THE Latin America University Rankings 2020: Covid comparisons

Chile leads region on life science citations, but performance on medical research is more even across major Latin American countries

July 7, 2020
Aerial view of Buenos Aires
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Browse the THE Latin America University Rankings 2020 results

The Covid-19 pandemic has shone a light on the approaches that different nations have taken towards public health, scientific expertise and investment in research. In Latin America this is no different.

For instance, Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro has come in for criticism for his handling of the crisis while in Mexico debate has also raged about the imposition and easing of measures to stem the virus.

But in terms of academic expertise, which parts of the region have the strongest track record in the subjects most closely associated with research into diseases, such as medicine and life sciences?

Latin America Rankings graphic 2020

These box and whisker charts show how universities in some of the region’s major nations score for citation impact in these two subject areas in the World University Rankings. Each box represents the interquartile range of the scores, with the middle line representing the median. The highest-scoring university in each case is labelled.

For clinical and health, there is not a huge variation in performance between the countries profiled, with similar median citation scores. However, it is noticeable that Colombia appears to have a wider spread of scores while Mexico’s performance is more tightly packed around a relatively low set of scores.

However, in life science there are more noticeable differences. Chile is a clear leader here, with its citation impact generally ahead of the other nations. Its median score in this subject is about 30 points higher than in the closest other nation (Brazil).

Colombia again has a wide spread of scores and overall has a similar profile to Brazil, but Mexican universities clearly lag behind in this subject area. While, like all the other countries, it has an outstanding outlying performer, the median score lies between 20 and 30 and the bulk of its institutions achieve a mark below the median for the other three countries.

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