Partners’ HPSR report – 2021



A total of 46 health research institutions were identified in Colombia, with 26 of these based in the capital, Bogota. The majority – 33 in all – are university-based, followed by six government entities and five hospital-based institutions. The two remaining institutions consist of one independent think tank and one NGO.

Recent decades have seen efforts to strengthen health knowledge and, as a result, the country’s public health policies, programmes, protocols and guidelines are informed increasingly by research evidence. There is state support for research capacity strengthening, and ongoing consultations between policy-makers and researchers have created collaborations that were mobilized in 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Institutions by type

List of HPSR institutions

Alzak Foundation (Alzak Foundation)Cartagena, ColombiaIndependent research centre/think thank
Andean Area University Foundation (Andina) | Fundación Universitaria del Area AndinaBogota, ColombiaUniversity
Autonomous University of Bucaramanga (UNAB) | Universidad Autonoma de BucaramangaBucaramanga, ColombiaUniversity
Autonomous University of the Americas Foundation (UAM) | Fundación Universitaria Autónoma De Las AméricasMedellín, ColombiaUniversity
CAFAM University Foundation (CAFAM) | Fundación Universitaria CAFAMBogota, ColombiaUniversity
Caldas University (UCALDAS) | Universidad de CaldasManizales, ColombiaUniversity
Cartagena University (UNI Cartagena) | Universidad de CartagenaCartagena, ColombiaUniversity
Catholic University of the East (UCO) | Universidad Catolica de OrienteRionegro, ColombiaUniversity
CES University (CES) | Universidad CESMedellin, ColombiaUniversity
Children’s Hospital Foundation, University of San Jose (FHI – USJ) | Fundación Hospital Infantil, Universitario de San JoséBogota, ColombiaHospital/health service provider
Colombian Ministry of Health and Social Protection (MINSALUD) | Minsterio de Salud y Proteccion Social de ColombiaBogota, ColombiaGovernment
El Bosque University (UNBOSQUE) | Universidad El BosqueBogota, ColombiaUniversity
Free University of Colombia (UNILIBRE) | Universidad Libre de ColombiaBogota, ColombiaUniversity
Health Sciences University Foundation (FUCS) | Fundación Universitaria de Ciencias de la SaludMedellín, ColombiaUniversity
Health Technology Evaluation Institute (IETS) | Instituto de Evaluación Tecnologica en SaludBogota, ColombiaGovernment
Industrial University of Santander (UIS) | Universidad Industrial de SantanderBucaramanga, ColombiaUniversity
Integrated Subnet of the Southern Health Services ESE (Subred Sur) | Subred Integrada de Servicios de Salud Sur ESEBogota, ColombiaGovernment
Javeriana Foundation of Medical-Odonatological Services (JAVESALUD) | Fundación Javeriana de Servicios MédicoodontológicosBogota, ColombiaHospital/health service provider
La Salle University (La Salle) | Universidad de La SalleBogota, ColombiaUniversity
Major College of our Lady of the Rosary (UROSARIO) | Colegio Mayor Nuestra Señora del RosarioBogota, ColombiaUniversity
Manuela Beltran University (UMB) | Universidad Manuela BeltranBogota, ColombiaUniversity
Narino University (UDENAR) | Universidad de NariñoPasto, ColombiaUniversity
National Cancer Institute-ESE (INC) | Instituto Nacional de Cancerología-ESEBogota, ColombiaGovernment
National Health Institute (INS) | Instituto Nacional de SaludBogota, ColombiaGovernment
National Superintendency of Health (Supersalud) | Superintendencia Nacional de SaludBogota, ColombiaGovernment
National University of Colombia (UNAL) | Universidad Nacional de ColombiaBogota, ColombiaUniversity
Our Lady of the Rosary College (UROSARIO) | Colegio Mayor Nuestra Señora del RosarioBogota, ColombiaUniversity
Pontifical Bolivarian University (UPB) | Universidad Pontificia BolivarianaMedellín, ColombiaUniversity
Pontifical Javeriana University (PUJ) | Pontificia Universidad JavernianaBogota, ColombiaUniversity
Popular University of Cesar (UNICESAR) | Universidad Popular de CesarValledupar, ColombiaUniversity
Profamilia (Profamilia)Bogota, ColombiaLocal NGO
San Ignacio University Hospital (HUSI) | Hospital Universitario San IgnacioBogota, ColombiaHospital/health service provider
Sanitas University Foundation (SANITAS) | Fundación Universitaria SanitasBogota, ColombiaUniversity
Santa Fe Foundation of Bogota (FSFB) | Fundación Santa Fe de BogataBogota, ColombiaHospital/health service provider
Santiago de Cali University (USC) | Universidad Santiago de CaliCali, ColombiaUniversity
Savannah College (UNISABANA) | Universidad de la SabanaBogota, ColombiaUniversity
Simon Bolivar University – Colombia (UNISIMON) | Universidad Simón Bolívar – ColombiaBarranquilla, ColombiaUniversity
Technological University of Bolivar (UTB) | Universidad Tecnológica de BolívarCartagena, ColombiaUniversity
Technological University of Pereira (UTP) | Universidad Tecnológica de PereiraPereira, ColombiaUniversity
UN Health Corporation (CSUN) | Corporación Salud UNBogota, ColombiaHospital/health service provider
University Corporation God’s Minute (UNIMINUTO) | Corporación Universitaria Minuto de DiosBogota, ColombiaUniversity
University of Antioquia (UDEA) | Universidad de AntioquiaMedellín, ColombiaUniversity
University of Business Sciences, Education and Health (CORSALUD) | Universitaria de Ciencias Empresariales, Educación y SaludBarranquilla, ColombiaUniversity
University of Cauca (UNICAUCA) | Universidad del CaucaPopayan, ColombiaUniversity
University of San Buenaventura (USBBOG) | Universidad de San BuenaventuraBogota, ColombiaUniversity
University of the Andes (UNIANDES) | Universidad de los AndesBogota, ColombiaUniversity
University of the Coast Corporation (CUC) | Corporación Universidad dea la CostaBarranquilla, ColombiaUniversity

