by Dr Fabiola León-Velarde, President of CONCYTEC
The Newton-Paulet Fund is based on the principle of mutual cooperation. Collaborating on science, technology and innovation (STI) through the fund has strengthened the relationship between the UK and Peru and supported the development of Peru’s STI ecosystem.
Since its launch in 2017, the Newton-Paulet Fund has developed research capacity on the ground but it has also contributed to our own learning within the National Council of Science, Technology and Technological Innovation (CONCYTEC). Working in partnership with world-class institutions such as the British Council, the Medical Research Council, the National Environment Research Council and the Royal Academy of Engineering is undoubtedly helping us to promote sustainable development.
From investigating the impact of glacial melt in the Andes to understanding how humans are influencing Latin America's diverse forest ecosystems, Peruvian academics are working closely with researchers in the UK and around the world to find solutions to some of the most important and complex global challenges.
But excellent research and innovation can only happen if we create the right conditions. The CONCYTEC-British Council Professional Development and Engagement (PDE) programme is supporting the STI ecosystem in Peru by responding to the specific development needs of Peru’s innovation policymakers and institutions. In 2018 I visited the UK alongside policymakers and managers from the Ministry of Economics and Finance, Ministry of Production, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Health, Chamber of Commerce and Congress to identify and learn from key drivers of STI success in the UK and consider how they could be applied back in Peru, based on our country priorities.
After the UK visit, a workshop brought together regional ministries and actors from across the innovation ecosystem. The workshop identified three critical success factors to implementing effective STI governance: 1) the leadership and vision of the authorities, 2) the identification of priority objectives established by mutual agreement and 3) the strategic alliance of private companies, regional governments, universities and organisations of the civil society.
The PDE programme has helped our regional governments think about how to use STI as a tool to promote sustainable development and improve quality of life. And it happened at just the right time – as we launch Peru’s National Plan in Competitiveness and Productivity. The lessons from the PDE programme will be invaluable in helping us to implement this plan, strengthening our STI governance and aligning our public institutions around a common goal.
CONCYTEC is benefiting from the UK’s STI expertise, but both countries ultimately benefit from the exchange of knowledge, resources and ideas. The challenges facing people and countries around the world can only be solved by working together and creating opportunities to learn from each other through joint initiatives like the Newton-Paulet Fund.
Dr Fabiola León-Velarde Servetto is President of the National Council of Science, Technology and Technological Innovation (CONCYTEC) in Peru. Fabiola is a Peruvian physiologist who has devoted her research to the biology and physiology of high altitude adaptation. CONCYTEC is the main Peruvian funding partner in the Newton-Paulet Fund.