The Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Daniel Filmus, warned this Tuesday in Bariloche that if a future government decides to paralyze the development of that area, it will actually precipitate “a setback” and called not only on researchers, but also on private companies that interact with the public sector “to put this into discussion.”
He said that in science and technology “everything moves so fast that when you paralyze progress you actually go backwards.” She did it by inaugurating today in this city the Reference Center for Yeasts and Brewing Technology (Creltec), a new unit of the Ipatec Instituteshared by Conicet and the National University of Comahue.
The event became a forum for demands of the science and technology system, in the face of public warnings from the presidential candidate with the most votes in the PASO elections, Javier Milei, about his intention to apply a drastic adjustment in that area, including the closure of Conicet.
The president of that organization Ana Franchi recalled that it would not be the first time that there is an advance of this type against the State’s investment in science and technology. The exhortation to scientists to go “wash the dishes,” which they had to deal with almost 30 years ago, during the government of Carlos Menem, resonated among his interlocutors. “In a country where we are sometimes punished for doing science “We are stubborn and we insist on our dreams,” said Franchi.
Filmus said without naming anyone thatThose who talk about reducing investment in science do so “from ignorance.” He stated that “the same countries that admire” these candidates “are the ones that invest the most in science and technology.”
According to the minister, Today in Argentina, spending in that area is 0.34% of GDP “as established by law,” with the aim of growing every year and reaching 1% in 2031. He said that this level, and even higher, is the one maintained by, for example, Korea, Israel, the United States and the European Union.
“Making an adjustment on that 0.34% is not going to change anything. More than an adjustment, it would be attacking science and a country model,” the minister argued.
He said that in many fields of work, Conicet and universities maintain close ties with private activity. He highlighted that “This virtuous alliance is what works in advanced countries” that many take as a model.
“They would already be on Mars”
And to illustrate the strength of the scientific sector, he resorted to a recent anecdote. Filmus said that during his trip last July to Argentina, NASA administrator Bill Nelson, after touring several facilities, including Invap, asked what the country’s investment in science and technology was. “When I told him, translated into dollars, he was amazed and told me ‘if they had had what we have they would already be on Mars’”. According to Filmus, NASA’s budget “is 61 times the Conicet budget.”
The minister said that he had already had to travel to this city several times to tour and inaugurate works and noted that “without a doubt” Bariloche is one of the most important research centers in the country. He assured that the bill to designate it as the national capital of Science, Research and Technology is on track, with the possibility that it will obtain half a sanction in the Senate next week.
He stated that it would not be just a question of declamation, since the activity has a local deployment and a rate of scientists per number of inhabitants that is not recorded elsewhere.
Conicet maintains common management spaces in Bariloche with UNCo and UNRN and in the current period it has already inaugurated three buildings. Filmus said that they have projects in their ministry to develop investments in Bariloche for 20 million dollarsand that they are “all with an agreement, some already tendered.”
He defined scientific policies as “a development strategy”, to transfer technology and “provide jobs”. He said that investment in this field should be a state policy and that they remain on alert against those who “not only want to make an adjustment, but also They are going for a country that only sells raw materials, that does not manufacture, that buys everything ready-made.”
A complex dedicated to applied science
The building of the Reference Center for Yeasts and Brewing Technology inaugurated this Tuesday It is located on the property that the province gave on loan to UNCo and Conicet.next to the Salmon Farming Center, near Virgen de las Nieves, about 10 kilometers from the center of Bariloche.
Creltec is part of the Ipatec institute (Andean Patagonian Institute of Biological and Environmental Technologies), whose director, Diego Libkind highlighted the efforts of the group of researchers who will work at the site (about 40) and the high level of interaction achieved with the private sector.
The center’s work is aimed at the detection, study and development of yeasts for commercial purposes, especially applied to the production of beer, whiskey and bakery products. Libkind toured the site with the authorities, explained the function and possibilities of some of the equipment and said that a high-capacity chromatograph was acquired with the help of the local Chamber of Brewers, which benefits from the advances made by the Institute.
Libkind said that the object of study in these laboratories is the broad biodiversity of yeasts that inhabit native forests. He defined them as “amazing little bugs” and warned that we also have to “take care of them.” Some of the threats that weigh on the resource are fires that affect the forest, urbanization and climate change.
The Creltec will operate in a 1,250 square meter building on three floors, which cost 2 million dollars, and which houses laboratories, offices, meeting rooms and an auditorium for 50 people. It also works with “energy efficiency” criteria and, as announced, will be integrated into an educational scientific tourism circuit, which is in full development.
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