Under the motto “A life devoted to knowledge”, the commemoration of the 55th anniversary of the National Scientific and Technical Research Council was carried out in Tecnópolis premises. The event was presided by Dr. Lino Barañao, minister of Science, Technology and Productive Innovation; and Dr. Roberto Salvarezza., president of the Council.
More than 800 attendees participated in the recognition granted to 24 investigators, who received the emeritus researcher award, and the promotion of 107 researchers to superior investigator in 2009 and 2012.
During his speech, the minister of Science and Technology, Lino Barañao, highlighted that “being able to celebrate CONICET’s achievements is a collective goal. During the dictatorship, scientists were considered as dangerous, in the nineties, expendable; and today we are changing the role of science from a mere cultural activity, limited to only a few, to a service for industry and development of the country”.
The minister made reference to the fact that today this society values science and that “during this administration, which has prevailed a decade fortunately, Argentine science plays a role that has never had before”.
Roberto Salvarezza, president of the CONICET, remarked the evolution of the agency throughout Argentine history and highlighted the current situation of the scientific and technological system in the country. “The reconstruction of the scientific system was a task undertook by the national government in 2003 with a clear aim: science and technology as a basic supply for the development of a country; a system capable of contributing with a better quality of life for all citizens”, he said.
This reconstruction, according to Salvarezza, implied “deep changes in previous policies of Argentina. From symbolic changes, such as the value of Science and Technology as a remarkable and recognized activity for our society, to material modifications by the significant increase of the financial support from the National Government to this scientific sector of our country”.
In 2003 there was a clear decision from the government to consider Science and Technology as the engine of national development. “The CONICET as a national organization for the execution and promotion of Science and Technology, present in all institutions and throughout the country, was widely supported by the national government. This support was reflected in the increase of the budget from $ 265 millions in 2003 to $3.000 millions in 2013”, the president of the Council indicated.
Throughout his speech, Salvarezza highlighted that during these last ten years, the number of investigators doubled, what reversed the ageing of scientific staff. Nowadays there is a great distribution of age and gender in the researchers’ staff.
Besides, he remarked the relationship between the CONICET and public universities with the aim of the promotion of scientific and technical research in all the country. “We can not conceive a current CONICET without the Public University because 90 per cent of the institutes of the Council are under double dependency with public universities”.
The Universities are connected with different actions promoted by the CONICET to foster the unification of science. “We are working with universities of different parts of the country that wish to strengthen their research and development activities through Research and Transfer Centres. This implies the relocation of investigators with strong stimulation, support regarding fellowships and PhDs, together with infrastructure works”, Salvarezza commented.
In this respect, he explained that in order to encourage investigation oriented to resolve regional problems or issues related to organizations of control and implementation, the Council added the YPF Foundation and the SENASA to the traditional Multiyear Research Projects (PIPs).
Currently, the institution has 7.500 investigators, 2.300 technicians, 1.100 administrative personnel and it funds PhDs and Postdoctorates of 9.100 students that are conducting their doctoral thesis in national universities.
The CONICET comprises 192 institutes and research centres, 13 Scientific and Technological Centres and two multidisciplinary centres. Recently, six Research and Transfer Centres were created. The Council is placed among the first 100 institutions in terms of production and quality of scientific work, a number of 3.300 in the world. Regarding this, the institution ranks second in Latin America and first in Argentina.
The Council commemorated its 55th anniversary, dating back to the beginning of the 50’s. As the first antecedent, the year 1951 is highlighted for the creation of the National Technical and Scientific Council (CONITYC), an organization that seven years later would lead to the CONICET, on February 5, 1958.
To watch the video of 55 years of the CONICET click here.
To watch and download the photos of the event click here.
To watch Roberto Salvarezza speech click here.