the Rector, Dr. Eduardo Hebel; the Chief of Staff, Juan Carlos Parra; the Director of the International Affairs Office, Lorena Vieli; the Head of the Office for National and International Student Mobility, Consuelo Sánchez; and some of the members of the Sponsor’s Program for foreign students, which consists of voluntary UFRO students who help the foreign students when they first arrive at UFRO.

For Consuelo Sánchez, who is in charge of the Office of National and International Student Mobility, this year has been quite particular. “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the students – whether they had decided to stay or to return to their home countries – had to reorganize their daily lives and to adapt to this new situation. In addition, like our UFRO students, they also had to make an effort to adapt to this new teaching and learning situation online.”

One part of the ceremony was the announcement of the winners of the photo contest, called “Student Mobility in Times of a Pandemic”. The first place went to Sarahi Vega (UNAM), the second place to Noor González (UNAM), and the third place to Gloria Pérez (Michoacan University of Saint Nicholas of Hidalgo).

It has been a semester full of challenges, and the Sponsor’s Program for foreign students at UFRO has made its greatest effort to ensure that the international students get the best experience possible, despite the current circumstances, and that they have a reason to return to the Universidad de La Frontera in the future.


Written by: UFRO Communications Office


UFRO tutoria codi 1

UFRO tutoria codi 2

UFRO tutoria codi 1

The UFRO Language Coordination Center provides practical support for the students through English language tutorials online.

During this online semester at the university Universidad de La Frontera (UFRO), the Language Coordination Center (CODI) of the Vice Rectorate for Undergraduate Affairs is providing the students with an English language tutorial service to keep up their learning progress and to improve their English language skills. In addition, it also offers a space that allows the students to clarify their doubts and questions about the lessons of the module they are taking.

Felipe Opazo, the director of CODI, explained: “Our tutorials have always been a resource that is highly valued by our students. Therefore, we have made the necessary adjustments during this semester, for being able to perform them virtually. We are very happy that they have been well-received, what was shown in the high number of participants and the comments we received from the students and tutors.”

Thus, through remote support sessions via Zoom, the UFRO students who enrolled in any of the English modules can register on the university’s Intranet platform and participate in these tutorials that will help them with their English learning process. In sessions with no more than three students each, a total of 19 tutors spend 20 minutes solving doubts and practicing the structures taught in class, and another 20 minutes working on and developing oral skills through different practice-based activities.

“We haven't really had any major problems, just some issues with the internet connections. The students approach us on their own to ask their questions. It has been quite interesting to work with this methodology. It's a pleasure for me to carry out these tutorials and that the students also make their suggestions and give me some feedback on the tutorials,” Daniela Soto Sandoval, one of the tutors and a student in English teaching, commented.

It is worth mentioning that the tutors and participants are not only students of the English Teaching program; other students of other programs of the university are also participating. They have been chosen because of their outstanding English language skills, their empathy and their experience in this kind of activities, in which they can support their peers and have a positive impact on their English learning process.

“We are very happy and satisfied with the work of our tutors, who did not hesitate for a second to carry out this kind of online work and to contribute to the training of our students. At the beginning, it wasn’t an easy job, because of connectivity problems and the lack of technological resources. But the students have expressed their gratitude about being able to participate in these tutorials, and that motivates our tutors to continue with what they are doing and to improve each day,” said Valentina Sáez, who is in charge of this support program and who works as a teacher at CODI.

Catalina Leyton is a nursing student at UFRO and currently taking an Intermediate English course at CODI. According to her, this e-learning support is a very positive contribution during the online semester. “I really appreciate the patience of the tutors and their willingness to help us. Besides, the lessons are very didactic and innovative and each tutor has his or her own way of teaching,” she pointed out.

Finally, it is also worth mentioning that the support of CODI has been extended to students who have manifested a personal interest and motivation to continue working on their English language skills, although they already completed the language requirements of UFRO; either to improve their employment options, or for scholarship-related reasons for studying abroad.


