New hope for science, technology, innovation and knowledge

It will start in two weeks A new political cycle in Chile And as it happens in every new beginning, There are expectations and hopes for the inauguration of the next government. For more than three decades, all presidents have publicly and privately recognized the importance of science, technology, innovation, artistic creativity and knowledge for the development of countries.

In the past two years in particular, our society has witnessed the contribution of science in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic and Its consequences would have been even more disastrous, had it not been for the new scientific knowledge It was created for the discovery of Sars-CoV2, vaccine development and its contribution to social decision-making. Despite this recent evidence and the recognition of the importance of the science each president has provided since the return of democracy, The current budget for science, technology, innovation and knowledge has been stagnant at 0.4% of GDP for decades now.

There are many outstanding tasks and challenges for the new administration. One of them is the definition of how the country of Chile, like the rest of the countries Organization for Economic Cooperation and DevelopmentThey will face pressing problems such as climate change, water scarcity, accelerating population aging, chronic diseases, social crises, and migration, among other issues. No answers to these problems will be found in 4 years, There is a need for strategic planning with a vision of the state that goes beyond present-day governments. The complexity of these problems requires a collaboration and an interdisciplinary perspective that combines the work of the exact and natural sciences with the social sciences, humanities, and the arts.

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Other problems that require short and medium term solutions are:

1) Encouraging the employment of hundreds of young professionals They trained in master’s and doctoral programs in our country and abroad in universities, research centers and the productive sector. It would also be highly desirable that some of these professionals enter the public apparatus, as part of a strategy to promote policy development based on scientific evidence.

two) Enhancing the participation of female researchers in the national research system And the development of new procedures that allow in a short time to bridge the multiple gaps, and why not say so, the open discrimination that exists in participation, economic compensation and leadership.

3) The development of Chilean science is related to the professionalization of this activity, but The working conditions of many researchers have not progressed at the same speed. The instability of jobs, as well as the lack of social benefits, affects not only the current scientific community, but also the future one, as it will not be easy to encourage them to take an interest in embracing scientific research.

4) country development requires knowledge This must be transformed into innovation that generates services, goods and products with the aim of improving the quality of life of our society.

In addition, it is required New strategies clarify the key members of the ecosystem: universities, the private sector, the state, civil society, and the natural environment In order to move towards a new knowledge-based production model. In this model of the pentagonal helix, the participation of public universities will be necessary and they will become spaces for reflection and the creation of new knowledge with a profession for the country, both at the national and regional levels.

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Finally, we wish the new Minister of Science, Dr. Flavio Salazar Onfray, success in the administration he has started and we are confident that he will endeavor to provide solutions to the tasks described above. We also hope that this new presidency will be the first to fulfill the promise of 1% of GDP for the budget for science, technology, innovation, artistic creativity and knowledge and to promote the development of new public policies based on scientific evidence.

* Soledad Priusan academician from the University of Chile;

** Sergio LaundromatAcademician from the University of Chile and Director of the Advanced Center for Chronic Diseases, ACCDIS;

*** Christian Gonzalez-Bilault, Academician from the University of Chile and Director of the Center for Geosciences, Mental Health and Metabolism, GERO.

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