Octavio Llinas: Canary Science Law. New attempt

During her appearance in the Canary Islands Parliament, the Minister of Universities, Science, Innovation and Culture of the Canary Islands Government, Ms. Migdalia Martin, presented the Government's position comprehensively, indicating that it considers the commitment to research, Development and Innovation (R+D+i) in the Canary Islands, as well as facilitating the transfer of knowledge to the productive sector in order to promote innovation in all economic fields and enhance wealth.

He added a set of information on actions of a different nature and objectives, citing as a reference figure the increase in budget allocations of the Canary Islands Agency for Research, Innovation and Information Society (ACIISI) by more than 30% in the 2024 budget. With regard to 2023, he pointed out that this commitment to innovation will lead to Approval of the new Canary Islands Science Law, which will replace the Law for the Promotion and Development of Scientific Research and Innovation issued on June 9, 2001, indicating that: It is urgent to renew and update this text, which is nearly 25 years old, to adapt its policies to the current reality of a sector that is considered essential for economic diversification. And create good job opportunities. Ensure that: The Science and Innovation Charter remains an essential framework to guide this process and ensure that science and innovation contribute to the sustainable development and well-being of the Canary Islands.

This statement and the validity of the “Science and Innovation Charter” (created and developed by the previous government), allows us to link this news to what happened in this scientific field in the last legislator.

It is not surprising to find that almost four years ago, on June 11, 2020, the then competent Chancellor: Ms. Elena Manez, Head of the Ministry of Economy, Knowledge and Employment, in the midst of the context of the CV19 pandemic, as part of the strategy to exit the deep crisis associated with it and with criteria Similar to the one used in the current proposal, he declared that we would have a new Science and Innovation Act that clearly does not exist, so the need for it remains (increased by four years).

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In both cases, a common approach is shared between policy makers and their strategic teams (which is no less wrong because it is repetitive), such as a direct link between the state of the (in this case autonomous) RDI system and the quality of the system. The legal framework that supports it. It is clear that the better the legal framework of reference, the better it can be managed, although what is really crucial for the development and promotion of this activity are the allocated budgets and the presence of a well-defined strategy, adapted to each of them. Socio-economic context, structural and personal characteristics and capabilities.

What is certain is that: the Canary Islands Science Act of 2001 was prepared for practically the same reasons and needs as the proposals of 2020 and the latter of 2024. The objective reality is that before and after the Act of 2001 and up to the present time, the Canary Science, Technology and Innovation System has permanently occupied a firm position among Spanish communities with the worst RDI index data.

Given that Spain as a whole is located in the European region in a situation characterized by objectively low benchmark data, the result is that the reality of the Canary Islands can be defined in absolute terms as very bad, which is still consistent (most likely being part of the result) of the situation Canary Islands society in its general benchmarks, in particular indicators of poverty, the highest risk of social exclusion and a per capita income that is among the lowest in the country.

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It is clear that the situation was bad before and after the 2001 law, and legislative change will most likely not be able to solve this situation, the analysis of its objective causes, as well as in what is related to it, are completely identical. A system for research, development and innovation closer to European standards would be a useful tool for promoting social well-being in the Canary Islands.

The problem is not easy to solve and cannot be addressed by trying to imitate standardized solutions. The first pillar on which the attempt to strengthen the system must be based is on adding more resources that must be included in public budgets, because they must serve: revitalizing the public sector itself; Encouraging the private sector; Direct access to universities for training and development in the field of research, development and innovation (the central basis of the system in the Canary Islands) and to the rest of the public bodies concerned.

Objectively speaking, it is impossible (and certainly undesirable) in a society with the social reality indicated by the above-mentioned indicators to compete for economic resources in a budget that is unbalanced with urgent and undeferable social needs.

In this case, the only possible path must be developed through very careful prioritization of the allocation of scarce resources that: allow the maximization of areas, fields and topics of research and development that are most compatible with the reality and needs of the autonomous community; Objective efficiency in each case and the activation of private R&D and innovation, without which effectiveness is impossible, must contribute to competition and attract external resources from the rest of the country and the EU.

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It must be assumed that this approach means that there will be “apparent imbalances” between scientific, technical and applied fields that will be paid attention to (very) differently, generating tensions, criticisms and demands for responsibilities on decision-makers. This is undoubtedly a difficult matter, as it is known at the beginning that not all elections will be valid, and success will be measured by the extent to which the percentage of these successes is high and justifies all.

For the overall effective development of the Canary Islands STI system, clear, qualified and strong agreements between administrators, promoters and agents of the system themselves are required.

With regard to agreements of this kind (which are equally necessary in other fields), Canary Islands society has little culture and experience that can serve as a reference for arriving at them (perhaps because of the very nature of science, those that can be reached in can be This area is an extended example).

The historical reality is the application of a well-known and widely used methodology (with a completely proven level of ineffectiveness), based on the principle: “coffee for everyone” and since coffee is scarce, it is not enough to reach reasonable, comparable levels. To the necessary standards which are the origin and basis of the deplorable state of the research, development and innovation system in the Canary Islands.

The challenge is not easy, and it is clear that a new science law is necessary. It must help advance in this direction and, moreover, form the basis for making broader agreements possible than those usually reached by temporary parliamentary majorities. These agreements are what distinguish stable regimes, regions and countries, able to move forward efficiently and safely.

Myrtle Frost

"Reader. Evil problem solver. Typical analyst. Unapologetic internet ninja."

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