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Min of Science and MIT ESI sign MOU to strengthen research, innovation and entrepreneurship

Updated: Jun 22, 2021

Colombia’s Ministry of Sciences Signs Memorandum of Understanding with MIT to Advance Sustainable Development

Ambassador Santos Opens Ceremony in Which Agreement with One of the World’s Largest Research Centers Is Signed

Washington, DC — In a ceremony opened by Colombian Ambassador to the United States Francisco Santos, the Colombian Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)’s Environmental Solutions Initiative (ESI) with the aim of analyzing the environmental burden of current economic activities within biodiverse regions, and offering pathways for the development of sustainable innovations, green businesses, and educational and research opportunities.

The Ministry and MIT will work together to provide solutions to the challenges of climate change and environmental protection that contribute to the future of an environmentally and socially sustainable society.

“It was my great privilege to be a part of an agreement that will help Colombia and the United States create a more sustainable future for our citizens and the world,” said Ambassador Santos. “President Duque has made combatting climate change and sustainable development priorities for his Government, and this agreement with MIT advances those goals.”

The Memorandum of Understanding contemplates, among other aspects:

· Support for the development of the Regional Centers for Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CRIES), which will act as centers for the promotion of local innovation for bioeconomy-oriented enterprises focused on creating local wealth. CRIES will promote talent and scientific and ancestral knowledge through the recognition of cultural identities and build a sustainable entrepreneurship infrastructure in historically marginalized communities that live in regions with high biodiversity.

· Participation in knowledge co-creation with local communities, taking advantage of scientific work around bioprospecting to identify opportunities in bioeconomy and products of business interest.

· Transforming local and scientific knowledge into sophisticated, technology-based, community-owned business enterprises capable of creating value-added products through sustainable production and marketing.

· Strengthening the Ministry’s capacity to incubate and expand sustainable community-owned enterprises, through business acceleration methods.

· Jointly training local producers to become instructors in all aspects related to sustainable entrepreneurship (including R&D), sustainable production, supply chain management, finance, improvement and quality control, leadership, communications, technological capacity and ecosystem supervision practices, among others.

· Jointly developing a methodology for benchmarking and measuring the effects of sustainability and sustainable enterprises, including the design of economic and sustainability indicators, the collection and analysis of environmental data, and the development of technology for monitoring and participatory verification of socio-environmental impact indicators, such as economic autonomy, return on investments, retention of talents, change and health of ecosystems, reduction of deforestation, etc.

· Jointly developing a fundraising strategy to gather resources for the execution of the project in eight regions of the country, including the Amazon, Pacific and Orinoquia regions, among others.

Joining Ambassador Santos in the virtual signing event were Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Mabel Gisela Torres Torres; MIT ESI Director Jhon Fernández; and Executive Director of the Inter-American Development Bank for Colombia and Peru Sergio Díaz-Granados.

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