Skip to main content

The Galapagos Science Center is our research facility on Isla San Cristóbal and is the only university science facility of its kind in the Galapagos 

The Galapagos Science Center (GSC) represents a unique facility and a special opportunity to make the world a better place by enriching our understanding of coupled human-natural systems in a world-renowned National Park, Marine Reserve and World Heritage Site. The GSC was created as a joint effort between the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) and our partner, the Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ) in Ecuador and has become a model of international cooperation in higher education. Based on core values of trust, equality and mutual respect, the GSC provides the infrastructure to integrate research, education, and outreach through a seamless transition between the classroom, field, and lab.

Our two universities constructed this facility to advance our shared goal of promoting science and education that will help protect these fragile island ecosystems and enhance the lives of their inhabitants. The goal is to then extend these learnings and promote better understanding of ecologically sensitive and protected areas worldwide as we seek to understand complex interactions between population, health, and environment in these remarkable islands.

The 11,000 sq. ft. GSC facility houses four laboratories, each with a dedicated research focus: terrestrial ecology, marine ecology & oceanography, geospatial technologies (remote sensing & geographic information systems), and microbiology. The building also has office space for visiting physical, social, and health scientists, as well as multi-purpose space for community outreach and education events.

The site of the GSC is adjacent to USFQ’s Galapagos Academic Institute for the Arts and Sciences (GAIAS) on Playa Mann, Isla San Cristobal. The facility is being used by UNC and USFQ faculty and students conducting research in the Galapagos Archipelago, as well as by UNC students in study abroad science programs hosted next door at GAIAS.

North Carolina’s Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI) is developing the information technology infrastructure for the GSC, which includes extensive local capabilities for both computation and data collection, as is integrated with IT systems on the main campuses of UNC and USFQ where possible.