FERNANDEZ Diana Elizabeth
congresos y reuniones científicas
Congreso; IV Simposio Paleontología en Chile; 2014
Scientific careers in Argentina are structured in a five-year programme, after which a graduate degree (called licenciatura) is obtained. Degrees in Argentina usually involve about 20-30 (or more) weekly hours of classes. Programmes are commonly divided into a core cycle and a cycle of orientation. Most scientific careers are offered only in public universities, which are free and open, and many different kinds of scholarships and grants are available, mainly from the government and universities. All Argentinian universities mentioned from here on are public. Biology and geology degrees, commonly include at least one course of paleontology. Until 2002, only the University of La Plata (Universidad de la Plata, UNLP) offered a biology degree with orientation to paleontology. In that year the Faculty of Exact and Natural Sciences of the University of Buenos Aires (FCEN, UBA) created the first formal degree in paleontology in Argentina and Latin America. This degree has had a steady flow of students of around 10-19 per year. Since 2008 about 32 graduates have completed their studies in the UBA. In 2009, the University of Río Negro (Universidad de Río Negro; UNRN) also created a five-year degree in paleontology. Paleontology both in the UBA and UNRN cover invertebrate and vertebrate paleontology, micropaleontology, paleobotany, paleoecology, taphonomy and biostratigraphy as well as geologic and biologic subjects; both careers are strongly interdisciplinary. Their curricula are structured differently; in UNRN there are more, shorter courses per semester, while in the UBA courses are fewer but have a greater load of class hours. Both programmes require a degree thesis. The UNRN offers an intermediate two-year Diploma in Geosciences. The degree in the UBA includes one extra year, the Ciclo Básico Común (CBC; basic common cycle) which has some subjects common to all degrees from the UBA. In 2011 there were 11 foreign students coursing paleontology in the UBA, including people from Chile, Colombia, Peru, Costa Rica and Ecuador. The paleontology degree in the UNRN has had about 20 students per year, including students from Bolivia and Chile. The earliest students will be graduating this year. The most stable and the commonest employment for paleontologists is academic research through the Scientific Research Career of CONICET (Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Tecnológicas), which requires a PhD degree. There are no tuition fees in Doctoral Programmes in Argentinian public universities. A limited number of stipends for graduates wishing to pursue a PhD are provided by governmental agencies, allowing applicants to devote full time to their theses. Postdoctoral stipends are also available in a more reduced number. A scientist commonly spends 5-7 years with one or more of these grants before applying to the Scientific Researcher Career of CONICET. There is yet much to do regarding employment options and only time will tell how far paleontologists can go as the graduates start exploring career paths and as their work becomes more widely known as well.