Regional Development

Research Interests

• Higher education systems in developing regions
• University creation in developing regions
• Regional university impact
• Indigenous student learning
• Ethical research contracting
• North-South power dynamics in research collaboration
• International agricultural value chains
• Amazon novel foods
• Novel food regulations for traditional foods


Recent Publications

Wise, G., Santander, D. E., Lovell, A. and Proaño, I. E. (2018). Ethical contracting for research with organizations in low and middle-income countries Business Ethics: European Review, In press.

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There is a need to formulate ethical principles for research contracting with Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs), assessing whether model agreements of funding bodies support ethical partnership. This study has synthesized 10 principles for ethical research contracting with LMICs. Using these principles, a panel of reviewers rated the ethical competence of model research consortium agreements offered by US, UK and European research funding agencies. Two of the three model agreements satisfactorily complied with none of the ethical principles. The third model satisfactorily complied with only one principle. Relational contracting theory is used to understand the shortcomings of model research agreements. We use leader-member exchange theory to contextualize multi-institutional research consortia as clusters of dyadic relationships between a leader and members. We propose contractual solutions that encourage equitable relationships within research consortia.


Wise, G. and Carrasco, I. E. (2018). How to build a regional university: A case study that addresses policy settings, academic excellence, innovation system impact and regional relevance. Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 40(4): 342-358. doi:10.1080/1360080X.2018.1482104

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This case study tests whether a top-down state-driven development model can establish a university on principles of excellence, impact, and relevance. The creation of Ikiam is analysed qualitatively and the results are discussed in context with national and international policy settings for higher education and innovation. This study provides insights for low and middle-income countries to strengthen higher education and innovation systems through university creation. Internationally it provides practical insights for university master planning taskforces to build organizational strength and distinctiveness through excellence, impact and relevance.
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Wise, G. and Santander, D. E. (2018). Comparative composition analysis of dried leaves of Ilex guayusa (Loes.). Journal of Food and Nutrition Research, 6(10). doi:10.12691/jfnr-6-10-4

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Guayusa (Ilex guayusa Loes.) is a traditional herbal tea of western Amazon regions and an international commodity of increasing importance. Its consumption is rapidly increasing in the USA and Canada, and the authorization of guayusa extract as a novel food in Europe signals further market growth of this antioxidant and stimulant tea. There is an urgent need for a deeper understanding of the chemical composition of guayusa to support its risk assessment and safe consumption internationally as a novel food. Accordingly, this study characterizes the proximate composition of guayusa and elucidates caffeine, amino acid and elemental components. It also evaluates potential microbial, mycotoxin and pesticide residue contaminants. Guayusa’s moisture content, caffeine concentration, amino acid compliment and profile of nutrient and toxic elements including heavy metals present no greater risk to human health than consumption of tea or yerba mate. A low risk due to mycotoxin, bacterial or pesticide residue contamination is also established.
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Wise, G., Santander, D. E. (2018). Assessing the history of safe use of guayusa. Journal of Food and Nutrition Research. 6(7): 471-475. doi:10.12691/jfnr-6-7-8

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Guayusa (Ilex guayusa Loes.) is a herbal tea that has been consumed for centuries as a traditional food in western Amazon regions where it is now valued as an antioxidant and a stimulant agent. European Union novel food legislation permits traditional foods to be placed on the market if a history of safe use in a non-EU country can be established. This study investigates the safety of guayusa consumption, analysing provincial hospital admissions data; national disease register data; national toxicology agency call centre data; and national food safety authority data. We conclude that there is a history of safe use of guayusa in Ecuador. Establishing safe guayusa consumption is an important milestone for the authorisation of dried guayusa leaves as a novel food with claimed health benefits in Europe. Consequently, this study has significance for the international product development of guayusa as an antioxidant energy drink.
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Current Research


• Indigenous entrepreneurs' perspectives on dance as a form of cultural tourism associated with Amazon Kichwa culture.
• A case study of sustainability approaches to the planning, design, construction and commissioning of a remote research station in fragile habitat.
• An assessment of the role of fab labs as a component of Ecuador's innovation system.
• A case study of communication for development within the setting of conservation management.
• A comprehensive review of guayusa as a stimulant and antioxidant novel food with a history of safe use.
• Guidance for the preparation of European Union novel food notifications based on traditional use in a third country.
• Mechanisms for indigenous inclusion in university structures: Governance versus management approaches.
• Consequences of de-novo or reformative approaches to higher education institution growth in developing regions.
• A needs assessment of undergraduate indigenous learners in Latin America.
• A review of challenges in the area of English for academic purposes experienced by non-native English speaking researchers.
• The needs of, and support available to non-native English speaking researchers in Latin America.