EDUCATIONAL INNOVATION WAS THE MAIN THEME OF THE SECOND SESSION OF THE DIALOGUES I2LATAM- MIMIR ANDINO

This is the second session of the cycle of “I2Latam-Mimir Andino Dialogues”, which featured the participation of two speakers from Argentina. The Rector of the UNRN referred to the necessary changes in R + D + i policies and the lessons that the pandemic leaves us on “what is great science”, while the head of the National Program for Technological and Intelligence Surveillance said the importance of these tools (VT-IE) for universities in the current context.

With the participation of more than 120 people from 6 countries, last Tuesday, August 18, the webinar Regional and national policies for the promotion of CTeI (Science, technology and innovation) was held, the second session of the cycle of I2Latam Dialogues -Mimir Andino: Trends and good practices in the management of research and innovation in Europe and Latin America.

On this occasion, the moderation was in charge of the Colombian consultant and researcher Óscar Gualdrón, who highlighted the relevance of projects such as Erasmus + i2latam and Erasmus + Mimir Andino, which “articulate a number of very valuable institutions and generate spaces for the exchange of experiences, reflections and good practices that allow advancing much more quickly to be able to face the challenges that the development of the investigation implies in countries as in which we live”. After thanking their participation, Gualdrón introduced the two exhibitors, both from Argentina.

The first intervention was in charge of the rector of the Universidad Nacional de Río Negro (UNRN), Juan Carlos Del Bello, through the panel Latin American Policies to promote R & D & I (research, development and innovation). To contextualize, through statistics Del Bello realized that compared to developed and emerging countries, investment by Latin American countries in R & D & I is very low in relation to the size of their economies; and that “although the region, in general, has adopted policies to support national innovation systems with policies to encourage and promote R & D & I in companies, the participation of the private sector in these types of activities is very limited”.

Regarding the current situation, Del Bello emphasised that “the pandemic taught us what great science means” and highlighted four issues in relation to this phenomenon: open science in the exchange of ideas through online repositories; synthetic biology, which helps speed up research and development processes, in this case, the vaccine against COVID19; bioinformatics, which introduces advances in artificial intelligence; and the importance of multidisciplinary teams, which combine research with diverse skills.

Regarding the last point, the Rector insisted on the importance of working for problems, which implies that the research projects that are financed not only have to identify the expected results but also the impact. “The impact introduces the participation of the stakeholders and the beneficiaries of these developments. And there, inevitably, companies appear; new companies that generate high added value products”, he clarified.

After describing the evolution of policies for the promotion and promotion of R & D & I in the Latin American region, he synthesized that “there has been a process of horizontal policies that are consolidated by competition mechanisms and it is necessary to pass, in addition, to the consolidation of new institutions with longer-term financing, and to work with what developed countries call ´missions´ or that Nacho Álvarez of the historic CONICIT (National Council for Scientific and Technological Research) of Venezuela (referring to decades ago) he called ‘the work of agendas’. Agenda, mission, but what is coming in to work for problems”, he concluded.

Next, Nancy Verónica Pérez, coordinator of Technological Studies and Strategic Intelligence and head of the National Program for Technological Surveillance and Intelligence (VINTEC) of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation of the Argentine Nation (former MinCyT) spoke about technological surveillance and strategic intelligence (VT-IE) as an engine for strengthening the management of skills of linking and transferring knowledge in Latin American universities.

Pérez highlighted the importance of these methodologies (VT-IE) for the systematization and organization of the search and analysis of information -which began to work more than 25 years ago worldwide and more than 10 years ago in Argentina as a State policy – “to survive the excess of information”, or what she calls “infoxication”. “Basically, it has to do with monitoring and analysing strategic, reliable, accurate and quality information; and that this information leads us to make better decisions that have a certain impact on the territory”, she said.

“Through these innovation tools, we try from the Ministry of Science and Technology (Argentina) to generate a methodology so that all the country’s universities, both public and private, can take into account that it is necessary to focus on what is happening at the national and international, as well as at the local or regional level ”. “Universities have to be alert,” she said. “Without a doubt, if the university is not linked or transferred, it is very difficult for it to continue operating in such a changing and active territory as those of our Latin American countries”, she warned.

Finally, she made available a guide generated by the Ministry to learn more about these issues, which includes free ICT tools for the VT-IE and the IRAM national regulation developed in Argentina, the only one in Latin America that also allows the certification of the universities.

“Universities have to think about continuing to build a future, a future based on knowledge, technology and innovation, which are three important pillars to prepare our students for the new work environment”, she said.

Gualdrón highlighted the relevance of the topics addressed during the session to “be able to transcend the sphere of the generation of valuable original scientific knowledge and be able to transfer it gradually towards generating better conditions of equity, and of social and economic development in the (Latin American) region, especially characterized by the differences (with Europe) in capacities, levels of investment, institutionality and even levels of development that we reach within our own countries.

The session ended with an enriching exchange space, in which the speakers responded to the main concerns of the participants.

About the I2Latam-Mimir Andino Dialogue cycle 

It is an initiative of the projects Erasmus + i2Llatam (Strengthening Research and Innovation in Young Universities for Regional Development in Latin America) and Erasmus + Mimir Andino (Modernization of Institutional Management of Innovation and Research in the Andean Region and Latin America), co-financed by the European Union and coordinated by the Universidad of La Sabana (Colombia) and the Asociación Colombiana de Universidades (ASCUN), respectively, with the aim of sharing and making the progress of each project visible. Based on this articulation, it seeks to contribute to the strengthening of the management of research and innovation in higher education institutions in Latin America.

Within this framework, two sessions are held per month from August to November 2020. Each session is open and free and requires prior registration. Created by the Universidad de la Sabana.

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