The 24th General Assembly of The World Academy of Sciences was inaugurated in Buenos Aires
The opening committee was attended by the Minister of Science, Technology and Productive Innovation, Lino Barañao, and the president of the CONICET, Roberto Salvarezza.
Bai Chunli, Lino Barañao and Roberto Salvarezza during the TWAS opening ceremony. Photo: CONICET

The World Academy of Sciences for the advancement of science in developing countries (TWAS) started its 24th Annual Meeting in Argentina. The opening committee was presided by ministers and representatives of different Science and Technology organizations from China, India, Brazil, Mexico, Italy, Sweden and South Africa, and the UNESCO.

The president of the National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET), Roberto Salvarezza, participated in the inauguration and then talked to the present scientific community about the current situation of the Council and future challenges.

He indicated that, at this moment the main objectives of the Council are to participate actively in transfer activities, to enhance the links between the CONICET and other Science and Technical organizations to optimize achievements and advance the unification of science.

Regarding that, he explained that when we talk about transfer, we refer to “knowledge transfer not only technology, we also mean work in public hospitals through translational medicine, or contribution to Social Sciences with highly qualified human resources to different municipalities to improve the administration”.

Salvarezza remarked the need for the continuity of national policies regarding Science and Technology and highlighted the achievements and results of this last decade’s administration.

The minister Lino Barañao recalled that “scientists were considered as dangerous during the military dictatorship or disposable from the neo-liberal approach of democratic governments. Scientists had to either leave the country or live with less than US$ 100”. He remarked that “after a long time we are celebrating the repatriation of the scientist number one thousand”.

He added that “Argentina is reaching again a place at a global level in all areas and disciplines”. Besides, he remarked that the most important is “to acquire good knowledge practices for science in order to enhance the quality of life of the citizens”.

Barañao also highlighted the importance of this meeting for the scientific community and for the ones responsible for the administration of science in Argentina regarding the organization of this event in the country.

The TWAS’ current president and leader of the Academy of Sciences in China, Bai Chunli indicated that “with the leadership of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner science has emerged. Investments were made; and there was an important growth of the GDP”. Some examples of important scientific achievements are the satellite launched by the NASA in 2011, and the tremendous spirit for research by organizations such as the CONICET, the University of Buenos Aires and the Balseiro Institute.

Furthermore, he commented that the international political situation has changed and through science “nations that were poor managed to increase investigations and generate meaningful dividends, such as Argentina, Mexico, Cuba and the Caribbean”.

Chunli remarked the participation of Argentina in the celebration of the TWAS 30th anniversary in Buenos Aires. Besides, he recognized that the country is entitled to have been leader in science. He recalled the three Nobel prizes Argentina received and the participation of Milstein and Leloir at the beginning of the TWAS.

During the opening of the ceremony investigators of different nationalities were awarded diplomas, medals and special prizes. For Argentina, Francisco Barrantes and Juan Pablo Paz, both investigators of the CONICET, were awarded.

Finally, Diego Golombek, also researcher of the Council, received the TWAS Regional Prize, which honors individuals who contributed to the understanding of science.

The activities of the World Academy will continue to Friday, October 4, at the Sheraton Buenos Aires Hotel with important presentations and debates by scientists of different parts of the world.