Informacion economica sobre Cuba

Cuba gets leaner science structure to boost impact

Scientific institutions reduced from 232 to 200 after a reshuffle of STI
system
The plan also means those receiving state funding dropped from 97.5% to 60%
Other sources are to make up their budget, such as commercialising products

A reshuffle of the science system in Cuba reduced the number of science,
technology and innovation (STI) institutions funded by the state.

This reorganization, as Cuban authorities called it, aims for “a more
integral and economically sustainable management of STI”, according to
legislation that came into effect in August 2014.

Prior to the legislation, 97.5% of the 232 institutions operating at the
time were financed by the state; today, 60% of the 200 that are left
after the reorganisation have become “enterprises or units”, according
to information published by local press.

The changes are not only quantitative. As a result of this legislation,
science institutions are now classified as research centres,
scientific-technological service centres or development and innovation
units — and this has implications for the way each institution is managed.

“Any impact from the results of scientific research requires time,
typically years, to be reflected in improvements in the well-being of
the population. This is the case even for the results of relatively
small R&D projects.”

Emilio García Capote, Science Academy of Cuba For example, the 18
scientific-technological service centers should, according to the new
law, self-finance their work by commercialising all their products or
services.

The new scenario represents a challenge for the scientific community.
Emilio García Capote, member of the Science Academy of Cuba and an
expert in S&T policy, believes that “it is not possible to sustain, from
the budget of the state, everything that until now was financed, except
social, clinical and fundamental research activities, many of which are
still to be defined”.

“The researchers of the institutions that will begin to self-finance
will try to face the situation realistically,” he said. “It is new to
most of them.”

Several documents distributed by the Cuban Ministry of Science,
Technology and Environment (CITMA) between 1998 and 2015 showed weak R&D
interaction between universities and enterprises. They also showed
insufficient demand by the business sector for science, according to an
article published in the magazine Congreso Universidad, edited by the
Ministry of Higher Education in Cuba.

According to local press, Elba Rosa Pérez, minister of CITMA, said that
this change in legislation aims to direct “the [country’s] scientific
potential towards the real needs of the country”.

The impact of the changes on society may not be immediate, Capote warns.
“Any impact from the results of scientific research requires time,
typically years, to be reflected in improvements in the well-being of
the population. This is the case even for the results of relatively
small R&D projects”.

This piece was produced by SciDev.Net’s Latin America and the Caribbean desk

Source: Cuba gets leaner science structure to boost impact – SciDev.Net

www.scidev.net/global/funding/news/cuba-leaner-science-structure-impact.html


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