The history of the University of Antofagasta goes back to 1918 with the creation of the Escuela Industrial del Salitre, which over time became the Escuela de Minas,  specializing in training professionals in the mining sector. In the 1950s this School became the Technical State University, which operated until 1981. At the same time, the Northern Zone University Center was created in 1957 under the authority of the University of Chile.

In 1962 this Center became the Regional University College of Antofagasta and in 1968 the Regional Campus of the University of Chile. In 1981 the University of Antofagasta was created through a merger of the two institutions. This means the University of Antofagasta has inherited a legacy of a century’s worth of professional training and research in subjects related to its surroundings: mining, marine sciences and others.

On March 10, 1981, after merging the Temuco campuses of the University of Chile and the State Technical University, the University of La Frontera was born as an autonomous institution, its mission being to contribute to the development of its surroundings and to Chile by generating and disseminating knowledge, educating professionals and postgraduates, fostering the arts and culture, maintaining its commitment to quality and innovation by respecting people, nature and cultural diversity, and building a more just and democratic society.

The UFRO is the heir to a rich academic tradition of universities that left a strong legacy, large campuses and an academic faculty who began to become familiar, on the one hand, with research and, on the other, with professional training. At that time, its managers had to adjust to new structures like creating Faculties and designing at least one traditional program in each, generating the internal organization, statutes, authorities and staff as well as managing the economic resources

Founded as a campus of the former State Technical University in 1961, the University of Magallanes is a public institution with a solid tradition in the Chilean university system of teaching, research and links to the environment that aims to develop the country’s southernmost region. Its origin and history associated with the development of the Magallanes Region validates it as a state institution, with fifty years of tradition in the area. Currently, its Central Campus is located on Avda. Bulnes 01855, the main access to the city of Punta Arenas and its University Centers in the communes of Puerto Natales, Porvenir,  Coyhaique and Puerto Williams, which gives it a strategic presence in Patagonia and the Region of Magallanes and Chilean Antarctica.

The location of the University of Magallanes in the Region gives it special features, affording it a distinctive mark that is reflected in its teaching, links to the regional environment and basic and applied research. In this last area, only by way of example, the studies developed in the Omora Ethnobotanical Park (Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve) and in the Institute of the Patagonia in Punta Arenas are noteworthy; both are recognized nationally and internationally. The institution is highly committed to the Region, which it consistently demonstrates through actions designed to contribute to its development and favoring the inclusion of students from economically and socially vulnerable groups, to train them as competent technicians or professionals for integration into public and private organizations

History of the network

The Network for Extreme Environment Research (NEXER) is an initiative that began on January 20, 2016 in Punta Arenas after an initial meeting between researchers and authorities of the University of Antofagasta, the University of La Frontera and the University of Magallanes. These universities share the formalization of a “State Universities Framework Agreement” reached with the Ministry of Education, signed independently by each with the common goal of forming working networks in 2016. Given the large number and diversity of organizations and their role in the matter and energy flow in nature, such as biogeochemical cycles, fertility in land and water environments, gene transfer, etc., there is a need to conduct collaborative research between the 3 universities. Our country encompasses a wide array of ecosystems, from the desert in the north, the fertile areas in the center to the pampas and ice fields in the south, which makes it a natural laboratory for exploration.

Today, the Network accommodates more than 30 principal investigators and their respective working groups spread across the three universities. With such a critical mass, NEXER endeavors to explore the biodiversity and interaction of the ecosystems, to study the origin, evolution and adaptation of various species in extreme environments as well as to analyze the effects of climate change and study biogeochemical cycles in these environments.


Dra. Marcela Calabi Floody

NEXER chief coordinator

Universidad de La Frontera

  • Fono: (56) 45 259 68 56