Scientific community alert on budget reduction to Fondecyt projects

Scientific community alert on budget reduction to Fondecyt projects

On continuous Congressional handling of the budget bill for the 2018 nation and one of the issues of concern to the scientific community of the country is the reduction by 30 per cent of the budget allocated to the National Fund for scientific development and Technological.

According to respondent by the Premio Nacional de Ciencias Exactas Rafael Benguria, next year will be reduced by 30 percent the budget for new projects of the National Fund for scientific and technological development (Fondecyt), with regard to 2017.

The Senator of the party for democracy, Guido Girardi, said that so far they have failed them any arguments that hold this decrease, so assured that it will reject the budget if this is kept. In addition, he emphasized that the Ministry of science, which seeks to approve will be a new "white elephant" without resources.

Parliamentarian lamented "the mediocre and anachronistic vision that has Treasury" with respect to the scientific and technological development in the country. "It is a sentence and a tremendously irresponsible situation. You want to continue with the history of saltpeter and copper, and not understand the opportunities we have in the solar field, in the development of batteries and food. This is it is renouncing the development of Chile".

Patricio Sanhueza, rector of the University of Playa Ancha, argued that reducing resources for research is a serious mistake that goes against policies that carry out the developed countries, which are moving toward what is known as societies of the knowledge.

The rector referred to low intake which makes Latin America a global research, evince in dependence that exists by the knowledge generated in other parts of the world. Similarly, he argued that this decrease in the budget directly affects the universities, particularly that depend on the State.

"In Chile, more than 90 percent of scientific research is done from the universities and the main source of funding comes from the State. I.e., it is a blow not only to the basic sciences and technologies, but also for the social sciences and the humanities, which are areas quite necessary to learn more about who we are and where are we going", he added.

Patricio Felmer, premio nacional de Ciencias Exactas and academic of the University of Chile, this cut is extremely serious. From their perspective, even maintaining the budget would have been detrimental given the large flow of doctors that is coming to Chile and the scientific capacity that has been developed in the country in all areas.

"The number of projects approved is very short of what has been the historical rate. We have a scientific capacity vastly greater that that system is making to capture to develop projects in all areas,"he said.

The academic said that "the development of science and technology requires people and their training requires time. "At the moment, however, is country is with one larger number of scientists that ever, so it is essential to increase the budget to runway that scientific and technological capacity".

According to the national prize of Sciences, we are in a time critical in this area, since there are areas of research where only approved a ten per cent of the projects presented.

Felmer explained that Fondecyt is the basis of the scientific development of the country and the way in which science in Chile has been built. In that vein, he said that with this decrease in all areas will be affected.

Nicolás Mujica, director of the Department of Physics of the Faculty of physical sciences and mathematics of the University of Chile, said in the light of this medium program that currently there are young scientists who have difficulties to inserted into the world of work and start their careers due to lack of funding.

In addition, the delay that has been the handling of the Bill that created the Ministry of science and technology, which remains in the first constitutional procedure in the Chamber of the Senate, waiting for instructions.

At the end of 2015 and 2016, the same scientists and parliamentarians questioned cuts in the budgets for this area. Two years ago the lower Chamber rejected the appeals for the Comisión Nacional de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica (Conicyt) as insufficient.

At that time, MEPs argued: "the cry of distress of the scientists was heard in Parliament". However, were finally approved in the Senate and today resumed the debate on the same level.