Knowledge generation 

institutions working on HPSR in Colombia in recent decades. First, through Law 30 of 1992, the country has promoted the development of higher education institutions to ensure greater access for the population. This has helped to create many of the institutions that now generate research around health policies and systems. Second, Colombia’s reform of its health system, which began in 1990, has extended the country’s health entities to include those in the private sector, increasing the number of institutions that generate knowledge on HPSR. Greater knowledge generation has, in turn, increased the information available on the country’s health status through, for example, the monitoring of health conditions and inequalities in health access, coverage and quality. As a result, the formulation and evaluation of public policies, programmes, protocols and guidelines are now evidence-based.

The number of research reports produced has varied markedly since 2018, falling from 656 to 584 in 2019 before a significant increase to 849 in 2020.

Average number of reports produced per institution each year in Colombia and overall

Engaging policy-makers and the public 

The Ministry of Health and Social Protection has established spaces for discussions with different parties (academia, industry, insurers and providers of health services) to discuss public health policies and enable their inclusion of research findings and reports. Strategic and advisory committees are conducted by the Ministry of Health, for example, and there are also a number of working groups, including those dedicated to orphan diseases and observatories of diseases such as cancer. These pre-existing working groups were mobilized and consolidated as part of the country’s strategic response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

There were 65 meetings reported with policy-makers in 2020 – a marked increase on the 25 meetings held in 2018. In total, 63 000 newspaper articles were identified that were related to HPSR in 2020[1]: an average of 7000 per institution.

[1] Unlike some other countries in this report, this number reflects articles from a targeted search of national media outlets rather than self-reporting by institutions, which may explain, in part, the high numbers as compared to other countries. It is likely that this figure includes articles naming health authorities, providers and insurers, and, therefore, overestimates the news coverage of HPSR.

Average number of meetings held with policy-makers per institution each year in Colombia and overall

Average number of media articles published per institution each year in Colombia and overall

Academic and institutional capacity 

The government aims to develop public health policies that are based on studies by research institutions. It is also working to expand HPSR through calls to finance research projects that respond to national needs and priorities, with an expectation that these projects will provide solutions to health challenges and improve the well-being of the population. To support these aims, the Colombian Ministry of Health and Social Protection and the Colombian Ministry of Sciences, Technology and Innovation (MinCiencias) have supported the strengthening and development of researchers’ capacities through the Health Research Fund (FIS) and other national and international financing entities.

The number of HPSR faculty/staff has soared from under 130 in 2018 and 2019 to 2878 in 2020. At the same time, however, the number of HPSR students has fallen, from a high of 12 278 in 2019 to 4624 in 2020.

Total number of HPSR faculty and staff

Total number of participants in HPSR-related short courses

HPSR financing

In 2020, Colombia’s national health research budget was US$ 222.5 million, one of the highest budgets reported for the countries participating in this survey.

While great efforts have been made to obtain resources for basic and applied HPSR (such as the creation of special-purpose funds), investments in HPSR remain low. Colombia’s health research expenditure stands below 0.01% of GDP, although this is expected to rise to at least 1.5% from the resources allocated to the national health budget in the years to come. Given the wide participation of private institutions that conduct research using their own resources, there is also a need for clarity on the scale of private resources allocated to HPSR. Regarding external sources, the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) provide the largest shares of financing in the region for scientific-technological capacity building through their lending operations and technical cooperation.

Total institutional expenditure

Credits and disclaimers

Partners’ health policy and systems research report, 2021


© World Health Organization 2021

Some rights reserved. This work is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 IGO licence (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO;

Under the terms of this licence, you may copy, redistribute and adapt the work for non-commercial purposes, provided the work is appropriately cited, as indicated below. In any use of this work, there should be no suggestion that WHO endorses any specific organization, products or services. The use of the WHO logo is not permitted. If you adapt the work, then you must license your work under the same or equivalent Creative Commons licence. If you create a translation of this work, you should add the following disclaimer along with the suggested citation: “This translation was not created by the World Health Organization (WHO). WHO is not responsible for the content or accuracy of this translation. The original English edition shall be the binding and authentic edition”.

Any mediation relating to disputes arising under the licence shall be conducted in accordance with the mediation rules of the World Intellectual Property Organization (

Suggested citation. Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research. Partners’ health policy and systems research report, 2021. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2021. Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.

Cataloguing-in-Publication (CIP) data. CIP data are available at

Sales, rights and licensing. To purchase WHO publications, see To submit requests for commercial use and queries on rights and licensing, see

Third-party materials. If you wish to reuse material from this work that is attributed to a third party, such as tables, figures or images, it is your responsibility to determine whether permission is needed for that reuse and to obtain permission from the copyright holder. The risk of claims resulting from infringement of any third-party-owned component in the work rests solely with the user.

General disclaimers. The designations employed and the presentation of the material in this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of WHO concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. Dotted and dashed lines on maps represent approximate border lines for which there may not yet be full agreement.