UNIVERSITY AWARDED 13 APPLIED RESEARCH PROJECTS

MORE THAN TWO BILLION PESOS (US$ 3 M, APPROX.) WERE GRANTED TO INITIATIVES PRESENTED BY RESEARCHERS FROM OUR UNIVERSITY TO THE INNOVATION AND COMPETITIVENESS FUND (FIC-R) OF THE MAULE REGION.



April 13, 2017

The University of Talca achieved a successful rate of awarding in the results of the 2017 Innovation and Competitiveness Fund of the Regional Maule Government.
 
Twenty-five initiatives were presented to the competition of the Fund, awarded by the Maule Regional Government’s Innovation and Competitiveness Fund Program of the Maule Region, in which 65% of the projects that seek to strengthen the regional innovation system for competitiveness, technological development and economic and territorial equity was approved.
 
The thirteen initiatives awarded to researchers from the UTALCA amount to a total of approximately 2,130 million pesos (US$3.2 M, approx.), and whose topics are linked to social, fruit production, Forestry, wine, services and logistics, energy efficiency and diversification of products innovation, among others.
 
"We are committed to developing innovative technological projects that have a strong environmental component and seeking to resolve some of the problems that occur in our environment, working together to improve the competitiveness of the Region," said the dean of the Department of Engineering, Claudio Tenreiro.
 
 Innovative Proposals
 
 
The Pro-rector of our Academic Institution, Pablo Villalobos, explained some of the actions involved in the project "Design and Implementation of a Laboratory of Social Innovation that Enhances an Ecosystem of Sustainable Development in the Maule Region ", which will contribute with solutions to solve complex social problems in the areas of health, education, environment and territorial governance. "For this, we will articulate and develop skills in social innovation to different actors in the business, Academia, State and civil society in the Region. Therefore, we hope to finance 12 prototypes of social innovation in the Maule Region and to train 300 leaders from the four Provinces in social innovation and territorial management", highlighted Villalobos.
 
In addition, the Institute of Science-Based Innovation, under the Vice President for Innovation and Technology Transfer, was awarded the project "Development and Implementation of a Portfolio of For-Export Services for the Maule Region, with Emphasis on Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises", led by researcher Cristian Monsalvez.
 
 
"The Maule Region needs to diversify its offer to international markets, because it is too tied to the production of raw materials based on natural resources and, therefore, is bound to the cycles and variations in the prices of commodities,"
 
 
"To promote the export of services as a new axis of growth, the Institute included ProChile as a strategic ally, because of its emphasis on small and medium-sized enterprises," explained Monsalvez.
 
From the Center of Food Safety was selected the project "Determination of Pollution by Pesticides and Fertilizers in Horticultural Species, Soil and Irrigation Waters of the Maule Region". It will include a diagnosis of the 30 counties, with the goal of reviewing the protocols for application of pesticides and compare the producers with good agricultural practices.
 
 
Ana Karina Peralta, Director of the Center, expressed her enthusiasm at starting the fifth FIC project of that unit. "The value supplied by this type of initiative is to give an answer to a need or a new process. Through this instance we may transfer our results to small, medium and large industries to improve the competitiveness of the Maule Region," she said.
 
 Initiatives
 
Three of the projects belong to the Department of Engineering, " Frost Early Warning and By-Sectors System: A Tool for Enhancing the Competitiveness of Agriculture in the Maule Region," by Professor José Antonio Reyes; and "Valorization of Recyclable Waste through the Creation of New Materials for the Manufacture of Marketable Products," by Jorge Hinojosa. In addition, a Multidisciplinary Center for innovation in Products and Technological Development in the Maule Region will be created at the Curicó Campus, proposed by academic Abraham Farias.
 
 
The Department of Agricultural Sciences contributes with the initiatives entitled  "Development of a Biofertilizer Fluid Based on Earthworm Humus Enriched with Plant Growth Promoting Rhizobacteria", by Hernán Paillan, Director of the Technological Center for Soils and Crops and "The Maule Region as a National Reference in the Production of Sparkling Wines: Development of Technical Arguments for the Creation of a Collective Brand", by the Director of the Technological Center of the Vine and Wine, Yerko Moreno.
 
Likewise, at the Department of Economics and Business, through its Maule Competitiveness Center, was awarded the project "Design and Updating of Competitiveness Index of the 30 Counties of the Maule Region and Technological Surveillance," led by Jorge Navarrete. On the other hand, the University Responsibility Office will carry out a "Linking and Territorial-Community Innovation Program ", led by its director, Ivan Coydan.
 
 Another project is from the Department of Health Sciences. It is called "Implementation of a Program of Exercises with Virtual Reality via Telerehabilitation for Patients with Cerebral Palsy of the Spastic Hemiplegia Type and for Older Adults", by researcher Valeska Gatica.
 
Added to the previous initiatives are the projects "Maximizing Production of Saponins and other Metabolites of Interest for the Chemical Industry", led by Fernando Guerra, from the Institute of Biological Sciences, and "Short-Rotation Plantations of Poplar Varieties for the Production of Energy and Industrial Purposes Biomass ", in charge of the expert Cristian Espinosa, from the Technological Center of the Poplar.



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