Strengthening the regional science, technology, and innovation system in Central America
Countries in Central America who are members of the Sistema de la Integracion Centroamericana (SICA) continue to experience significant challenges in developing and implementing policies for science, technology, and innovation (STI), in addition to coordinating efforts in this sector to address issues of national and regional importance. In recent years there have been several efforts at the national and regional levels to support science — including extensive mapping of STI in Guatemala in collaboration with UNESCO, bilateral collaborations with the European Union, and coordination efforts at the regional level — but important gaps remain. These gaps were discussed at an IDRC-sponsored workshop in May 2019 in Panama, where a roadmap and other activities to help advance STI in Central America were proposed.
To start work on this roadmap and to develop previous capacity-building efforts, this project brings a consortium of key regional actors together, led by SICA, to work with science granting councils (or equivalent agencies) in member countries. The project will focus on strengthening the regional research system through a competitive call for seed funding and mobility in areas of regional priority; developing a long-term vision for inclusive STI in the region; supporting capacity building and reducing structural barriers to collaboration within the Commission for Science and Technology Development in Central America and Panama and in the region; and increasing the capacity of researchers to inform evidence-based public policies at the national and regional levels.
This project aims to be a critical first step in catalyzing the efforts of national and regional bodies in support of science in Central America, and in demonstrating the value of these investments to governments, multilateral bodies, funders, and other key stakeholders in the region from the public, private, and non-profit sectors. The project has been adapted to account for and to contribute to addressing the COVID-19 situation in the region.