Costa Rica and Germany Sign Scientific Cooperation Agreement

César A. Parral
The Max Planck Society of Germany ((MPG), the National Rectors’ Council (CONARE ) and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Telecommunications (MICITT), signed an agreement to strengthen scientific collaboration in joint research projects and research-based training.

El Convenio lo firmaron en Costa Rica el Dr. Luis Guillermo Carpio Malavasi, presidente del CONARE (seg. a la izq.) y el Dr. Marcelo Jenkins Coronas, ministro del MICITT (tercero de izq. a der.). Observan el Dr.  Fernando García Santamaría (primero a la izq.) y  el Dr. Federico Torres Carballo, director del Departamento de Investigación y Desarrollo del MICITT (der.)

The agreement arose as a result of the visit of a high-level delegation headed by the German Federal Minister of Education and Research, Dr. Johanna Wanka, who visited Costa Rica between February 10 and 11, 2016.

Then, from May 15 to 21, 2016, representatives and researchers from the Max Planck Society from Germany visited our country with the purpose of learning about science in Costa Rica. SEE NOTE.

For this, they held meetings with scientists and authorities from the University of Costa Rica (UCR), the Costa Rica Institute of Technology (ITCR), the National University (UNA) and the National High Technology Center (CeNAT).

The Agreement was made official on Friday, January 20, 2016 with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding by Doctors Marcelo Jenkins-Coronas, Minister of MICITT and Luis Guillermo Carpio-Malavasi, President of CONARE.

Previously, in December of last year, it had been signed in Germany by Doctors Martin Stratmann and Ludwing Kronthaler President and General Secretary of the Max Planck Society of Germany respectively.

Scientific Exchange

The Memorandum binds the parties to intensify the consultation and research visits designed to link the complementary research carried out at the Max Planck Institutes in Costa Rica and encourages the exchange of scientists with a focus on training Costa Rican scholars (doctorate and postdoctoral degree students) at the Max Planck Institutes and at the International Max Planck Research Schools (IMPRS).

In addition, joint seminars, workshops, exhibitions, outreach activities, and other scientific meetings will be organized, research projects of common interest will be promoted through the joint international calls for proposals and mutual benefit collaboration in science and technology will be expedited through the interaction between relevant institutions (Max Planck Institutes and universities and research centers in Costa Rica).

Strengthen Research

For Dr. Marcelo Jenkins-Coronas, Minister of Science, Technology and Telecommunications, this Agreement will contribute to the development of scientific research at the highest level in different lines of strategic research for the country. “We are partnering with one of the countries that invest the most in research worldwide,” he said.

“Germany is a country with a larger scientific community than our country, but ours, although it is small, has all the potential and knowledge to be one on one with Germany in certain strategic areas,” said Dr. Jenkins after signing the Agreement.

For his part, Dr. Fernando García-Santamaría, UCR Vice Rector for Research, who attended as guest, said that the Agreement allows establishing research relationships with a world power such as Germany, with a research group such as the Max Plank Society, constituted by more than 80 research centers devoted to basic research.

 “This Agreement gives us the possibility to get even closer to the high-level research that is being developed in the world and it will contribute to the scientific and technological development of the country,” said the Vice Rector.

Dr. García explained that one of the specific activities for the UCR “is that Max Planck researchers become advisors at our research centers and institutes, that evaluation processes are carried out, and that the Max Planck Advisory Committee is deemed as an external peer in our evaluation processes. That will allow us to raise the level of our research,” he said.

The Vice Rector said that at this time, UCR has five proposals to initiate the exchange of research. Recently two researchers from this House of Studies traveled to Germany to make a short visit to the Max Planck institutes, doctors Adrián Alberto Pinto-Tomas of the Research Center in Microscopic Structures (CIEMIC) and Mario Alberto Blanco-Coto, of the Lankester Botanical Garden Experimental Station (JBL).

"They will present their research proposals and from there, they will define the work plan for the following years. In addition, there are four more groups that are already defined and three additional groups on behalf of which we are negotiating future visits.

Max Planck Society

Currently, the Max Planck Society has 83 research institutes. It carries out basic research in the biomedical, chemical, physical and technological disciplines, as well as in social and human sciences.

It generates around 18 Nobel Prizes and 15,000 annual scientific publications, and also promotes and develops multiple innovative and pioneering research projects, thus providing the best conditions for responsible researchers in the search for answers to fundamental scientific and prospective questions.

For more information, contact Ana Isabel Gamboa, Adviser in External Funding at the Promotion Unit from UCR Vice-Rectory for Research, phone (506) 2511-5837 or email: ana.gamboa@ucr.ac.cr 

In May of last year, a delegation of the Max Planck Society visited the country to meet with researchers and university and government authorities, and also to visit centers and institutes of state universities.