Statement by the budget situation for science and technology in Chile

Statement by the budget situation for science and technology in Chile

Statement by the budget situation for science and technology in Chile

The Bureau of the University Senate, upper body College and triestamental, representative of the University community, expresses its deep concern for resources that would target the law of budgets 2018, according to the available information - to the Scientific and technological research in Chile. Political and academic authorities have stated that these would be reduced by 2.2% and he has been raised that this reduction would affect the contest regular Fondecyt, oriented research that takes place mainly in universities.

Beyond the eventual reduction or even the maintenance of the budget for science and technology in Chile, the fact is that our country for years spent a scant amount of their gross domestic product (GDP) to this area, which does not agree with the concern that the highest authorities manifest in matter or consciousness that exists about its relevance in the informed public opinion. Indeed, while Chile spends less than 0,4% of GDP to scientific activity, the countries of the Organization for cooperation and economic development (OECD) have an expenditure which averages 2.5%. Far away from countries like Korea or Israel, that 4% more than for this field, we are located, according todata from the World Bank (2014), by under even of the average for Latin America and the Caribbean.

There is a broad consensus on the relationship between scientific research and the social, cultural and economic development of Nations and the welfare of the people. Despite the relatively weak and uneven economic support, Chile has developed lines and research groups in fields as natural and applied sciences, mathematics, humanities and the social sciences, which bring knowledge and help us to understand and interpret our reality. The decrease in funds for research would affect the continuity of lines, work in laboratories, libraries and field, and the professional development of researchers and highly specialized equipment. It would also harm undergraduate and, particularly, graduate, University education closely connected with the research. Considering only the progressive increase of scientists in the country, even a non-significant increase in the budget for research may be insufficient for today's needs and which are projected in the near future.

Recently, in response to a diagnosis that is widespread in the country, has been proposed a new institutional framework for science, technology and innovation, which currently examines the legislative branch. Regardless of the differences that may exist in the structure, scope and the purposes of such institutions - that provoke discussion among those investigated in the different fields of knowledge-, predictable is that, without a sharp increase in spending on research in all the areas, both the development of the various sciences and technologies and the improvement of the quality of higher education, pursuing other bills, will fail.

Considering the above, we think that the reduction, maintenance or even the marginal increase in the funds allocated to the attentive research in Chile against the country's interests and goals of developing our own authorities have raised. Agrees, therefore, with the proposal of the Chilean Academy of Sciences, in the sense of progressively increasing spending to 1% of GDP in four years. The Government requests that the law of budgets 2018 responds to this end.

Along with estimate that the increase in expenditure is condition for development, we believe that it is also essential to discuss current mechanisms of allocation of resources for research, taking into account the needs of the country in all its dimensions. So, it is necessary to articulate better the State and universities, promoting collaboration, the institutional commitment and long-term issues of national interest projects. The harmonious development of the nation supposed to also consider the contribution both of natural, exact and applied sciences, focus of the current project of Ministry of science, technology and innovation, as the social sciences and Humanities, without whose contest We can not understand and address the cultural, social and political problems of a society in rapid transformation.

Guillermo Soto Vergara
Vice President of the University Senate of the University of Chile
Claudio Olea random
Secretary of the University Senate of the University of Chile