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Chilean Academy makes case for supporting science

Doubling public spending on science and technology would be both achievable and beneficial to Chile’s development, says a report from the country’s Academy of Sciences.

The report looks at Chile’s integration into knowledge-based society and is intended to serve as a possible basis for a government science and technology plan. It was presented by Juan Asenjo, the academy’s president, at a seminar at the University of Concepción last month.

The authors describe the 0.5 per cent of gross domestic product that Chile spends on science and technology as the “Achilles heel” of its bid to enhance development. They note that the average S&T expenditure os OECD countries is 1 per cent of GDP and that Brazil spends 1.2 per cent.

They say that doubling Chile’s S&T support to 1 per cent of GDP is necessary for achieving its potential in these areas and for competing with countries at a similar stage of development. They also emphasise the need for a ministry of science, technology and innovation, a long-standing demand of the country’s scientific community.

The report identifies eight areas requiring particular attention for scientific development. These include improving scientific facilities, strengthening basic research programmes and research universities, and creating more incentives for researchers to collaborate with companies and form international collaborations.