Jean Lebel, presidente de IDRC (Canada’s International Development Research Centre), estuvo en Chile participando en el primer Foro Global de Consejos de Innovación.

El 22 y 23 de octubre se reunieron en Chile los máximos representantes de Consejos de Innovación de varios países para intercambiar experiencias y acordar iniciativas conjuntas.

El evento fue el lanzamiento oficial del Foro Global de Consejos de Innovación, una red de colaboración mutua entre instituciones pares que en sus respectivos países recomiendan políticas públicas para desarrollar la ciencia, la tecnología y la innovación.Este Foro fue organizado por el Consejo de Innovación de Canadá (STIC) y el Consejo Nacional de Innovación para el Desarrollo (CNID), con el apoyo del Centro Internacional de Investigación para el Desarrollo de Canadá (CIID).

En este contexto Jean Lebel, presidente de (CIID), nos dio la siguiente entrevista.

¿Why are you here?
There is a long relationship between Chile and Canada and with IDRC in particular. Our center supports research in developing countries and in middle income countries, in order to improve life of the population. Over the last 45 years we have had many successes here. Alejandro Foxley was the co-founder of Cieplan and this is a perfect example. We supported research and then he became a minister, now he is back into research, so we are starting again our collaboration. 

¿What is the importance of this meeting?
This meeting is related to one thing we do at IDRC. We are working with knowledge, innovation and solutions in order to improve the world. We help to scale innovation that arrives from research. We work with leadership of today and of tomorrow and we are supporting both, in the substance and the financial side in order to achieve greater impact. So we are supporting research made by advisory councils. We know that the science, technology, innovation advisory councils are providing key advice to leadership. So the aim is to learn from each other, taking the better of one place and try to apply it in another place. Then it is for leadership to make decisions. Leadership will make better decisions if they are better informed. 

¿What should be the priorities in Latin America regarding innovation?
We don´t have an answer. The Latin-American people should have this conversation and decide the key issues. For example, in the economic side, the TPP (Transpacific-Pacific Partnership) has been approved. This will change the way we do our trade. The point is how can we coup with the impact, both positive and potentially negative. We can only do it through a good research design. Climate change will be debated in Paris in December. Countries like Chile have been impacted. Look, for example the effects of El Niño. We can’t just close our eyes. We do need research to know how we can adapt to it.

Talking about innovation coming from the private sector, not everyone is willing to share the knowledge…
A good private company will make investment in the R&D sector and will develop his capacity to have an impact in the market and that’s ok to me. But the key thing is to find areas where we can have true collaboration. In IDRC we are supporting research in Colombia with coffee growing, for example. We are supporting two universities that are looking at new ways of doing coffee production. At the same time we have a Canadian coffee company that is providing support to the farmers’ association. That’s private sector investment in a way that you are providing support and then you can work with those innovations. Here we have the global public good that is serving the farmers first but it is also helping the private sector to get better. We are working together whit a clear protocol and also a clear engagement that we have to make a change in the lives of other people.

¿What are the main challenges?
The first one is to pursue this dialogue in the near future. We need to choose one or two areas where global collaboration will make a difference and that’s a challenge. My perspective is that climate change and gender gap in science are very important. We are still suffering at the postgraduate level of a huge gender gap. A large number of PhDs are still dominated by male in many countries. How do we change this? How can we give advice to the leadership to change this? 

Has your advice been heard by leadership?
We help to build the platform, the research, and delivering the key notes. It is not for me to tell a country what to do. I am hopeful that science can make a difference. How do we use our best knowledge and practices to have an influence in policy actors and when it comes to a political level, there is population out there asking for answers.




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