REGIONAL COUNCILMEN LEARN ABOUT REGIONAL INNOVATION PROJECTS

AUTHORITIES OF OUR UNIVERSITY SHOWED SOME OF THE RESULTS AND IMPACTS ACHIEVED BY THE SEVEN FIC-R PROJECTS, WHICH ARE FUNDED BY THE REGIONAL GOVERNMENT.



March 17, 2016

Before members of the Regional Council of the Maule Region and the Regional Government, our University gave an account of the main results and impacts generated by the projects that are developed with funding from the Innovation Fund for Regional Competitiveness (FIC-R).

The activity was held in the Vice President for Undergraduates’ office at the Talca Campus and was presided over by the prorector of our Institution, Paul Villalobos. Also present were the Vice President for Innovation and Technology Transfer, Gonzalo Herrera; the director of Technology Transfer, Patricia Klein, among other executives of the Corporation.

Advances

In this instance, the progress achieved in the seven projects awarded to the Corporation in 2013 to contribute to the development of regional competitiveness was detailed.

The initiatives are running on several lines, as for example, two projects aimed at the agri-food sector, one to the forest area, two in the bee’s field, and a few with transversal axes oriented to the energy and to the management of water as a public resource for innovation.

Vice President Gonzalo Herrera talked about this institutional activity. “I have the impression that the regional councilmen were quite satisfied with what we are presenting, despite the fact that none of these projects has been fully completed. There are some very advanced initiatives, with up to 90% of execution, and the other with a lower percentage. However, all strengthen the systems of research, development and innovation of the sectors involved,” he said.

Following the meeting, visits were made to two projects to show physically the advances that have been made with resources from FIC. One is the Center for Food Safety, a unit that constitutes a substantial support to the development of the food industry through the microbiological and chemical analysis, to determine if the foods are free of pathogenic organisms, according to the existing rules.

Another is the project developed by the Poplar Technology Center, which seeks to strengthen regional wood SMES by using an associative model, which allows for the scaling of plantations with new varieties of poplar.

“They had a very good impression about the way in which the University has capitalized on this financial support that has given by the Regional Government,” said the Vice President.

For his part, the chairman of the Strategy Committee of the Regional Council of the Maule Region, Cristian Menchaca, highlighted the work that has been done at the University through these initiatives that promote applied research, innovation in enterprises and technology transfer.

“it Is very important to be able to see the projects in the field, because when we invite them to present their progress to our premises it is difficult to understand the success achieved during its implementation. It was very interesting, because in addition to clarifying concerns, we were able to enter the laboratories of the Center for food Safety and realize the importance of covering their services. I think that this premises are very powerful for the Maule Region and has nothing to envy to European countries,” said Menchaca.

2016 Call

During the meeting, members of the Regional Government presented the background of the 2016 call of the Innovation Fund for Regional Competitiveness (FIC-R) that would begin next April.

Regarding the new features of this new application, they propose asking for a financial minimum contribution of 20% in each project, considering that the maximum amount of funding corresponds to two hundred million pesos.

The proposal was not without reactions. Vice President Herrera considered that this potential demand is very high given the characteristics of the regional productive sector. “In addition, the tentative deadlines involved a very short, because a month would not be enough to get the co-financing from the companies. I hope that, as expressed by the chairman of the Strategy Committee these aspects are reviewed, because they may be applied with a different formula as to gradually apply these modifications,” explained Herrera.

The director of the Center for Food Safety, Karina Peralta, considered feasible to make a nomination under the category of the economic contribution, “because in addition to having partnerships with public institutions such as Indap, SAG and the Seremi of Health, we work closely with, local and national food businesses that could rely on the generation of new projects,” she said.



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