Sustainable exploitation of natural resources, social transformations in contemporary society, diseases which impact Health Systems and policies to encourage innovation, were the main challenges examined by the 10 work tables made up by more than 200 Chilean and Swedish academics. Next 2019 Forum in Uppsala, activities will be focused on developing multidisciplinary research, publishing indexed together articles and creating academic and student mobility programmes, among others.
Ranked as the biggest binational scientific event of the year, 2018 Chile-Sweden forum gathered more than 200 researchers and 20 institutions from both countries, establishing itself as an academic collaboration platform which will drive joint studies in relevant areas and exchange programmes between international peers, with the purpose of contributing to solve global issues from a multidisciplinary perspective.
Regarding the accession of new institutions to this second edition of the event, the Director of the University of Chile Internationalisation Project, Andreé Henríquez, stated that ‘…this shows the ACCESS effort, as we went from gathering 50 academics in 2017 to more than 200 this year, alongside the addition of 16 universities. The experience has been really positive, as there is more connection
and deeper analysis concerning the debated topics, since the professionals in different areas are driving joint research which will allow a long-term work. The idea is that the experience goes beyond the Forums, and becomes a permanent activity between Chile and Sweden’.
Following the same approach, Uppsala University International Office Coordinator, Gabriela Hinchcliffe, made a positive account regarding this year’s event. ‘Unlike former meetings, this instance has been an opportunity to compare experiences in the professional and social areas from a much closer relationship among the academic researchers. For 2019, we have two important challenges: finding a way to keep reinforcing this relationship throughout the year in concrete activities, and, secondly, incorporating more young researchers, like Magister and PhD students’, she remarked.
Facing global issues from a local perspective
Ten work tables were held throughout the week in different University of Chile and Catholic University locations. On these working sessions, researchers discussed issues related to Cancer Treatment, Aging, Contemporary Migrations, Art, Culture and Politics, Green Economy and evidence based on innovation, among other subjects.
University of Chile Science Faculty academic, and Director of ‘Geroscience’, Mental Health and Metabolism (Gero Chile), Christián González, was one of the leaders of the work table focused on Aging. ‘This is a complex problem that needs to be tackled in a multidisciplinary way and we must develop a much greater critical mass of researchers, with the aim of consolidating an integral vision. In the next 3 to 5 months we will incorporate a bigger number of researchers from different areas in order to develop a schedule which allows us to face next year with concrete research proposals’, he pointed out.
During the discussion sessions, 11 academics from both countries identified a significant step forward in epidemiology studies, consequently, they will create a data base which incorporates associated professionals, who will exchange experiences in order to identify similarities and differences.
Likewise, they will strengthen research associated to neurodegenerative disease, like Parkinson, and will link memory clinics which may help to define better practices for dementia treatment, being Lund and Gothenberg universities the best positioned in this field.
Regarding short term projected activities, the team will apply to bilateral grants for researchers and students exchange programmes; they will also carry out a formal connection between aging centres in both countries, like Gero Chile and AgeCap from Gothenburg University. Besides, they will be presenting recent academic collaboration results in seminars, workshops, talks and posters, among others, during the meeting scheduled for 2019.
Human Geography professor, and one of the Directors of Uppsala University Multidisciplinary Study Centre for Racism, Irene Molina, represented contemporary migrations work table of the event. The group, composed of 25 professionals will explore inclusion and exclusion processes operating in both countries before the migration phenomenon, evaluating the State role in political transitions, together with its responsibility in the migrant integration.
‘The work will focus on racism issues which affect migrant populations in global terms, from the perspective of the most recurrent phenomena in Chile and their occurrence in Sweden. It is a very important subject, because it is related to human rights and respect for life, which leads us to generate new knowledge and to contribute to public policies about border control, refugees reception and immigration regulation, so that people’s basic principles can be respected’ said the researcher.
In 2017, the team got funding to develop a pilot project on black women narratives, and in the following months they will do the same with joint applications for funding, besides collaborative publications, and academic and student mobility programmes, among other visibility activities.
Innovation and Ecology
Sweden and Chilean ecosystem understanding from the dimensions of the entrepreneur researcher, the investor, the university and the public policies design, was dealt with at the Innovation table based on evidence, with the participation of Catholic University Engineering Faculty professor Michael Leatherbee.
The academic stressed that ‘it’s interesting to see both countries different experiences and how they can be complemented. The working sessions led us to generate general guidelines to trade research and innovation projects, which, we hope, can be reinforced and replicated in other countries searching for the same as us’.
The experts presented a study case about research collaboration and innovation commercialization, which will implement interdisciplinary human capital training programmes for undergraduate and graduate students, with the purpose of developing technology from science. Besides, a governance structure will be created to allow universities to meet and commercialise the generated research, together with boosting innovation projects. Therefore, the action plan will consider the creation of Magister and PhD with double qualification and undergraduate student exchange programmes in technological entrepreneurship.
Lund University Law Department researcher, Joanna Cornelius, was part of the discussion about the link between water, earth and energy, regarding agriculture, forestry (or silviculture) and mining as key areas for both countries. The work team defined the governmental institutions, private corporations, students and civil society representatives as stakeholders
‘When taking decisions about environment related policies, the participation of researchers is highly important. I became part of this work table to complement the perspective on environmental law, since in Sweden work is being done to open up the discussion about the way processes are carried out and their impact on social order. In this respect, more law specialists are needed in order to increase transparency of the experiences, and to figure out the way political treaties are evolving around different regions of the world.’
About scheduled activities for the next months, they were divided into short-term and long-term activities. Among these, it is important to highlight the international summer courses planning for Magister students, seminars where common and differentiated challenges are discussed; applying research projects to grants from Conicyt and the Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education (STINT); and publishing indexed scientific articles.
Further information in accesschilesweden.com