The Road to a General Law of Science, Technology and InnovationBy Miriam Bello | Wed, 06/24/2020 - 11:17
By the end of 2019, the scientific community started an active work towards a General Law of Science, Technology and Innovation. CONACYT is the institution heading this project, which has outlined its goals in seven key points:
- The vindication of the humanistic and ethical sense of scientific and technological work, designating the humanities, sciences and technologies as promoters of social welfare and environmental protection.
- A clear base for coordination and distribution of competences between the federation, federal entities and municipalities.
- The redesign of the democratic governance of the system of science, technology an innovation in accordance with the state's leadership in these areas.
- Strengthening of technological research and development institutions, private higher education institutions, autonomous universities and research centers, as well as sector consolidation.
- Transparent spaces for direct participation and broad consultation in the science, technology and innovation community.
- The articulation and efficient operation of the public budget and its sustained increase, with no possibility of reduction, of up to 1 percent of the national GDP and no less than 0.5 percent, as well as the management of outstanding contributions from the private sector, states and municipalities.
- The migration of the scheme of funds per contributor to one due to specific and priority demands that allow financing strategic projects, articulating capacities efficiently
The Head of CONACYT spoke about the many benefits that this law will bring to the scientific community in the country, highlighting that it will encourage development of technology and innovation, which will overall contribute to economic growth in Mexico. Moreover, this law also encourages talent development and retention in the country.
At the beginning of 2020, a national consultancy on the subject began where organizations could make vocal their concerns and wishes for the project. Specific subjects arose, such as the support given to scientific groups dedicated to solving national problems, CONACYT’s centralization of competences related to decision-making in scientific matters, the powers of this same institution over public research centers and their capacity to use self-generated resources and the rules governing the National System of Researchers.
The COVID-19 outbreak put on hold this general law project for the scientific community, which had recently faced scholarship cuts for exchange students and scientists. This even drove the community to protest against working conditions, saying that they were not a privileged community and that their work was to contribute to science and the country.
This week, Red ProCiencia MX, one of the organizations that has been actively seeking this law project, has released a digital survey for the general public and for the scientific and academic community. The goal is to keep pushing forward despite the current limitations and to integrate all opinions and concerns possible before drafting the law initiative.