Institutional News

Argentine President inaugurates the new CONICET head office

The building is located at the Polo Científico Tecnológico, the largest scientific infrastructure work in the last fifty years.

Officials during the inauguration. Photo: CONICET photography.

Argentine President, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, inaugurated the second stage of the Scientific and Technological Centre (Polo) which includes the new head office of the National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET), the Centro Cultural de la Ciencia (C3) [Science Cultural Centre] and the Parque de las Ciencias [Sciences Park].

The ceremony was held at the auditorium of the Polo and the President was accompanied by the minister of Science, Technology and Productive Innovation, Lino Barañao; and the Economy minister Axel Kicillof. There were other officials who attended the inauguration: the president of the CONICET, Roberto Salvareza; the head of the National Agency for Scientific and Technological Promotion, Fernando Goldbaum; Buenos Aires province Governor, Daniel Scioli; and the national cabinet.

President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner said “for the first time in Argentina, we are at a place that not only houses the Ministry of Science and Technology, which was created by our government in 2007, it is also the largest infrastructure investment that provides the definite place for CONICET researchers.”

Furthermore, she added: “Here, science is available so as to be understood, and attract people’s attention. During these years, we have made a big leap in science and technology promotion and its use in the development of the economic project of a country, its companies and producers.”

Located in Palermo, city of Buenos Aires- in the lands of former Giol winery-, the Scientific and Technological Centre (Polo) was built through the Plan de Obras para la Ciencia y la Tecnología [Works Plan for Science and Technology] carried out by the Ministry of Science and the CONICET.

It is the first administration, production and promotion centre for scientific knowledge in Latin America, and it is the most important infrastructure work in the last fifty years. The first stage, finished in 2011, included the inauguration of the head office of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Productive Innovation; the National Agency for Scientific and Technological Promotion, and the International Interdisciplinary Institutes for Innovation (14).

The total amount invested in the construction of this new stage totalled ARS$ 363.548.774 for an area of 22.228 square metres. The whole work required an investment of ARS$ 499.769.816 for 47.102 square metres.

“This is not only an investment in infrastructure; it is a great commitment of resources to research and development. I feel proud to learn that scientists appreciate what our government has done for science and technology. This is part of a project and a model of country. Nowadays researchers are valued, they are not send to wash the dishes”, concludes the President, who thinks that the governability of a country is manifested when scientists have a place to work.

Currently, the head office of the CONICET, which is the main organization devoted to the promotion of science and technology in the country, has 657 employees – administrative staff and officials – who used to work in the old head office located in Av. Rivadavia 1957, in Congreso town.

The building consists of eleven floors, with open offices and a central core of lifts and stairs. The building has more than 10 thousand square metres with areas devoted to the activity of the scientific system of the Council: assessment, administration, legal affairs, technology transfer, human resources, international and national cooperation, and others.
During the tour at the new building, Salvarezza presented the President with a pin that acknowledges her as an honorary member.

“This Polo reflects everything that has happened during these last twelve years of constant investment of the National State for science, technology and the value of changing from decades in which rearchers, were not needed, to a period in which the scientific activity was considered by the State and the Society as important asset for the development of the country and the quality of life of the citizens”, Salvarezza stated.

Today we also inaugurate the Centro Cultural de la Ciencia [Science Cultural Centre] a unique space for scientific promotion, which aims to connect science with society. With innovative activities and experiences to participate, the objective of this centre is to promote scientific vocations for the development of society. Besides, the centre is the head office of science, technology and productive innovation tv signal. It is the first public and digital channel that promotes interest in science and technology.

During the ceremony, the President gave the “2014 National Researcher Award” to Juan Pablo Paz, researcher of the Council and director of the Instituto de Física de Buenos Aires (IFIBA, CONICET-UBA)[Physics Institute of Buenos Aires]. Besides, the CONICET scientists who were awared the 2014 “Houssay Career”, “Houssay” and “Jorge Sabato” awards received special honourable mentions. Click here for more information.

The inauguration was attended by the following members of the CONICET: , the vice president of Scientific Affairs of the Council, Mirtha Flawiá; board members Dora Barrancos and Santiago Sacerdote; managers and directors of the Council.


A new oceanographic research vessel

At the same ceremony, the President held a videoconference with the Miguel Laborde, vice president of Technological Affairs of the CONICET, who was at the port in the city of Mar del Plata to present the “Austral” vessel for oceanographic research.

For Laborde, this vessel is aimed at both strengthening awareness about the fact that Argentina is a maritime nation and reinforcing sovereignty on the South Atlantic. This vessel belongs to all the country and demonstrates remarkable progress for Argentine science due to the technological characteristics it has.” Furthermore, he said that “this vessel is going to enhance the quality and quantity of maritime research. It will allow us to study hydrocarbon, that is to say, it is going to have a great impact on the energy system.”

The vessel, which belongs to the CONICET, is going to be operated by the Argentine Navy and is part of the Pampa Azul, a strategic initiative to conduct research on the Argentine Sea. The objective is to enhance scientific knowledge on conservation and management of natural resources.

With an investment of ARS$ 60 millions, the “Austral” will increase the support platform to study the sea. The initiative began when the Puerto Deseado Oceanographic Vessel – which undertook 7 campaigns and 81 research projects in 2014- started to operate.

The vessel is 97,5 metres long and weights 4,734 tons. It uses a diesel electric system for propulsion, reaching a speed of 12.5 Knots. The vessel is capable of accommodating up to 25 scientists and 25 technicians or marine personnel on board.

It has six cabins for: seismology, seismic compressed air, hydroacoustic, oceanography, geology and chemistry. Besides, it contains an oceanographic winch also used for magnetic survey; dredger and dragnets with embedded videos; satellite images and weather map receivers; and a system for ocean floor observation, among other operational capabilities and scientific equipment.

This research platform will develop activities linked to geology, geophysics, geodynamics and seismology, physical oceanography, chemistry and biology. Furthermore, this vessel will be able to identify areas of hydrocarbon and food wealth.

Laborde was accompanied by the director of the Centro Científico Tecnológico CONICET Mar del Plata, Gustavo Daleo; the mayor of General Pueyrredón, Gustavo Pulti; deputy María Fernanda Raverta; the director of the Argentine Naval Hydrographic Service, Andrés Roque Di Vincenzo; the Austral Oceanographic Vessel commander, Pablo Martín Bonuccelli, among other officials.

Click here to watch the video.