Written by: Rocio Yañez Alvarez
Vice Rectorate for Undergraduate Affairs


UFRO adjudicacion proyectos anid

24 out of 63 awarded projects are from regional universities and UFRO is in fourth place with five projects.

The university Universidad de La Frontera (UFRO) has been playing an important role at the regional and national level in the context of the current global health crisis. They have been adding up their scientific and technological capacities to face all the challenges this pandemic brought.

The social commitment of this institution has been characterized by the contribution of its specialists, laboratories and researchers, and now, five projects of the university were awarded in the Research Project Competition of the Chilean National Agency for Research and Development (ANID), for the fast allocation of funds for research projects on COVID-19.

At the national level, 63 projects were awarded, of which 24 are from regional universities. UFRO is in fourth place with 5 projects. The researchers in charge of these projects are Dr. Víctor Beltrán, Dr. Valeska Geldres, Dr. Jaime Inostroza, Dr. María Román and Dr. Carlos Zaror. In addition, the university is also participating as an associate institution in two other projects.

“This news fills us with pride, not only because it positions us among the institutions with the highest number of awarded projects, but also because it shows that – as a public and state university – we are aware of the needs of our environment and that we are an important contributor in the fight against this pandemic and in this global health crisis,” said Dr. César Arriagada Escamilla, the Vice-rector for Research and Graduate Studies at UFRO.

The university authority congratulated the academic staff that participated in this competition and emphasized that more than a thousand projects had been submitted. “We recognize the commitment of those who submitted their competitive proposals in a complex scenario that demands greater efforts in all our activities,” he added.

The Director of the Office for Innovation and Technology Transfer, Franklin Valdebenito, explained that the projects will provide new knowledge within the different fields of research, with appropriate solutions for these critical times the country and the world are going through. “These projects have a strong local focus, but with global reach. Besides, they strengthen important alliances that allow us to continue our progress together, based on our skills in science, technology and innovation.”


The competition by ANID, for the fast allocation of funds for research projects on COVID-19, was meant for research projects that investigate the SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus or COVID-19 disease, focusing on the diagnosis, control, prevention, treatment, monitoring and/or other aspects related to this infectious disease and its consequences from a scientific, technological, health-related, social, economic, cultural and humanistic perspective.


Here is a list of the awarded projects of UFRO:

Clinical practice guidelines for safe dental care in times of COVID-19

Dr. Carlos Zaror Sánchez, Faculty of Dentistry

Evaluation of the epidemiological and clinical characteristics of the infection caused by SARS COV-2 in COVID-19 immunosuppressed patients in the region La Araucanía (Chile) and Barcelona (Spain)

Dr. Jaime Inostroza Sarmiento, Faculty of Medicine.

Impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on mental health: longitudinal study of anxiety and depression symptoms and risk behavior in communities in the Chilean regions Coquimbo and La Araucanía

Dr. María Román Mella, Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Humanities.

Impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the export competitiveness of food companies in the south of Chile

Dr. Valeska Geldres Weiss, Faculty of Law and Business. 

Semi-virtual technological platform in support of emergency and priority dental care for senior citizens in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic in the Chilean population

Dr. Víctor Beltrán Varas, Faculty of Dentistry.


Written by: Karimme Riadi Millas

Vice Rectorate for Research and Graduate Studies




This is another excellent achievement for UFRO. It is ranked in the top 50 of the Times Higher Education Latin America University Rankings 2020, in 6th place in Chile and in third place among the state universities in Chile.

Once again, the university Universidad de La Frontera (UFRO) achieved to be one of the leading institutions for higher education at the national level. This time, it is ranked in the prestigious Times Higher Education (THE) Latin America University Rankings 2020 and achieved to be in the 46th place, what makes it part of Latin America’s 50 best universities.

This recognition supports the leadership of this university, which has its own regional character. It is listed in the sixth place among all Chilean universities and in third place among the state universities in Chile.

This THE ranking includes 166 universities across 13 countries in Latin America and is based on 13 performance indicators, with an emphasis on teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook. In Chile, 30 universities were judged.

