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Entries tagged with ‘centres of excellence’

Center for Scientific Studies (CECS) in Chile

The Center for Scientific Studies (CECS) was founded in 1984 as the first independent scientific research organization in the history of Chile, and has become an important centre for science in Chile and Latin America. CECS was founded by Chilean theoretical physicists and biologists who had established careers abroad but chose to return to Chile to contribute their skills to the development of their country.

Investigations in the field of Glaciology and Climate Change at the CECS are notably innovative as well as their scientific expeditions to the Antarctic territory. To some extent the Center has arguably reshaped thinking about the role of science in development in Chile and Latin America. The CECS has incorporated the military force as a support to science research, while also holding a democratic view of society. The Center has contributed to the decentralization of the country due to the decision to move and settle down in Valdivia, a small city 800 km (to the south) from the capital city Santiago.

The Center is led by the physicist Claudio Bunster, who, together with his team have helped develop private-public partnerships in order to obtain financing for the institution. Scientists from Latin America and all around the world visit the Centre for their research. The Center has an internal organization based in horizontal relations and mutual support between researchers.

It has been an excellent example of an institution demonstrating that from the South of the world it is possible to produce science of a very first level. In recent years the Center has been involved in a new challenge of greater support and development of applied sciences, beyond their traditional strength in basic sciences. CECS research is funded by competitive funding from the National Fund for Scientific and Technological Development (FONDECYT – Fondo Nacional de Desarrollo Científico y Tecnológico) and other national and international agencies.

Timeline entry contributed by Juan Manuel Fernández Urcelay

Source: CECS website

International Space Station (ISS)

The International Space Station (ISS) project is the first project involving international cooperation to construct a space station, and involving 15 countries, including the US, Russia, members of the EU, Japan and Canada. Astronauts from a number of countries have visited the space station, for example, Marcos Pontes from Brazil and Yi So-yeon from South Korea were the first astronauts to go into space from their respective countries. Construction of the ISS was started at the end of the 1990s and still continues.

This was an epoch marking event for space development in the world, because for the first time the US and Russia cooperated in space development. It can be said that the event was the opening of a new era of space development not for military use.

Although the station is still under construction, it has already been used for various purposes. It is expected that activities in the space station, such as research concerning health and environment, and observation of the earth yield valuable findings for our sustainable development. Success in this project also means the enhancement of our biosphere.

The ISS project and space technology represented by this project can be one of the key technologies for sustainable development in future. At the same time, it can cause controversial arguments from various points of view such as practically or ethically, for example: do the benefits derived from the ISS correspond to the huge investment?; or should we live apart from ‘Mother Earth’ even if it is technologically possible?

Space technology is vital for thinking about sustainability, monitoring, and information, both positively and negatively.

Timeline entry contributed by Hiroko Takuma

Symposium ’09: Session 3 – What opportunities are presented by the global redistribution of innovative activity?

This session was chaired by Martin Bell and discussed the opportunities and challenges resulting from the emergence of new centres of science and innovation.

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Background paper / Centres of Excellence? Questions of Capacity for Innovation, Sustainability, Development

By Melissa Leach and Linda Waldman

This paper explores what ‘mainstream’ Centres of Excellence might mean for developing countries and poor people.

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Bellagio Conference on international agricultural research

The Ford and Rockefeller foundations invented the centre model for international agricultural research – developing and financing the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines (launched in 1962), the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT) in Mexico (in 1966), as well as the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture in Nigeria and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture in Colombia, both established in 1967.  Thus the Bellagio Conference helped formalise the ‘centre’ model for international agricultural research, furthering the ‘Green Revolution’.

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Inter Academy Council Report: Inventing a Better Future

The InterAcademy Council was established in May 2000 by a number of national science academies from around the world. (InterAcademy website)  The authors highlight that “industrialized countries continue to vastly outspend the developing nations in research and even capture some of their most precious human resources for their own use.” (InterAcademy website)

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