From May 8th until May 10th, co-organised by the CNRS office in Rio, the Chilean academic partners and the French embassy, the first Latin-American CNRS network meeting took place in Santiago of Chile as part of the 80th CNRS’s birthday.
The aim was to gather the main actors of the CNRS cooperation in South-America but also to reinforce the collaborations with the South-American institutions. On that occasion, a CNRS delegation attended the event to better know the South-American CNRS network and to sign the renewal agreements for two UMI (International Mixt Unit) and one LIA (Joint International Laboratory). This delegation was composed by: Alain Schuhl, Chief Research Officer, Patrick Nédellec, director of the CNRS European Research and International Cooperation Department, Jean Thèves, Deputy Director for the Americas & Australia, Antonia Alcaraz, Responsible for cooperation in South-America. Guy Perrin, DAS INSU and Martine Hossaert, DAS INEE, respectively head of the two UMI renewed at this occasion, were also present.
The first institutional day of May 8th took place at the splendid former Chilean Congress hall where 3 conferences opened to the public addressed several topics: observational astronomy, climate sciences, water, biodiversity and data sciences.
An official ceremony was held in the afternoon and was inaugurated by Alain Schuhl, Chief Research Officer CNRS, Roland Dubertrand, French ambassador in Chile, Ennio Vivaldi Véjar, Rector of the University of Chile (UChile) and Ignacio Sánchez Díaz, Rector of the Catholic University of Chile (PUC). The renewal agreements of the Unité Mixte Internationale (UMI) EBEA (Evolutionary Biology and Ecology of Algae), the UMI LFCA (Franco-chilean laboratory for astronomy) and the Laboratoire International Associé (LIA) ANDES (Translation of hanta viruses defining a therapeutic target) have been assigned with the PUC and UChile rectors.
 The conferences were provided by Guy Perrin (Scientific Deputy Director CNRS/INSU), Mónica Rubio (Full professor at the University of Chile), Hervé Le Treut (Director of the Pierre et Simon Laplace Institute), Thierry Pérez (Director of research CNRS), Michelle Klautau (Full Professor at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro), Servet Martínez (Scholar at the CMM, University of Chili) and Nayat Sanchez-Pi (Director of the INRIA Chile).
The day ended by three presentations. The first one was given by Rafael Correa, Rector of the O’Higgins University who talked about the franco-chilean relations history. Then Patrick Nédellec, Director of the CNRS European Research and International Cooperation Department presented the CNRS’s international activities and the new CNRS’s tools for international cooperation. To conclude, a more general presentation about archaeology in the Atacama Desert was given by par Lautaro Nuñez, full professor at the Catholic University of the North (UCN). Furthermore, Alain Schuhl met the new Science Technology & Innovation Minister, Andrés Couve, and could talk about the next COP25 organised by Chile at the end of the year.
The 9th and 10th of May were devoted to round tables. They took place at the Catholic University of Chile (PUC) and at the University of Chile (UChile). About twenty scholars and professionals presented some of their work during five round tables, each one focusing on a particular theme. The five themes debated during the round tables were, for the first one, the challenges of scientific diffusion, for the second one, the challenges linked to the data sciences and the third one on May 9 tackled the thematic of “Climate – Water – Biodiversity”.
The two last themes were presented on May 10, firstly about the data and climate interdisciplinary sciences and then about interaction between public and private research.
To close the event, the actors responsible for the UMI and LIA in South-America gathered in order to better know each other and to exchange ideas on their projects. Several challenges of the CNRS in South-America have been highlighted: increasing the CNRS visibility in the region, reinforcing the network proximity and improving the relations with the institutional authorities. One of the lever of action would be to consider the creation of a more formal CNRS network in South-America.
This first meeting showed the interest to tackle the cooperation in a regional approach.
UMI and LIA PIs in South-America exchanging ideas at the University of Chile
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