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Science leaders from various political spaces defend the role of the state  Discussion in FLAXO

Science leaders from various political spaces defend the role of the state Discussion in FLAXO

Science and technology leaders of the Union por la Patria, Juntos por el Cambio and Hacemos por Córdoba agreed yesterday on the importance of investment and state management in these areas to ensure the social and productive development of the country. Daniel Vilmos, the minister in that portfolio, lamented that “the importance of state policies is repeated rhetorically” “but then they must be implemented,” in an implicit criticism of the region’s funding cuts during the government of Mauricio Macri. Researcher Gallo Soler Elia, who represents that space, questioned that the “average productivity” of Argentine scientists is “not high” and agreed with the Cordoban minister Pablo de Chiara on the need for a stable and organized economy to guarantee public policies. The biggest absentee was veterinarian Daniel Salamon, whom Javier Maile announced he would put in charge of the area he promised to destroy.

The discussion on Science and Technology (S&T) was held yesterday at the headquarters of the Latin American College of Social Sciences (FLACSO) and is part of the cycle of thematic discussions organized in collaboration with the Argentine Council of International Relations (CARI) and the organization. Ibero-American Countries for Education, Science and Culture (OEI). The session will continue today at 10:30 in CARI, where International Relations will be taken up (Gustavo Bandiani will be for the Patriots, Federico Pinedo for the Campiumitas and Diana Mondino for the Liberals) and tomorrow at the OEI with education specialists from five spaces who will participate in the general elections .

“I think the three leaders who attended this conversation agree that science, technology, innovation and education are the key things that lie ahead for the country’s development,” announced specialist journalist Nora Barr before introducing the panelists.

De Chiara explained, first and foremost, that through Córdoba “we understand science and technology as an input, as an indispensable tool for social and productive development.” “In a world and in a changing context where three major transitions are being discussed (energy, climate, digital and social and demographic), science and technology are coming to provide answers to these problems.” He stressed that “the state has a fundamental role not only in investment but in the management of science, technology and innovation,” recalling that “international experience” shows that “the countries that engage and take strong measures” in this regard are those that produce “very important changes in their populations and in Its development plan.

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Minister Juan Chiaretti distinguished between two roles of the state: on the one hand, as a “provider of stable general conditions” so that the science and technology system can express itself, because “the existence of an organized economy is essential”; On the other hand, as “a designer of public policies, which relate to incentives, setting priorities, and establishing the necessary consensus.” Scientific research requires long periods, which is why “it is necessary to work in a context of predictability.” For this reason, “the state’s investment, the way it invests, and the way it monitors these types of incentives” is key. He pointed out “a very important achievement is the Science and Technology Financing Law (in Cordoba) that will raise (regional investment) to 1 percent in 2032” (sic), and explained that Chiaretti supports doubling this percentage.

Vilmos, in turn, noted that “the rhetoric about the importance of state policies ‘repeated rhetorically’ ‘but then you have to apply them, because it’s easy to say,'” and pointed to two moments of discontinuity in C&T: “Tonight” and “Patones Largos” from 1966, which deepened During the last dictatorship, and without explicitly mentioning macroism – she referred to “the moments when science was not centrally located, but variable and adaptive, and had nothing to do with the policy of development model.” “So we’re all repeating this idea that this has to be state policy, and then we have to adhere to it.”

The minister expressed his regret at “the absence of the representative, which clearly raises a very disturbing issue,” referring to Miley. “One can attack science by stopping its funding, shrinking the ministry – another implicit reference to the Macrista administration – but there are others who directly propose the privatization of CONICET or the disappearance of the ministry, for each researcher to seek his own funding,” he says, by contrast. He recommended an article published yesterday by the journal Nature about the dangers that Argentine science faces in the event of an eventual victory by Miley.

“In the past four years, despite the pandemic and difficult circumstances, we have achieved fundamental progress in state policies. “For the first time we have concrete laws: one comes out of the oven,” he said of the National Science, Technology and Innovation Plan 2023 approved in the House of Representatives. “The other, financing, has taken many years of discussion.” In the same vein, he mentioned the Knowledge Economy Act, the Nano-Biotechnology Act, and other laws that involve specific actors and financing “put us in a different moment for the future.” “What do you do now? Apply this. “There are other challenges, and the question is, what are we using this funding for?” He listed “ten main goals.” The first: “Improving the excellence and importance of scientific research and technological development in Argentina,” and for this he mentioned “two pending laws: one related to improving the formulation of the scientific-technological system, which is a very complex system and has two other main organizations from the Ministry, and 17 other organizations, many of which are outside the Ministry.” The other: , “which re-discusses the role of CONICET from a federal perspective.” Among the remaining points stand out “prioritization and improvement of wages and working conditions for researchers and scientists,” and “advancement in new coordination mechanisms between the public and private sectors.”

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“It is a message that we have an empty chair, it is a matter of concern,” Soler Elia began, referring to the absence of a representative of the space that was prevalent in PASO. “How far away is it and how important is the science and technology sector in Argentina? It is a sector rich in people. As Daniel said, we still lack researchers, but is the research that is being done relevant, is it consistent, and is there a large number of researchers doing things High-quality relevant? What we are seeing is that the situation in Argentina is somewhat stagnant, even in the Latin American panorama. Are we ready to face new scientific and technological challenges? We have to be prepared, they are interdisciplinary. Are we ready to conduct high-quality, interdisciplinary, funded research Well and in a fast way? No, that would require a deep reconfiguration of the system as it is. “It’s an interesting and nurturing system, but in which certain layers, a certain age are discovered,” said the CONICET researcher and dean of the Institute of Nanosystems at the National University of San Martin.

“We believe from our space that there are great opportunities and we fail to identify great opportunities (maybe the 2030 Agenda) in areas where Argentina has human capital, has resources, has some traditions, has the land that helps. For example, the bioeconomy part , the energy transition part, and very important topics such as the environment, climate change, and advanced technologies. “We believe that it is necessary to aim for scientific excellence. “We see that our system has a distribution of very high quality clusters, very high throughput, and yet the average throughput is not high.” “How is excellence achieved? With the best human resources, with the best working conditions. We have to aim for that.”

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But “besides human resources, infrastructure and finance, it is also necessary, and this is not a coincidence, that the external, economic and macro conditions are also drinkable. We need a framework for economic stability, legal security, international relations, and to know where we are, and where we stand in The world. I think when that is clarified a little bit, it will also align the capabilities that we have.