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Dreams, Optimism, Wisdom

ADDRESSING TEHCNO-INNOVATIONS – BUSINESS GAP IN CHINA October 18, 2008

Erle Frayne Argonza

Gracious day to everyone!

From China comes a news item highlighting the gap between technology innovations and the business community. The observation is that the gap is a yawning one. This gap has been observed among other Asians that proceeded with the industrialization development track couples of decades back.

The new is contained below.

[Writ 07 October 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila. Thanks to SciDev database news.]

Chinese innovation ‘too isolated’

Jia Hepeng

23 September 2008 | EN | 中文

Flickr/Pere Tubert Juhe

[ZHENGZHOU AND BEIJING] For China to become a world leader in innovation, it should address regional differences and promote corporate input, according to a report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The report, released this month (11 September), acknowledges that with spending on research and development (R&D) matching that of Germany, China is already a global player in science and technology.

But the country lags in innovation capability and performance compared to OECD countries with a similar level of R&D investment, although China ranked second in global publications levels in 2006.

According to the report, China’s innovation system is not fully developed and inadequately integrated. It describes the system as an “archipelago”, a large number of “innovative islands” with insufficient links between them.

Current regional patterns of R&D and innovation create too great a physical separation between knowledge producers and potential users, the authors say.

In addition, although foreign investment in China has increasingly contributed to innovation, the domestic business sector has been slow to make productive use of accumulated R&D investment, human resources for science and technology, and related infrastructure, the report indicates.

The Chinese government is looking to address this. For example, a recent study found that of 22 Chinese biotechnology firms investigated, all had received government funding (see Regulations ‘hinder’ China biotech investment).

But besides funding companies directly, “it is important for China to improve the framework conditions for innovation, which will contribute to building an innovation culture and provide the conditions and incentives for firms to shift their attention to innovation,” Gang Zhang of the OECD Directorate for Science, Technology and Industry and one of the report’s authors, told SciDev.Net.

And Feng Jun, president of Beijing Huaqi Information Digital Technology, a leading Chinese technology company, says the government has distributed its funding too evenly among companies, instead of focusing on a few to gain key breakthroughs.

Link to the executive summary of OECD report 

 

S & T POLICY AND INSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT: IRAQ UPDATE October 12, 2008

Erle Frayne Argonza

Good morning from Manila!

It seems the excitement in Iraq’s S&T is moving to higher pitches, despite the noise and flames of the ensuing war there. The policy environment is getting to be more definitive, and a new state institution is being installed to address S&T research and development needs of the country.

See the exciting news below.

[Writ 06 October 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila. Thanks to SciDev database news.]

 

New authority and law to push Iraqi research

Wagdy Sawahel

26 September 2008 | EN | 中文

Flickr/rxwarren

Iraq is to establish a scientific research authority (SRA) to promote science and technology research and improve science policy, and will consider a new law offering scientists significant financial benefits.

The SRA was announced by Abd Dhiab al-Ajili, the Iraqi minister for higher education and scientific research last week (15 September).

It will function independently from the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research (MHESR) and have a separate, as yet undisclosed, budget. Its exact start date has yet to be decided.

The authority will oversee all of the science and technology centres associated with universities and have the capacity to fund research directly. It will also prepare science policy reports reviewing subjects including best practice for funding research, measuring the quality of scientific research, and methods for knowledge dissemination.

The SRA will suggest educational programmes and provide analysis for the MHESR on Iraq’s needs to build its scientific and technological capacity. It will also provide advice to the MHESR and university science centres on topics such as ethics, socioeconomic impact, health and environmental concerns and intellectual property rights.

The Iraqi government is also set to consider a new law aiming to persuade scientists, innovators and engineers abroad to return to the country.

Samir Ibrahim Abbas, deputy director-general at the Iraq Ministry of Science and Technology and a member of the ministerial committee preparing the law, says a draft will be ready within six weeks and submitted to the government.

The proposed law also offers incentives to top scientists and innovators working in Iraq.

These include increased salaries — currently on average less than US$1,000 a month — of 300–350 per cent making it equivalent to the Iraqi deputy ministerial salary level. Other benefits include exemption from the mandatory retirement age of 63 years and preferential treatment and reduced prices when buying land for housing.

Abbas says the law will reward different levels of scientists and innovators depending on their scientific achievements.

