SANTIAGO – A new ministry is about to emerge in Chile, as the Congress approved the creation of the Ministry of Science, Technology, Knowledge and Innovation. With 130 votes in favor the new ministry will make it possible for Chileans to present scientific projects and have a formal institution for the development of science.
After the debates within congress, the creation of a Ministry of Science, Technology, Knowledge and Innovation is set. The ministry represents an improvement in terms of scientific investigation, and it will be gradually decentralized during the first 10 years. Science and Technology Ministry is a project that has been expected since 2013, when it was first announced by the government. So far, the National Commission of Science and Technology Conicyt (spanish acronym) and the Production Development Corporation Corfo (spanish acronym) have been in charge of science and technology policy, according to Chile.gov.cl. The division had the objective of coordinating the different public institutions linked for the implementation of the plans and programs in terms of innovation.
Conicyt president Mario Hamuy welcomed the vote project as great news for the scientific community. According to Hamuy, it invites Chilean scientists to keep working for a public institutionalism that further strengthens national scientific research. “We need a Ministry of Science and Technology that takes science onto the level on which policies related to Chile are discussed. We need the ministry for science, technology and innovation preponderant in our development model. Besides we need to elaborate strategies that help us to export knowledge and not only resources that could run out any moment,” Hamuy said in a conference to the Senate of Chile.
Sala de la @CamaraDiputados aprueba por unanimidad proyecto de ley que crea el Ministerio de Ciencia, tecnología e innovación y queda listo para su promulgación! Ministro @gblumel señala que “es un día histórico para la ciencia y para el futuro de nuestro país” @GobiernodeChile pic.twitter.com/qNFqZekmkY
— Ministerio Secretaría General de la Presidencia (@Segpres) May 31, 2018
According to the website Republica de Chile Senado congress agreed on the decentralization of the new ministry within 10 years, which means that at least five offices will be set in different locations. When the ministry starts functioning, the offices will explore challenges and opportunities for the development of the territories, as well as to study potential scientific projects. Senator Guido Girardi said: “It is important to understand that Chile has to change, and the only way to express that change is by having a vision of a country project. This first step is fundamental, but it needs to be accompanied by the necessary budget.”
Related to the projects sponsored by Fondecyt a measure is proposed that ensures evaluating if the project is patentable, otherwise the budget would have be returned to the state. If the investigation generates patents, the person or institution can ask for legal protection and the state will have a license to supply the national market. The aim of the ministry is to advise and collaborate with the government in the design of instruments and law projects that will fortify science and technology. The team will be integrated with adequate representation of the multiple scientific disciplines experts.
Editor-In-Chief Boris van der Spek is the founder of Chile Today. He worked in Colombia, Surinam and the Netherlands as reporter and works with international media during major events, like the social crisis, the elections and the Pope’s visit.