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Summer Training on Applied Research and Service-Learning Program


About the Program

The Summer Training on Applied Research and Service-Learning program (STARS+) is a collaborative research initiative between Ohio University and the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador, developed after 22 years of experience in education abroad with a focus on community-based training and applied research in Latin American rural communities.

The STARS+ program consists of an educational international exchange where students partner with international researchers and other students from different countries to develop an international project or research from the ground up, Students will have the support fron the Center for Research on Health in Latin America (CISeAL), the Infectous and Tropical Disease Institute (ITDI), and Ohio University for the use of facilities, access to libraries, and previous research.

With +1000 participants, +90 research projects, +100 scientific publications, the STARS+ model has a multidisciplinary and multinational approach mixing field experience with academic research to generate projects, knowledge, scientific products, and real-life solutions in three areas: health, infrastructure, and economic development.

Working as an incubator for innovative solutions in Latin America, the STARS+ program supports other programs as the Healthy Living Initiative (HLI) in southern Ecuador, generating solutions through a Glocal approach for  sustainable development.

STARS+ is designed to impact the student's educational experience, build cultural competencies, and provide research experiences and career pathways in global health, economic/business development, and international relations.

Program Objectives

STARS+ proposes a strong international education experience looking forward to

  • Strenghtening and expanding multidisciplinary international experiences and opportunities for researchers and students
  • Developing research skills and competent citizens in an interconnected and culturally diverse work environment
  • Providing intensive experiential educational training programs in the context of collaborative projects in health, infrastructure, and economic development
  • Providing students with the experience and concepts of a bottom-up approach in evelopment by working with local communities, and
  • Promoting diversity, inclusion, equity and equality, and well-being.


As part of the multidisciplinary and multinational approach, the STARS+ program works with Partners of the Americas, the Center for Research on Health in Latin America (CISeAL), the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador (PUCE), the Infectious and Tropical Disease Institute (ITDI), and Ohio University.

Program Funding

The STARS+ program is sustained by partners and different sources of funding. The funds cover student's scholarships and research costs or are used as seed capital for development projects in rural communities. For more information about funding and how to be a program partner, please email

Course Information

To attend the program, Ohio University students must register in this course

Undergraduate courses
    Course name Credits
INST 2222C Community-based Research and Service-learning in Ecuador 3-5

This course will provide 3-5 credit hours and will be a permanent elective course at Ohio University and PUCE. Faculty and administrative staff from both institutions will work together during the abroad exchanges. Faculty students, and staff will participate in scheduled virtual and in-person meetings throughout the Fall semester 2023.


Virtual Exchange: Spring Semester 2023: six workshops between March and June 2023.

Ecuador Exchange: June, 30th to July, 18th, 2023.

United States exchange: August 2023.

Virtual Exchange: Fall Semester 2023.

Public poster presentation: TBD


The program will cover international flights to and from Ecuador, local travel, food and lodging costs in Ecuador and the United States.

Not covered: Tuition registration, food during travel, and local transportation to and from the airport to the participant's home country, health care costs, travel health insurance for non-Ohio University students, entertainment, passport and visa expenses, vaccinations, and personal expenses.