Scientists would be expected to apply for the benefits, overseen by a central body comprising representatives from scientific committees in different scientific and technological fields who would be responsible for the evaluation and assessment of candidates. 

 

CHILE’S RENEWABLE ENERGY POTENTIALS September 19, 2008

Erle Frayne Argonza

Hola compadrinos y compadrinos del pais Chile! Que tal!

I do honestly admire the Chileans for their great drive to propel their country to economic prosperity. And I have no better wish than to see the Chileans let go of that Dark Age past of tyrannical rule by the barracks folks. Chileans might profit the better if they move on in their creative pursuits, undistracted by the impurities of barracks mindsets that they have acquired from their tormentors.

Chileans should in fact thank their tormentors, as the tempest they all experienced, which we Filipinos did pass through as well, have tempered them all for greater challenges, strengthened their collective wills-to-prosperity, and ascend the ladder of national success. Let go of that past, Chilean fellows, please.

Here is a good news from Chileans about the renewable energy potentials of the country.

[28 August 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila. Thanks to SciDev database news.]

 

 

Chile: alto potencial de uso de energías renovables

Paula Leighton

15 agosto 2008 | ES

[SANTIAGO] Las energías renovables no convencionales (ERNC) y el uso eficiente de la energía eléctrica podrían satisfacer hasta el 40 por ciento de los requerimientos energéticos de Chile en 2025.

Así lo demuestra un estudio de las universidades de Chile y Federico Santa María, difundido el pasado 8 de agosto, que estimó el potencial aporte de energías como la eólica, hidráulica, biomasa, geotérmica y solar en el país.

La cifra supera largamente las metas impuestas por la Ley de Energía aprobada en marzo pasado.

Según esta ley, entre 2010 y 2014 las empresas generadoras y distribuidoras deberán proporcionar cinco por ciento de la energía que comercializan a partir de fuentes renovables y llegar al diez por ciento en 2024.

En 2025 la demanda del Sistema Interconectado Central (SIC) alcanzará a 105.560 GWh. Para ese año, las ERNC y el uso eficiente de la energía eléctrica podrían contribuir con cerca de 40.000 GWh, estima el informe.  

“Esto significa un mejoramiento de la calidad del servicio, disminución de la dependencia energética, aumento de la competitividad y productividad de las empresas y reducción de los impactos ambientales locales”, dicen los investigadores.

Así, el uso de ERNC reduciría la emisión de CO2 en 16 millones de toneladas por año, estiman los autores.

Según dijo a SciDev.Net Sara Larraín, directora de la ONG Chile Sustentable, incluso considerando que el potencial económicamente factible de las ERNC es de alrededor de 17 a 28 por ciento de los requerimientos para 2025, “el porcentaje triplica la meta obligatoria fijada por el gobierno en la ley de energías renovables”.

Por eso, agrega, “la legislación es el único instrumento que tiene el Estado para obligar a las empresas a desarrollar esta opción, que es a largo plazo más barata”.

Para impulsar el potencial de las ERNC, el estudio propone crear una Agencia Nacional de Energías Renovables autónoma.

 

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC UPS ICT USE

Erle Frayne Argonza

If there is anything I wish from the Dominican Republic, it is that the leaders of this esteemed nation will tell the world powers and all other countries to “shut up you bellicose lunatics and take down your armies!” Should the DomRepublicans say that, I will re-echo the message here in ASEAN and say “shut up you blabbermouth warmongers and close down your armies!”

That’s a mere wish thing though. More realistically, a news from our esteemed DomRepublican friends pronounced the increasing usage of ICT in their home country. Latin Americans better pay attention to this news, such as Mexico which seems bent on fattening its oligarchs’ purses from non-sensical if not criminal rent-seeking engagements at the expense of high-tech progress.

The great news is contained below.

[28 August 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila. Thanks to SciDev database news.] 

 

Crece uso de las TIC en República Dominicana

Fuente: 7 Días

13 agosto 2008 | ES

73,4% de los dominicanos tiene celular

El 67,1 por ciento de los hogares dominicanos tiene acceso al teléfono celular; el 24,5 por ciento al teléfono fijo y el 5,1 por ciento a Internet.

Además, el 34,3 por ciento de las personas mayores de 12 años usa la computadora y el 25,4 por ciento Internet. En este mismo rango de edad, el 73,4 por ciento de los dominicanos tiene acceso al teléfono celular.

