Saras Institute

The Institute is an initiative led by Wageningen University, Resilience Alliance, the University of the Republic (UdelaR), the Municipality of Maldonado and the Ministry of Education and Culture. These institutions make up the group of founding members.
The governance structure and direction of SARAS Institute consist of three bodies: Executive Board, Advisory Council and Board of Directors (the latter is part of the SARAS Foundation, the Institute’s administrative support).

Executive Board

The Director is appointed for renewable periods of five years. His/her responsibilities are the Institute’s management, orientation, mission and strategic direction, the design of academic programmes and linkages with the global and South American scientific community. The Director is assisted by one or more Programme Directors, who are responsible for the management of partnerships and projects and exert continuous conduction in the Director’s absence. The Director also has an executive support team responsible for the administration of economic resources, the daily operation of the Institute and its staff.

Current members:
  • Director: Dr. Marten Scheffer
  • Co-director: Dr. Laurie Beth Clark
  • Executive Director: Dr. Néstor Mazzeo
  • Advisory and Executive Board member: Dr. Mariana Meerhoff
  • Executive Coordinator: Dr. Micaela Trimble
  • Communications Officer: BSc. Paula Bianchi
Members incorporated since 2017
  • Matias Piaggio
  • Juan Carlos Rocha
  • Cristina Zurbriggen
  • Manfred Steffen
  • Virginia Lucas

Advisory Board

The Advisory Board is chaired by the Director. Its members are appointed by the founding partners. The Advisory Board advises and supports the Director on scientific projects, strategy, fundraising and operational issues, as necessary.
It is responsible for preparing and submitting to the Board of Directors a list of candidates whenever there is a vacancy or when a new director is to be selected. The Advisory Board meets on an annual basis and may be called for additional meetings. The Advisory Board is elected for renewable periods of three years.

Current members:
  • Dr. Marten Scheffer
  • Prof. Laurie Beth Clark
  • Dr. Jorge Marcone
  • Dr. Pablo Marquet
  • Dr. Mariana Meerhoff
  • Dr. Eduardo Viola
  • Dr. Patricia Balvanera
  • Dr. Matilda Baráibar
  • Dr. Ricardo Ehrlich
  • Dr. Esteban Jobbagy
  • Prof. Jessie Lee Kercheval
  • Dr. Henrik Österblom
  • Dr. Cristina Zurbriggen

The Administration Board carries out the Institute’s formal and legal management under the legal form of a Foundation called SARAS. It is composed of seven members appointed as follows: two by the Advisory Council, one by UdelaR, one by CURE (Eastern Region University Centre of UdelaR, based in Maldonado), one by Wageningen University, and one by the Ministry of Education and Culture of Uruguay. The Director is part of the Board as ex-officio member. The Board’s operation and basic responsibilities will be established in accordance with Uruguayan law.

Administration Board of SARAS Fundation

Administration Board has the following powers:
  • Review and annual evaluation of the Director
  • Formal appointment or dismissal of the Director as appropriate
  • Annual review and audit of SARAS management of human resources, infrastructure and finances
  • Appointment of new or additional members of the Board of Directors
  • Election of the Chairman of the Board, who will serve for a renewable period of two years
Current members:
  • Dr. Mariana Meerhoff and Dr. Ricardo Ehrlich (delegates of the Advisory Board)
  • Dr. Juan Cristina and Dr. Néstor Mazzeo (delegates of UdelaR)
  • Prof. Jorge Céspedes (delegate of the Municipality of Maldonado)
  • Ing. Quím. Marisol Mallo (delegate of the Ministry of Education and Culture)
  • Dr. Álvaro Soutullo (academic delegate)

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About Saras

The South American Institute for Resilience and Sustainability Studies (SARAS) is an emerging transdisciplinary institute designed to generate critical insights allowing South America to build sustainable futures. It seeks integration across a broad range of knowledge using innovative approaches and integrating social and natural sciences, mathematics and arts.

Get In Touch

Los Teros esq. Cardenales, Bella Vista, Maldonado, Uruguay


(+598) 4432 5476


info@saras-institute.org