Institute For InitiativeS in Latin America

What IILA Offers

First of all, IILA is all about building connections to optimize opportunities. Most important are our external connections: between Mines researchers and researchers at our partner universities and agencies in Latin America, and between our researchers and the constituencies who benefit from the work – local communities, industries, resource managers, and increasingly stressed natural environments. Internally, our connections within Mines can be summarized as “mobilizing resources”: we help link existing Mines research groups (like the Payne Institute for Public Policy, the Critical Materials Institute, and the Humanitarian Engineering Program) with each other. Furthermore, we identify research and academic opportunities in Latin America that would benefit from Mines’ expertise, and our staff and associates provide communication, cultural, political and community engagement expertise to navigate the complicated path to success in international settings.

Since launching in 2022 IILA has managed over $15M in projects, involving over 40 faculty at Mines from Chemistry, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Computer Science, Geology and Geological Engineering, Geophysics, Mining Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Hydrologic Science and Engineering, Humanitarian Engineering and Science, and the Trefny Innovative Instruction Center.

The IILA team has a proven record of conducting cutting-edge applied science that benefits local communities and builds research capacities at partner institutions. Our work goes beyond research to generate something that speaks clearly in any language: “impacto.”

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Conduct research that brings positive environmental and social impacts

Increase research capacity and research culture at our partner academic institutions in Latin America

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Lend our expertise in academic improvement in the areas of applied STEM

Carlos Vasquez Boyer and Paul Santi


To change the way the academic world thinks about research partnerships. Every project will co-produce tangible benefits with local communities and will build the research culture and facilities at our partner institutions in Latin America.


To mobilize the resources of the Colorado School of Mines to conduct cutting-edge applied science that benefits local communities and builds research capacities at partner institutions.


Dr. Paul Santi
Dr. Paul Santi, Director
César Carbajal, program administrator
Jordan Gerue, Program Manager