Professor Romilio mirror: "it is time that we apply science to improve the quality of life before business"

Professor Romilio mirror: "it is time that we apply science to improve the quality of life before business"

The national award for applied sciences and academician of the Institute of nutrition and technology of food (INTA) shared in this interview his vision regarding the role of science in society and its more than five decades of work, which will be recognized next 26 September in a tribute organized by INTA.

"Fifty-five years traveling between virus and bacteria" is the name of theChat masterthat the recently announced national award in applied science,Romilio mirror, will issue Wednesday, September 26 at INTAoccasion where such unit where he has developed part of their career will provide a tribute.

"Colossal progress in Biochemistry and molecular biology in the last 70 years enabled the understanding of living beings, giving precise insight into their structures, functioning and reproduction, and the ability to handle them. Most of the advances achieved initially with viruses or bacteria and I was lucky to live this stage, participating with some contributions in the understanding of both, which resulted in immediate applications,"explains the academic connection to the experiences that will tell the meeting opened in the community.

Part of these experiences are some of its most important achievements: the elucidation of the mechanism of activation and functions 11 genes of the rotavirus and the characterization of bacteria in bioleaching, same that earned it from the National Award.

His contributions have been associated to massive health problems, but also to innovation in the economy of the copper. How is that science should be considered both dimensions it?

My approach has always been to study a phenomenon, thanks to the large developments that have occurred in the past 70 years in biology; the understanding of human beings, always believing that knowledge will help improve industrial processes and methods of health, but trying to whenever that calls us to a life more chord with nature and with the environment, and a better lifestyle and life situation.

How this approach can be linked with the current scenarios of crisis on environmental matters where the biological sciences have much to say?

For the prize, one feels that you have a forum and I think that it is time to develop more of an idea that I've always had that applied science should be directed towards a better quality of life, and not as it has been addressed in recent times to obtain from a product that could be negotiable in the market.

When one speaks of applied science all over the world always think of new products, and these are not going to develop on the market if it is to not grant a profit who produce them. Unfortunately almost all of the development of science applied at this time had been in that direction, by what I feel that it is time that we apply science to improve the quality of life rather than on business.

How do we reconcile both planes?

Science gives us knowledge, and we can use that knowledge good or bad. In most developed countries, there is an investigation of the phenomena, to see how to use it better. Learn, for example, in aquaculture reproduce the salmon, as they feed, genetics, and with that knowledge to see what is the best way to use it.

Now what has been given much in applied science is not explores the phenomenon that seeks the almost immediate solution of a problem. Almost all applied science projects have been associated with a calculation of the internal rate of return or the value of the money that is put on that project so that they are approved, and is very regrettable.

In that sense, what you think the situation of Quintero?

We have to use applied science to see how we combine production with an environment that is not damaged. It is difficult to accept what has been called a zone of sacrifice, that it seems that to install an industry it is necessary to have one because the industry pollutes and is inevitable, and that is not the case.

Our ideal would be to use science in such a way that when an industry is installed everyone is happy and that requires a new vision, a new paradigm. Forget a little immediate gain in application and seek to improve the quality of life.

What is your assessment of the current national scientific system in view of the new Ministry?

A long time ago that is thinking that a Ministry will be useful for the development of science in Chile, but it is difficult to be optimistic because the budget of the Ministry is relatively the same money or less than those who are given to applied research in C hile.

Of course, you will have greater independence for the development but without a significant infusion of resources that significantly increases the jobs in research and projects will not have a noticeable effect.

I think one of the biggest problems we have today is the lack of workplaces to make scientific research and the lack of projects. We have a lot of very well qualified young researchers but have no funding to make their research projects or have no workplaces where are you granted projects. Currently many returning from abroad to settle in the country and find work in private universities where teaching is more and not leave them time to do research.

That it requires a budget. We need to create more jobs in research and finance a larger number of projects. They have to be competitive, but competition is not as extreme as it is currently where only the outstanding are approved and qualified as very good, having high quality, are not funded.

Finally, what responsibility leave you this national award?

I believe that the greatest responsibility that I feel is as to try to orient the science applied to a new paradigm in function of improving the quality of life of the society. For that necessary political activity, in the good sense of the politics of the scientists.

All this has led me to think of INTA. I working on the INTA had failed to measure his tremendous contribution, started by Professor Mönckeberg with very few resources. His intervention was decisive in ending malnutrition in Chile. That was not negotiable. That was not a product that could handle on the market. However that contribution of INTA if it were negotiable in the market would be of immense value. INTA would be the richest Institute, with huge buildings, stylish teams that produced could be negotiated. But the large contributions do not have to go with an economic benefit. Therefore, this contribution seems more and more notable.