CONICYT, please: take charge!

CONICYT, please: take charge!


As national doctoral students awarded grants by CONICYT, in accordance with the basis of our contests, we can apply for supplementary benefits to improve the quality of our research. These include operating expenses, international internships and doctoral supervision abroad and extension of the duration of the scholarship in a semester.

This year started for us with the alert from the 2019 our requests would be subjected to competition for academic merit, among other requirements, and in April 2018, the budget to allocate these benefits are exhausted. The problems caused by this lack of budget for allocation of fringe benefits has led to that the affected students we organize to demand quick and efficient solutions.

So far we have counted with the support of the Commission on Science and technology of the Chamber of Deputies, who exposed the problem, the importance of it in our investigations and for the country. Proceeds from this, cited authorities of CONICYT to expose its budgetary position in the Commission. In that instance, his speech attributed the lack of budget to an explosive increase of requests for part of us, fellows, rather than to an inadequate mechanism of estimation of the number of requests every year used to assign benefits complementary doctoral, as well as the measures taken and the speed of them, once the situation became clear.

Make a mistake doctoral students wanting to optimize the quality of our research by accessing the benefits that our country offers us? Do we feel guilty for them? Is our doctorate a personal benefit or a contribution to the country?

From another edge, and no less important, communication systems and transparency of information on the part of CONICYT presented serious flaws. First, when it was decided to submit applications for these benefits in competition, we reported just three days before coming into force the new format for the award. But was postponed the start of these contests for 2019, the term of the budget for these items not we were informed that, in fact, continue sending our requests, not even knowing that it would be "non-processed" (sic), to look for alternatives of funding and contingency plans to avoid the delay in our research. When you request them, rather than tell us that they would not be handled, we were informed that requests would be effectively subject to review and evaluation for assignment. Only to meet maximum response time, in every consultation, we was being antecedent individualmentede the budgetary situation.

Is this timely communication that both Mr. Christian Nicolai stressed in his letter addressed by this problem the Vice-Chancellors of universities? With the passing weeks, some Fellows traveled with own funds, or debt with bank loans in the hope that, someday, CONICYT adopted and retroactively to finance their requests. Worse still, up to today, there is no public statement on the part of CONICYT assuming communication shortcomings, and I want to stress that only by filtration of documents we learned us that "deferred" contest for 2019, will be implemented in August 2018 to less than two weeks, under criteria and weightings for assessment already established.

We are days that happen and we have received no statement or information officer part of CONICYT, despite the committed by Dr. Hamuy before the science and Technology Commission Wednesday 18 last July, of undoing mistakes in this matter, and to specify "instances of dialogue to see how we can tackle these changes in the allocation"(Commission CT, Chamber of Deputies, 18.07.18). How can the scholars planning an international internship or conclude an agreement among universities to co-supervision in less than a month? Can we not apply operating expenses 2019 who must pay those of 2018 after August? Not to mention the delay in the process of accountability of operational costs from 2017, which prevents ask for profit for the current year.

Why our country, as it celebrates the creation of the Ministry of science, technology, knowledge and innovation, do us compete to fulfill our commitments and guarantee the quality of our research? Finally, the authorities of CONICYT may feel uncomfortable with our interventions, informed that their discomfort is insignificant with respect to the uncertainty that we have been subjected during all 2018 due to your inactivity. His silence and neglect translates into prejudice and delay for our research. Please: take charge!

Carlos Rivera, Biochemistry MSc.
PhD. Candidate
Laboratory of Neuroepigenetic Regulation
Pontifical Catholic University of Chile