During his first term as Rector (1989- 1992), the project BID (Interamerican Development Bank) / ESPOL II was successfully completed. In his words, this was "ESPOL’s first great qualitative leap". At the opening of the campus Gustavo Galindo, in October 1990, he said: " As a university we expect neither a spendthrift government nor a penny-pinching one – simply a government ready to contribute with support for research proposals. We want a government that engages in dialogue with the university, open to listening to society’s opinions as they are channeled through the medium of this university".
In his current term as Rector, his main goal has been the creation and development of the Innovation Zone of the Ecuadorian Coast (ZILE), an innovative concept for joint R+D+I (Research, Development and Innovation). The concept includes the creation of a Special Economic Development Zone (ZEDE), together with a partnership between ESPOL and other universities interested in conducting applied research towards innovative solutions.
The ZILE would thus constitute a productive space of convergence between the public sector, entrepreneurs and the best among Higher Education and Research institutions. This in turn would provide Ecuador and the Coastal Region with a "Pole of Academic Development", which would contribute, both in the short term and cumulatively, to the transformation of the current “primary exporter” model into a new Ecuadorian society characterized by knowledge, development and a more equitable society.
Recognized by the academy throughout the country, as Rector of ESPOL Sergio Flores presides over the Assembly Higher Education at the national level. The primary concern of this body is that Ecuador should build, through participative and creative methods, a set of public policies in support of the Higher Education system, favoring science, technology and innovation. Such policies should promote academic excellence, ensure responsible university autonomy, stimulate public, private, domestic and foreign investment in R+D+I, ensure respect for intellectual property, and create a positive environment for innovation and collaboration between the public sector, entrepreneurs and world-class university institutions.
Within ESPOL, Sergio Flores maintains that the ZILE is the best strategy to bring about "the second great leap forward"; and that as such, it requires decisions to be taken with a view to defending the vision of an internationally recognized Higher Education Institution of "teaching with research". To this end, he has encouraged the creation of the College of Life Sciences, and has given full support to all ongoing international accreditation processes.
By combining a national with an institutional vision, the Rector argues that ESPOL, by means of a ZILE developed with partial financing from the national government, will be able to provide the country with several lines of academic development to embark on, thereby shifting the national economy, over time, away from dependence on limited resources such as oil, to exploitation of an alternative and limitless resource, namely, knowledge.