One of the biggest aspirations in the Chilean science community came to Monday morning when President Sebastián Piñera presented the head of the new ministry of science, technology, knowledge and innovation. The head of the new portfolio is Andrés Couve, an academic biologist at Chili University, with an extensive pathway in cell biology and neuron research.
The 24th Ministry was celebrated by researchers and researchers who in the new cabinet see the starting point for a road leading the country to development. Specialists, however, realize that there will be difficulties and important challenges for the Ministry of Science in achieving the significant goals for the country.
Dr Alexis Kalergis, Director of the Institute's Millennium Immunology and Immunotherapy and Academic UC, said that one of the biggest problems will be the small funding the Ministry will have. "Chile is one of the least-invested countries in science, whether private or public, and with the levels we maintain now it's very difficult for us to make the leap."
Against this background, the Chilean Academy of Sciences expects to achieve a public investment of 1% of GDP for science and technology in 4 or 5 years, which would be much lower than the OECD countries used to set a trend in this area.
Ramón Latorre, the National Science Award in 2015, agrees with his colleague and adds another challenge to Minister Couve. "We must be able to explain to the public and the government why it is important that there is considerable investment and development in the area, we have not been sufficiently clear, we must be clearer to say what we need the money for."
In addition to the budgetary problem, researchers represent another challenge for the new administration. Patricio Manque, Deputy Chancellor of Research at the Universidad Mayor, emphasizes the high level of participation in the university's scientific development in the country, but believes it is necessary to give researchers better work stability. "We need to ask ourselves what we do with all these few brains and how we handle the arrival of people educated through Chile scholarships abroad." One way to start is to create centers, institutions, research departments supported by private investment. "
The presentation date of the new ministry ended with Andrés Couve's cordial words describing the event as historical: "I think it's a historic moment where science is coming to politics and we hope from here, now we can continue to build" the underecretary as I come from the world of science and which I think is a achievement for the entire science community, he says.