The Research and Technological Center in Applied Phycology (CIDTA) located at the Guayacán Campus of the Universidad Católica del Norte (UCN), in Coquimbo, Chile, seeks to add value to algae by investigating and developing new products used in nutrition, agriculture, pharmacology, cosmetology, aquaculture and other industries, linking research consolidated areas at the UCN and other scientific research institutions. The CIDTA has the capacity to do technological and technical transference to private companies and public organizations in the cultivation and management of algae. Furthermore, it has high-tech laboratory equipment that allows it (in addition to supporting its research activities) to offer analytical services to other research centers and companies from different industries.
The creation of the CIDTA represents the most important initiative in terms of research, development and transference of technology oriented toward the study of algae in Chile, offering its capabilities and services to work with companies and research centers that wish to develop new applications and products related to algae.
To increase regional capabilities in research and development of marine algae and to offer technical assistance and services through multidisciplinary research in pharmaceutical, chemistry, medicine, nutrition, marine botany and ecology. The Center seeks to support the sustainable development and diversification of new products based on native marine algae, adding value to them, in order to benefit the industries associated with the algae market (fishery, agro-industrial, pharmacological, medical and others).
The CIDTA began in 2005 as an effort to bring together work groups that use marine algae in their research. In 2006 the National Agency INNOVA-CORFO approved a project profile that created CIDTA, granting over CH$600 million to build and equip its installations, as well as finance academic studies and technical competence to its participants. This initial budget was supplemented with the contributions made by associated companies (Marine Seaweed, Acex, Frunor, Tricahue) and the UCN, where CIDTA is located. Three UCN departments are part of the Center: Marine Sciences, Medicine and Sciences.