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federalize science, currently concentrated in the central provinces of the country, is one of the objectives of the Minister of Science and Technology, Daniel Filmus. For this reason he announced the investment of more than 300 million pesos in infrastructure and equipment to develop scientific research in Jujuy. They are for two key centers in the development of the regional economy: the Lithium Institute (CidmeJu) and the Institute of Dating and Archaeometry (Indya), both constituted by the Conicet and the National University of Jujuy.

The choice of institutes is not random. The Center for Research and Development in Advanced Materials and Energy Storage of Jujuy (CidmeJu), better known as the Lithium Institute, is the main institution linked to the study and development of this mineral in the province of Jujuy. Since 2015, it has been devoted to the study of alternative extraction methods to achieve greater efficiency in time and use of materials of one of the most valued minerals worldwide.

The Indya is dedicated to preserving and enhancing the historical heritage of a province with an important archaeological heritage, among which a part of the well-known “Inca Trail” stands out, which can be attractive to both the scientific community and the public. usually.

federalize science

One of the minister’s most shocking diagnoses is that science and technology is one of the most unequal areas in Argentina. Accompanied by PageI12 In a tour of the property where both institutes operate today and before the Altos Hornos Zapla factory -the first steel center in the country and the heart of the economic development of the town of Palpalá, in Jujuy- (see separate note), Daniel Filmus focused in this point.

“The 85 percent of Science and Technology is concentrated in four jurisdictions, which are Córdoba, Santa Fe, Greater Buenos Aires and the City of Buenos Aires. Except for a few exceptions, such as Bariloche, the rest of the country hardly has significant scientific and technological development,” he said. “We need to change the productive matrix of Argentina and, for this, we must add value to raw materials in the places where they are produced. , incorporating Science, Technology and Innovation. That is the way to generate wealth, greater skills and quality jobs for Argentines,” added the official.

The Ministry’s challenge is twofold: to consolidate investment in Science and Technology for the country’s development while deconcentrating it from the metropolitan and central areas. To achieve this, the minister relies on the Financing Law of the National System of Science, Technology and Innovation sanctioned in 2021 that plans to progressively increase investment in S&T with respect to GDP.

By 2015, Argentina invested 0.37 percent of its GDP in S&T. Macri lowered it to 0.24 percent and in 2021 it increased to 0.28 percent. The law plans to reach a little over 1 percent by 2032, “a level of investment similar to that of the central countries,” says Filmus.

The law also establishes that 20 percent of this annual increase must be allocated to a science federalization fund. The 2022 budget project that was not approved by Congress included about 20,000 million pesos for this objective. “This will allow each province and each region to present projects related to the strategic issues of those territories and that they can be developed with financing in infrastructure, equipment and those aspects that make it possible for researchers to settle in the provinces,” the minister summarized. .

Add value

“Growth is not the same as development and progress. There is a growth model based exclusively on the extraction of natural resources without adding value, from which we must detach,” he says. Another of the axes is placed in that science contributes to the generation of value and the case of lithium is an example of this.

Today the country exports around 33,000 million tons of lithium carbonate, which is the primary concentrate of the product after a first transformation of the brine extracted in the salt flats. However, there are other ways to add value to the primary product through technological development and go beyond the production of lithium carbonate: from the extraction of other valuable minerals in brine to the production of cells for cell phone or car batteries. electrical.

The closest experience is the one that carries forward YPF Technologythe research and development company for the energy industry that today is chaired by the former Minister of Science, Roberto Salvarezza, also present at the visit.

The work of the plant will be focused on incorporating technology for the design and manufacture of lithium cells and batteries to meet specific demands of the State and the productive sector, the training of qualified human resources in the field, and the production of knowledge.

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