The Science and Technology Commission chaired by Senator Beatriz Paredes Rangel, held a remote working session with María Elena Álvarez-Buylla Roces, general director of the National Council for Science and Technology (Conacyt), who detailed the proposed General Law on Humanities, Sciences, Technology and Innovation, and clarified on the extinction of trusts and actions against Covid-19, among other issues.
At the proposal of Paredes Rangel, the CONACYT will hold a workshop in conjunction with the legislators, where the researchers present what they consider to be strategic projects of national scientific development, to promote social development and consolidate Mexico’s presence in contemporary science.
The PRI legislator also requested that the Science and Technology Commission have access to the calls for Conacyt Scholarships, given concerns about the insufficiency of these supports, which may originate from disinformation.
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In his presentation, Álvarez Buylla explained that there is already a preliminary draft of the General Law on Humanities, Sciences, Technology and Innovation, which seeks to consolidate the human right to science and to vindicate the humanities to epistemological pluralism.
He said that it also includes the democratization of the National Humanities, Science and Technology System, the federalization of the policy on the matter, as well as the articulation and coordination of budgets by the Council, among other points.
He explained that after the Decree of Extinction of Public Trusts, on April 2, two are in the process of consultation, which are administered in collaboration with the Ministry of Energy: one for research in the area of hydrocarbons and the one related to sustainability or energy transition.
He pointed out that of the trusts in extinction, two are institutional, 23 sectoral and 35 are mixed funds, that is, that there are a total of 60 trusts, for which reason the notifications have been made and the liquidation and extinction processes have begun .
We need to train more scientists and scientists. In the 1st. 2020 semester, the Conacyt has given 61,689 scholarships. The scholarships transform lives and provide young people with more opportunities, who will strengthen Mexico to lead it towards scientific and technological leadership. pic.twitter.com/dYtD0Pc3Vp
– María Elena Álvarez-Buylla Roces (@ElenaBuylla) July 12, 2020
He said that in the past administration, Conacyt transferred more than 40 percent of the resources of public trusts to the private sector, while the Innovation Efficiency Index decreased. In 2020, he clarified, 24 percent of the projects authorized in 2013 are active.
Regarding the Conacyt 2020 Scholarships at home and abroad, he said that there are 61,689 those administered from January to June 2020, and highlighted that 48 percent of the students are women.
He also referred to the actions carried out to combat the SARS-COV-2 virus pandemic, in terms of clinical trials, ventilators, diagnostic tools, epidemiological studies, among others. He highlighted that there are more than 20 proposals from Mexican researchers that are being evaluated to combat the new Coronavirus.
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In the positions of the senators and senators, José Luis Pech Várguez, from the Parliamentary Group of Morena, highlighted that there are funds that do not have favorable results, that present financial opacity and even corruption in the distribution and use of their resources.
He assured that the qualifications established in the decree of extinction of the trusts, was what allowed their permanence and not outside influences, or political efforts.
Meanwhile, the coordinator of the PAN Parliamentary Group, Mauricio Kuri, stressed that Mexico cannot be left behind on the subject of science, technology and innovation, since at times like the one that the country is going through due to the Coronavirus, investment in Knowledge is the future of the Nation.
He noted that the Treaty between Mexico, the United States and Canada (T-MEC) is an opportunity for the country to open up to the world on the subject of science, sustainability, innovation and health collaboration. In this sense, he explained that Mexican companies cannot compete if they are not supported with tools, human talent and technology.
Claudia Edith Anaya Mota, from the Parliamentary Group of the PRI, assured that the austerity policy affected the science and technology system, so it should be ensured that there are no budget reductions in this area. She added that the trend towards centralization of sectoral programs is worrying.
Likewise, he considered it necessary to promote regional development to promote technological innovation and science. He proposed the integration of collegiate bodies in which the authorities of the states, scientific and academic communities of the regions, and legislators participate, in order to enrich the central criteria in the definition of projects.
In her speech, Senator Verónica Delgadillo García, from Movimiento Ciudadano, stated that science and technology have been relegated by governments and that there is currently a concern for researchers who show a lack of clarity to improve their working conditions and the quality of scientific development in the country.
“We are concerned that Conacyt is working with a poorly understood austerity,” he said. These decisions will have serious consequences with the disappearance of trusts and long-term projects that will die from these decisions, he warned.
The Covid 19 pandemic uncovered the potential of science, technology and innovation to meet current challenges, find solutions and build a new, more sustainable, open and collaborative normality, said Senator from Verde Ecologista, Alejandra Lagunes Soto Ruiz.
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For this, he added, it is necessary to have an institutional design that encourages the development of open science, and at the same time build democratic and ethical frameworks for technology; particularly in developments for artificial science.
He pointed out that the race to find a vaccine has made it clear that only through collaborative and open work can the goal be reached. The new normality, he added, must allow the right established in the 2019 reform to become the third article of the Constitution, so that all people can access the benefits of science, technology and innovation.
Senator Elvia Marcela Mora Arellano, from Encuentro Social, recognized the work of the Council, despite the fact that a significant part of the research funding was allocated to other topics and sectors, which caused a stagnation and setback that grew hand in hand with privileges.
He indicated that the ease with which the false news about the Covid-19 has penetrated shows that the current system has not responded adequately to the much-needed scientific disclosure; reason why, he pointed out, a paradigm shift would be missing that would lower the science of the pedestal and offer the public a perspective that broadens its horizon, allows it to interpret and approach the world with other tools that popular knowledge contributes.
I was pleased to meet with the senators and members of the Science and Technology Commission. We are talking about the plural and democratic process that the Preliminary Draft of the General Law of HCTI has followed. # CienciaPorMéxico #Hilo 1/4 pic.twitter.com/yfvonBre2l
– María Elena Álvarez-Buylla Roces (@ElenaBuylla) July 11, 2020
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