In this regard, the Rector Dr. Eduardo Hebel Weiss pointed out: “In times like these, which are difficult for our society and our university, we are even happier to receive such a result. We have made significant efforts for being able to move forward within this pandemic and the fact that our university is in such a great position in an important ranking as this one encourages us and strengthens our commitment as a regional state university.”

The Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs at UFRO, Dr. Renato Hunter, also appreciates this achievement and is very thankful for the permanent efforts of the academic staff and the university community in general, who maintain the Universidad de La Frontera in such a privileged position.

“Our university can be proud, because it is a great achievement to be among the top 50 universities in Latin America. Besides, this result is supported by indicators that reflect the commitment and efforts of the people who are part of our university community and who are always trying to move forward with excellence, while facing the challenges of a complex university like UFRO. There is no doubt that the current global developments will help us to rethink the way we envision the university of the future and to face the constant challenges of this new era,” Dr. Hunter said.


Written by: UFRO Communications Office

UFRO fisiosmart 1

UFRO fisiosmart 2


FisioSmart is currently carrying out a campaign to donate kinetic vests to patients who are unable to receive their treatments because of COVID-19.

Since 2018, FisioSmart has gradually positioned itself at the regional and national level. What started as a project that won the “Experimentando” (“experimenting”) contest of the Macro Faculty of Engineering of the Universidad de La Frontera (UFRO) back then, has managed to evolve, and now the design is used as a pilot project at the Hospital of Los Ángeles (Chile).

FisioSmart is an intelligent kinetic vest that removes secretions from the airways and allows patients with cystic fibrosis or obstructive diseases to receive a therapy that helps them to live their daily lives.

Today, because of the global health crisis, families with members with this disease are facing a complex situation, as they are unable to attend health care facilities due to the risk of contagion. In this context, FisioSmart is leading the “My Lungs Move” campaign, which seeks to donate 50 kinetic vests to patients all over Chile, together with the Corporation for Cystic Fibrosis of the Pancreas.

“This kind of patient requires a strict treatment and today, unfortunately, they have no access to it, since they can’t go to the hospitals or healthcare centers because of the risk of contagion of COVID-19, which could be fatal for them,” José Portiño, a civil industrial engineer, says.
The aim of this campaign is to raise 50 million Chilean pesos (ca. 60 thousand USD) and those who would like to donate can do that through the website www.fisiosmartchile.com.


FisioSmart was founded in 2018, within a project that participated in the contest “Experimentando” of the Macro Faculty of Engineering of UFRO. The team of the Universidad de La Frontera is comprised of José Portiño, a civil industrial engineer, Mayra Sepúlveda, a physical therapist, Emiliano Delgado, who is a student in commercial engineering and Silvana Mellado, who is studying physiotherapy.

FisioSmart is a multidisciplinary initiative with professionals from different fields. How do you think that this fact enriches the work they are doing?

All the progress we made and the results we have obtained so far are based on the fact that we are a multidisciplinary team. This aspect is very significant, since it allows us to delegate tasks to the respective fields of expertise and thus to move forward together, and in the same way in several areas at the same time.

At present, our goal is to provide technological solutions to social problems that frequently are not being addressed in our country or need a lot of money. We want to bring the technology closer to the people, so that it becomes accessible for everyone.

As a team, you won the contest “Experimentando” of the Macro Faculty of Engineering in 2018. How did this help you with your future development?

To win that contest was the basis for all further development. Thanks to the prototype created within that project, we were able to get a PRAE project awarded by CORFO. After that, with these results and the working prototype developed, we got a VIU project approved from Fondef, for medical device validation, and we are currently working on the "My Lungs Move" campaign, in order to provide help to those who need it.

Besides the current campaign, what are the future plans and challenges for the project?

Right now, our priority is the campaign. It is absolutely necessary that every child who is not able to attend kinetic therapy receives a vest that allows them to continue with it; besides of the aim of improving their quality of life.

Written by: Mauricio Antivil
UFRO Macro Faculty of Engineering