Science, technology and innovation have played a proven key role in countries’
growth and development strategies; in the context of the coronavirus disease
(COVID-19) pandemic, their importance has become even clearer. The
inadequate scientific-technological situation of the countries of Latin America
and the Caribbean and their inability to respond to production demands in the
field of medicine have made it necessary to rethink the region’s innovation
systems, their components and institutional framework, and the link between their
key actors. However, it is not a question of strengthening technologicalproductive
systems as they were previously conceived. Today, consideration must
be given to both the importance of scientific and technological capabilities and
to the development of more cross-cutting systems in which innovation and
entrepreneurship form the basis of more resilient, inclusive and sustainable
economies and societies.
The panel will review some of the main strengths and weaknesses of innovation
systems in Latin American and Caribbean countries and discuss the possibilities
of creating spaces for convergence and joint action, to build regional productive
and technological systems around strategic sectors. It is hoped that these
activities will contribute to a transformative recovery and lay the foundations for
a new pattern of development in the region.
Brain drain has historically been a problem for Latin America and the
Caribbean, with professionals moving to developed countries or other nations in
the same region. It occurs among professional who trained in their countries of
origin and among students who, after specialized studies in a foreign country,
decide to stay abroad because the job opportunities and potential for academic
and professional growth are better. In response, countries have adopted various
strategies to retain highly skilled professionals or attract them back, and have
deployed networks to link researchers from the region living abroad with their
peers in countries of origin.
This panel will discuss the potential of highly trained human capital residing
abroad and how these people can enrich the scientific and technological assets
of their countries of origin and of the region as a whole. An effort will also be
made, on the basis of some national initiatives, to identify areas for collaboration
–especially through exchanges and mobility of scientists and researchers— that
would enable the countries and the region to strengthen their capacity to respond
to the disruptive changes that are affecting the world.
The genetic heritage of a person or a population not only reveals their origins, but
is also fundamental to understanding attributes such as vulnerability to diseases
and clinical symptoms, responsiveness to treatments, and susceptibility to adverse
effects of treatments. There are different initiatives around the world that collect
genetic and lifestyle information from the population to contribute to the
formulation of public health policies, support biomedical and genome research
projects, and determine strategies to prevent and treat different pathologies.
This panel will examine the progress made by Latin American and Caribbean
countries in population-based medical genomic research, especially with regard
to establishing biobanks and formulating research and development strategies
for precision medicine.