For at least two decades, Santa Fe County has been demonstrating one of the most visible science policy projects in the country and region. Yet the thick line of political decisions overlaps actions going the other way, which are as anonymous as they are transcendent.
One of them is the creation of the Regional Network of Science and Technology Clubs, closed last weekend in 2022, in the Paraná River Aquarium in Rosario. There, young people from all over the county attended, who displayed their work for a whole day.
The aim of the network is to arouse interest in science, technology and innovation since childhood, with spaces dedicated to scientific and technological experiments and the acquisition of scientific knowledge. This is known as science and technology literacy.
The incentive for these programs (which for many public policy managers are “symbolic” or “cosmetic”) is key because they support interest in science and technology from the bases, a capital whose derivatives are incalculable, but which translate into numbers.
The program has an economic impact. Just between 2021 and 2022, the money allocated by the province for equipment, crews, and non-refundable funds amounted to 16,608,990 pesos. But, of course, its potential impact is compounded and, in this case, immeasurable.
In all, there were 20 science clubs who received the benefit at 12 Santa Fe locations. In Arequito, Cañada de Gomez, Ceres, Las Barregas, Rafaela, Reconquista, Rosario, San Jerónimo Sur, San Jorge, Santa Fe, Villa Mogueta, Via Ocampo, some 1,658 boys and girls have joined the program through which the province seeks to encourage Scientific professions.
But, of course, economic value is just a pretext for multiplication, like a domino effect, something intangible and almost impossible to reverse, which is the generation of “soft skills” and sensitivity to critical knowledge at ages of high germline potential.
The idea of the Science Clubs Network is that girls, boys and young teens can, based on these experiences, become interested in science, technology and the ways that knowledge decodes our environment.
On the near horizon, an academic and scientific system awaits these young people, where today there are 15 public and private universities, 30 CONICET institutes and an active public-private ecosystem.
Today, Santa Fe is also notable for having a “technology ecosystem” of more than 15 tech start-up hubs, poles, and clusters and 14 dedicated development, acceleration, and incubation spaces.
Instilling the foundations of a local scientific culture (from the school itself) is no longer a “cosmetic” thing if it is essential for policy makers that the science and technology system enter the playing field to be determined in the great leagues of economy, health, culture, environment and production, i.e. everything that affects economic, human and environmental development .
Science and technology in Santa Fe have support in this game, and this is reflected in the dynamic relations between the scientific system, the productive sector and the political administration. The private sector demands more and more solutions from knowledge, and the political administration tunes its ear to this demand.
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