The nation’s scientific community is deeply concerned, and rightly so, about the potential approval of the Humanities, Science, Technology, and Innovation General Law proposal that the federal executive has submitted to Congress. The proposal prepared by Conacyt contains elements that could seriously affect the development of science and technology in Mexico. Of course, the bill contains chiaroscuro, but the negative aspects are so great that they overshadow the benefits that said law may bring and could be the final blow to the science and technology sector that has been hit hard by budget cuts and the destruction of its resources. collective decision-making bodies.
One of the aspects of greatest concern to state scholars is the intention to be seen as reliable agents. Claiming that academics and scientists who work in public research centers or researchers in Mexico are trusted employees contravenes the Political Constitution of the United Mexican States and federal labor law. In addition to the above, it harms the labor rights enjoyed by workers and affects their working conditions. There is no other reason to explain this claim than to seek greater control over the academic community.
The bill also does not consider the investigators of Mexico. Through this programme, more than 1,300 young scientists are doing science at the highest level. The program has made it possible to rejuvenate aging faculty, incorporate new research methodologies, take science across the country, and reduce the gender gap in the scientific community. None of this was taken into account in the proposal to Congress.
Another very worrying aspect is the cancellation of the commitment to allocate 1% of GDP to science and technology. Although it was never fulfilled, it was a reference that protected the few resources allocated to the sector. Today, budget cuts have public institutions devoted to science under precarious conditions. Removing the commitment to dedicate 1% of GDP to science and technology will move us further from the rest of the OECD in this regard.
The bill also provides for more control of public research centers by the federal executive. These will move from being academic institutions where academic and research freedom prevails and autonomy is enjoyed, to becoming a kind of consultancy in the service of federal agencies. Of course, it is important to practice science that is useful to the country, but it is not the only science that needs to be done and it is never a good idea for an authority to control the research agenda in a country.
It is likely that the proposed General Law on the Humanities, Technology and Innovation will pass. Morena has the majority to approve it. We hope that the convening of the Open Parliament will be a real dialogue that allows for improvements to the initiative and not just a simulation. Other than that, the outlook for science and technology in Mexico is very dark.
Dr. Jose Andres Sumano Rodriguez
Northern Frontier College Matamoros
* The opinions expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author. It does not represent a position for El Colegio de la Frontera Norte