The Chilean government has signed a strategic bilateral agreement with the state of Massachusetts, opening the way for collaborative research in the key areas of education, energy and biotechnology.
In an interview with the Spanish news agency EFE, Chilean Ambassador to the United States Arturo Fermandois said the deal was part of a broader plan to transform Chile into a fully-fledged developed nation by the end of the decade.
Home to some of the world's leading universities, including Harvard, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Tufts, Fermandois said Massachusetts was an “ideal partner” for the South American nation.
“It's the state that generates the most knowledge, the state that is granted the most patents and the state that has the most productive academics.”
Each year the private sector invests up to 13 billion dollars in research projects conducted by the state's universities, the ambassador added.
Signed at an official ceremony in Chile's presidential palace earlier this month, the deal aims to facilitate and promote new relationships among leading scientists and think tanks in North and South America.
Included formally in the deal are several key institutions, including the Massachusetts Life Sciences Centre and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Centre, along with Chile's Energy Ministry and its National Commission on Science and Technology (CONICYT).
Fermandois said the universities in Massachusetts were keen to learn from Chile's recent economic growth and development.
“They have told us that they are interested in understanding how this small, isolated country has transformed itself into a nation that constantly achieves the best rankings in Latin America,” he said.
“They are interested in the model that is being applied in Chile and they also want to establish some of the technological ideas developed in Massachusetts within the Chilean marketplace.”
For its part, Chile hopes the links with its new North American partners will support its ambitious infrastructure plans.
A similar agreement between Chile and the state of California was signed in the 1970s and reaffirmed in 2008 by then President Michelle Bachelet.
By The Santiago Times
Ambassador in Washington, Arturo Fermandois