Tuesday, March 21, 2023
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Innovation: key to Cuba´s scientific development


Innovation: key to Cuba´s scientific development

Havana (Prensa Latina) Innovation will be the central axis of Cuba´s strategy for scientific development in 2023, but its success will depend on its conscientious application in priority issues such as food production, energy and renewable sources.

The integral transformation of this sector in 2022 is well-known, and its most concrete expression is the government management system based on science and innovation, a work method that will continue its course this year.

Recently, Elba Rosa Perez, Minister of Science, Technology and Environment (Citma), referred to the need of conscious use of science to solve the problems facing the nation.

She believes much work needs to be done in several directions for the country to move forward; for example, the acceleration of the transformation program of 24 percent of the national energy matrix should be assumed as a commitment.

Likewise, greater use of science in issues related to industry and demographic dynamics, based on the aging process and strategies to address it.

At the same time, she stressed that attention should be paid both to the subject of rurality, with proposals to the government for its reevaluation and attention, and to the Cuban strategy on the circular economy.

Regarding the second stage of the Life Task, State Plan to confront climate change, Perez recalled that the first phase concluded in 2022, and that the second phase, which should conclude in 2030, is now being carried out, while the third will extend until 2050 and. from then on, the fourth would continue.

“We up-date the research related to that Plan every year, because the effects of climate change are increasingly noticeable and ours is a small island state, which also suffers the impacts of that reality and requires developing adaptation actions in all spheres of development”, the minister said.

The actions of the Life Task should be related to the three global environmental crises that exist today in the country: climate change, pollution and biodiversity, since they require deeper research into how issues related to their effects and the reduction of their impacts should continue to be addressed through de State Plan.

In that effort, which presupposes the development of more science, Citma will reinforce its support of public policies and decision-making, attention to human resources dedicated to research, and the strengthening of the dynamic structures of science, technology and innovation entities, which include technological parks.

It is not a matter of increasing the number of dynamic structures, but rather of their adaptation to improve the work of science, achieve the closure of cycles, and be able to establish its patents and publication of research results.

“Everything must impact nationally and internationally”, said the minister. Perez highlighted the participation of social and humanistic sciences in the nation´s development, since every subject requires a social approach, always adjusting to the characteristics of each territory. She also gave great importance to investments aimed at strengthening science and innovation management systems with priority in the business sector.

So that, through financial actions, the Cuban state socialist enterprises advance further in their contribution to society. And more specifically to the national economy as a result of the effective use of science and innovation.

The scientific subsidiaries in Cuba

On the subject of scientific subsidiaries in Cuba, deputy minister of Citma, Armado Rodriguez, stressed the importance of these to solve problems that the provinces present today

“When it comes to science and innovation, no one province is more important than any other one, and Sancti Spiritus is a model example of development in that field in Cuba”, Rodriguez said.

We know that most of the science sector is located in Havana and, although Sancti Spiritus is not where most of the research centers are, its government and our ministry delegation their demonstrated ability to work to find solutions to some problems, he added.

It is important to have a good science entity, but also to have a subsidiary, such as this one of the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB), which was able to impact in the innovation system.

Universities and other actors participate in the CIGB projects in Sancti Spiritus, but the most important thing is their influence throughout that province, something, he said, is very positive.

There is a clear vision of how much science and innovation can cover, do and develop, hence the advancement of local programs, which are incentives for the community, scientists and students.

To talk about science in Cuba today is not how it was done during decades, when it was only referred to academia; now it includes innovation, social transformation and the government´s management system, he said.

To delve deeper into this, Citma delegate in Sancti Spiritus, Leonel Diaz, stressed the advances exhibited today by the CIGB branch in that territory.

Diaz stated that 36 new hybridomas secreting monoclonal antibodies against 12 different antigens were obtained for application in research and development of strategic CIGB projects and those of other groups of the state-owned company BioCubaFarma.

They also achieved a battery of anti-TT-PO monoclonal antibodies and the subsequent development of a Sandwish ELISA-type analytical system for the quantification of the active ingredient of the Sea lice vaccine during the production process of the TT-PO-Ls protein.

So, he added, one of the requirements in the negotiation with French company VIRBAC can be satisfied. Another novelty, Diaz highlighted, was obtaining a secretory hybridoma of an anti-poly-histidine monoclonal antibody similar to those marketed by Sigma, which will substitute the importation of this reagent, which is widely used in research and development of new products.

The CIGB installation in Sancti Spiritus, about 355 kilometers from Havana, had a high point in the delivery of the Taq Pol and RT enzymes used for the elaboration of PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests.

He described what was done in terms of rice cultivation as important and mentioned the new use of drones south of Jibaro, municipality of La Sierpe, a technology that speeds up processes and reduces expenses.

He also pointed out the actions against pests or those used to avoid water stress of plants due to high temperatures and prolonged droughts.

*The author is a reporter for Prensa Latina´s Science and Technology Department.


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