The life of a researcher in Latin America

Header Image: Latin American Map (CC BY-SA 4.0)

As a Latin American early career researcher, my routine was very different than at Biotrib. I used to juggle two jobs with my time in the lab and my personal life. I and my colleagues funded our research with our jobs. Sometimes we even acquired laboratory consumables. Today I live in a much different reality. I would like to discuss things that motivated me to seek a Ph.D. abroad and maybe cast a light on how to improve things in my home country, Brazil.

Ciocca and Delgado in “The Reality of Research in Latin America: An Insider Perspective” discuss key aspects of research in Latin American countries. They list economic factors (low or completely lacking salaries, low research budgets), political instability, and limited career opportunities are identified as primary drivers prompting skilled professionals to seek employment abroad. Their review emphasizes how these factors collectively contribute to a significant loss of human capital, impacting the economic and social development of the Latin American nations. Furthermore, the article highlights the role of education systems and the lack of research infrastructure in Latin American countries as additional contributors to the brain drain.

The consequences of brain drain are a “brain waste” scenario, where skilled individuals find themselves underemployed or unable to utilize their full potential in host countries. This creates a shortage of qualified personnel due to emigration. This also reflects on the quality and recognition of research: only scientists from Argentina, Mexico, Chile, and Guatemala were awarded Nobel Prizes, for example. I would love to go back and contribute to the local development of my country. With the Ph.D. established partnerships and resources, I believe I can contribute to a technology exchange.


Ciocca, D. R., & Delgado, G. (2017). The reality of scientific research in Latin America; an insider’s perspective. In Cell Stress and Chaperones (Vol. 22, Issue 6, pp. 847–852). Springer Science and Business Media LLC.


This article was written by André Plath and Giulio Cavaliere as part of a series articles curated by BioTrib’s Early Stage Researchers.

André is one of BioTrib’s Early Stage Researcher‘s who is investigating Boundary Lubrication of Fibrous Scaffolds at ETH Zürich, Switzerland.