Among the new appointments announced by President Gustavo Petro in his cabinet is the appointment of Yesenia Olaya as Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation.. A PhD in Anthropology comes to the portfolio to replace Biologist Arturo Lunaan appointment to be received by scientific community Amid conflicting opinions.
For Professor Enrique Forero, former president of the Colombian Academy of Exact, Physical and Natural Sciences (Accefyn), this is again wrong.. Although he welcomes Luna’s departure, he is concerned about the lack of knowledge Olaya may have about what is being done at Columbia in science and technology.
“Pietro continues to play hide and seek with science, and he didn’t want to talk to scientists,” says the academic, who is part of the UNU board committee. For him, within government, the opinions expressed by the scientific community on issues such as appointment Irene Velez as Minister of Mines and Energy or the departure of Carlos Vargas as Deputy Minister in the same portfolio.
“It seems to me that the new minister is pure ideology and an ideology in a country like ours, which needs a lot of pragmatism, and we will not achieve anything. We have continued in the same way since the establishment of the ministry; we have not had any luck.” We encouraged the creation of this ministry so that the word for science would be in the vocabulary of Colombians and so that there would be someone in the cabinet who would defend the interests of this sector, and none of this happened.says the botanist.
Also: the urgent appeal for Colombia to have its own space agency
For his part, he is Fanor Mondragón, Professor Emeritus at the University of Antioquia and member of Accefynwho admits that she does not know much about the path of the new minister, explains that no matter who she is, what is required is that The person who becomes President Minciencias is visible in Congress.
In this particular legislative space, researchers who have been involved in various processes indicated that they witnessed situations where legislators did not know who was in charge of the file.
“We need everyone in the department to be visible, to talk to members of Congress, and to lobby with all of them,” says the chemist. A role that will be as essential to advance historical conflicts as the country’s budget for the study of science.
“The government invests $10-12 per year in science; the United States invests about $1,400 per capita per year; Israel can invest more than $2,000 per inhabitant per year in research and development,” explains Prof. Mondragon, who also called attention to the fact that in National Development Plan There was no budgetary allocation for science.
Professor Gabriela Delgado, of the National University of Colombia, is looking at this appointment with good eyes. “It is time to entrust this briefcase to someone else, which has not yielded any kind of results. It is very unfortunate that a minister did not fight for the resources of his sector and this minister did nothing.”
(Also: Do you have a fossil in your house? The Department of Geology invites you to record it.)
For the teacher, also a member of Accefyn, as senior deputy minister he was promoting initiatives, but the resistance led by the minister did not allow progress. “Thematically, it seems to me a good opportunity for her to develop all the ideas she’s had that have been put on hold,” she says.
It must be remembered that the ministers who were responsible for the science portfolio, which was created at the end of 2019, could not fully meet the expectations of the country’s researchers. start, Mabel Torres has been the center of criticism for her controversial statements that she did not understand the importance of the scientific method. For his part, his successor, Tito Chrisian, was accused of plagiarism in some of the publications issued while he was in charge of the rectory at the University of the Coast.
Although his association with the scientific community was viewed positively upon the arrival of Arturo Luna, he was also criticized for his inexperience and lack of prominence in the public sphere.