“I was one of the scholars who argued that there was no money left for science”, Says the doctor in astrophysics Paulina Asman pointing to 0.4% of GDP that in Chile science is injected, far from 2.4% which is the OECD average, raising voices to improve the conditions in which scientific work is carried out in 2017 and 2018, when Establishment of a ministry with the necessary new institutionalization I demanded that the winds of change blow: “I was expecting it, I knew it was important to move forward as a country.”
In those days, as an academic and deputy director of international relations at the University of Concepcion (UdeC), her alma mater, she did not expect to be called upon to build this new institution as a The first SEREMI of Science, Technology, Knowledge and Innovation (CTCI) in the Greater South Central Region, From O’Higgins to Biobío Districts. I assume November 5, 2019 As a local authority of the smallest portfolio, it was his first public office; The challenge she did not hesitate to take came from her passion as a scientist and led her to explore an unknown career of public service. Close to closing the course and resuming jobs at UdeC, stated Contributing to the well-being of society should be the role of science and the conviction of the new authorities before the arrival of the next government. “Seremia’s actions were in the interest of the entire community. This is to be expected from a public institution.” carry.
Two years and four months later, he humbly makes a positive assessment of management where Assignment was the jobNot without adversity, he built a path that he believed his successors should continue to advance, where Local Ctci ecosystem recognition and expression generation Among the various social actors were raw materials.
for the people
Seremia had to be installed from scratch and has done so between the social outbreaks of 2019 and the Covid-19 pandemic since 2020. But, Asman knows it.The state of emergency became a valuable laboratory for testing and strengthening capabilities, and provided an opportunity to communicate to bring science out of the shadows, to show and prove that it can and should be at the service of people. It was one of the highlights of the portfolio at the national and local levels Demonstration of university molecular laboratories to be approved in PCR analysis for Sars-Cov-2 detection and Covid-19 diagnosis, Cooperate in decompressing the collapsed system. UdeC participates in the national network and the Catholic University of Santísima Concepción (Ucsc) has contributed throughout 2020. By capturing the important family and mechanical fans Needing more serious patients, in larger quantities at times without a vaccine, a call was opened to build a team and not rely on foreign countries and the Asmar Alliance-UdeC built one of the two models that met the requirements.
The Recycle disposable masksEveryone uses it daily, and it’s another local and groundbreaking achievement, as the work of the UdeC Technology Development Unit has been instrumental, along with Penquista’s contribution to both the public and private worlds. It was announced this week that 5,000 trays and farms have already been made from these recycled items.
But greatest achievement, Paulina Asman says, Ho “Advance detection of SARS-CoV-2 virus in wastewater”. This awakening was born after he read a paper that shortly after the onset of the pandemic has been shown to be detected in the faeces long before symptoms appear, allowing Early warning to anticipate outbreaks and direct investigations. done Three successful and pioneering initiatives in Chile and Latin America: in Chillán in 2020, covering a territory and at a more limited time and as analyzed by UdeC; Another was in San Pedro de la Paz throughout 2021 and another in the Biobio area for 6 months and finished in February, both in charge of Ucsc. Public and private actors played a major role in these projects which, given their outcomes, it is hoped will become public policy for a surveillance system for this disease and other pathogens.
At the local level, progress is being made at a steady pace, with a formal proposal for a research and control center that will soon be voted on by Core Biobío, so assessing all that has been achieved and looking optimistically into the future ensures that “the Biobío region will be very ready and will be a benchmark for Latin America”.
“We must increase efficiency in the use of existing resources”
What allows us today to talk about the proud achievements of the Department for two years, for Dr. Paulina Asman lies in the qualities of the region: “The tremendous strength that other regions do not possess is that there is a critical mass that allows us to provide solutions to the needs of the region “ and that”There are many institutions in the area that are cooperating.”
The fact is that in the greater region there are a large number of universities and research centers, many of which are concentrated in Biobío, where there is leadership in many areas, giving it the status of a pole of scientific and technological development. In addition to initiatives involving actors from different sectors, Biobío-Ñuble Cruch, which is made up of four traditional universities in the regions that have spent years proposing common goals, stands out, for example.
And one of the points he stressed is that the valuable initiatives of a local nature to confront the epidemic were developed by scientists, but not specialists, that is, they dealt with technologies or fields, but no one knew about Covid-19 and some did not even work in the field of human health, Which also applies to Asmar, for example, because of what he said “When you have the capabilities and there is the infrastructure, you can move forward.”
Therefore, the first step was to find out what abilities existed and to find ways to direct and strengthen them from expression. Taking advantage of the strengths of the Ctci ecosystem and the overall region is a recipe for overcoming weaknesses and problems. Because yes, he asserts, there have been and will be challenges and complications, due to the pandemic and beyond in the future with climate change, drought, water scarcity or earthquakes generating disaster risk. And there will always be the challenge of making regional and national progress, in keeping with the times: sustainable development.
Paulina Asman regrets that although the pandemic has generated greater openness and appreciation because of all that has been done at the local level, “There is a little love for what is ours, for the science that is done in Chile and in the region, and we believe more in what the Harvard world can tell us.”
Improving self-esteem is a critical challenge for Increase funding. Something goes back to the state, but SEREMI highlights that in Chile and especially the macro area also for the company, so that it works more clearly with the Academy and it is also important that there are more companies, of all sizes, that integrate scientists into their ranks to advance research, development and innovation. In this sense, it stands out “It is also important to increase efficiency in the use of existing resources.”
Maintaining connections and expression, not stopping to work towards it, is another challenge faced by Asman, who also states that “what is Cooperation to achieve common goals is maintained beyond urgent need “: Not only for the existence of a pandemic or disaster there must be strong alliances, but also for long-term action or with an emphasis on preparedness, prevention of risks and anticipation of solutions.
In addition, consider it “Weak legislation in another country: the Chilean legal system is not for innovation” We hope so The new constitution stipulates the role of science in contributing to the welfare of society, so that many obstacles are removed.
In all of the above, Paulina Asman and her Ctci portfolio are on the agenda “Two Important Concepts of Inclusive and Sustainable Regional Development in the Greater South-Central Region: Empowerment Bottom Line and Base Camp”.
The first, he explains, is that In every region there must be some science and have the infrastructure to develop and strengthen it. It is not a big problem for the Biobío region because of its position as a pole of development, the amount of critical mass and industries that exist, but for others where there is a lack of human or technical capabilities.
Base camp The idea comes from the sport of climbing, where Camps are held in higher areas of the mountain so climbers do not start their adventure from scratch. This is a must To apply to innovations and undertakings based on science and technology existing in the area to strengthen it and eliminate the conditions that play against it, wasting time or resources and thus motivation. Specifically, she points out that this can be achieved to remove some of the bureaucratic processes and obstacles involved in the procedure for accessing financing or testing prototypes so that they can actually be scaled up and marketed as products, so that they do not start from scratch and can do so in the more advanced stages, and access To summit Everest faster: success.