Así lo revelan datos preliminares de la Encuesta Nacional de Hogares de Propósitos Múltiples (ENHOGAR), en su versión de 2007, difundidos el pasado 7 de agosto, según consigna el diario 7 Días.

De acuerdo con el diario, para el director de la Oficina Nacional de Estadísticas, Pablo Tactuk, estos datos muestran que los esfuerzos por insertar al país en la sociedad de la información han dado sus frutos.

Sin embargo, agrega 7 Días, al referirse a la penetración de las tecnologías de la información y la comunicación (TIC) en el país, Tactuk “reconoció que existen diferencias ‘notables’ atendiendo a las características socioeconómicas, geográficas y de escolaridad en el acceso a estas tecnologías por lo que llamó a redoblar los esfuerzos para incluir a los sectores que están rezagados”.

Artículo completo en 7 Días

 

YOUTH NOVEL PARK FOR INNOVATIVE FUTURE

Erle Frayne Argonza

Who says that the youth can’t share much about hard creative products aside from their classroom outputs that are largely novitiate or apprentice level? So many great works of genius have already gone out of universities, straight from the mental banks of adolescents and youthful instructors.

From Latin America comes a welcome news about a ‘creativity park’ whose purpose is to facilitate the build up capabilities for future innovativeness.

See the news item below. Venceremos!

[28 August 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila]

Futuros innovadores se forman en original campamento

Lisbeth Fog

9 agosto 2008 | ES

Elvis Perea y otros estudiantes en el Parque de la Creatividad

Carlos Andrés Sánchez, cortesía Parque de la Creatividad

[BUCARAMANGA] Desde el 25 de julio, 30 jóvenes se encuentran reunidos en la capital santandereana, al noreste de Colombia, en una experiencia a la que no fue fácil llegar: el Parque de la Creatividad.

“El Parque de la Creatividad es un foro que congrega a jóvenes de últimos años de colegio y algunos de primeros años de universidad, donde a través de su interacción con mentores científicos inventores se promueve la creatividad”, explica el microbiólogo colombiano Raúl Cuero, creador de la iniciativa, actualmente investigador de la Universidad de Texas Prairie View A&M, en Estados Unidos.

Es la segunda vez que sucede en el país. Los jóvenes seleccionados se reúnen en una ciudad colombiana durante casi tres semanas, a crear.

En Bucaramanga hay jóvenes de distintas ciudades colombianas y dos estadounidenses. Hombres y mujeres, negros, mestizos y blancos, de colegios privados, escuelas públicas y universidades.

La filosofía del Parque, dice Cuero, es que de la diversidad sale la creatividad.

“Tuvimos que escribir un ensayo de 800 palabras en el que buscáramos una solución creativa a un problema”, cuenta Elvis Perea, un joven recién graduado de bachiller.

Los seleccionados participarán hasta el 10 de agosto en vivencias que van desde entrenamientos de laboratorio para descubrir el ADN o entender los procesos que desencadena la clorofila, pasando por actividades artísticas, entrenamiento en mercadeo y manejos administrativos.

Se trata de formar jóvenes innovadores, que no solamente realicen investigación, sino que sepan plasmarla en un producto o un proceso eventualmente comercializable en el futuro.

Por eso, también visitan industrias, escuchan a presidentes de empresas, oyen música, una sicóloga los pone a pensar. El programa no está escrito; no saben qué pasará en la siguiente hora.

En mensaje enviado el primer día del campamento, el presidente de Colombia Álvaro Uribe dijo confiar en que “este campamento internacional de invenciones “Raúl Cuero” dará a nuestros muchachos numerosas oportunidades para que despierten su creatividad en beneficio de la ciencia, de cara a lograr su activa participación en nuestras regiones”.

Los Parques de la Creatividad tienen el apoyo de universidades como Harvard, MIT, California en Berkeley y en San Francisco y la de Texas. En Colombia apoyan empresas como Alianza Team y Casa Luker.

 

INDONESIA SHOWCASES E-LEARNING FOR SMEs, YOUTH September 15, 2008

Erle Frayne Argonza

From our esteem neighbor Indonesia comes a very heartwarming news about enabling its e-learning programs for (a) the small & medium enterprises and (b) youth. E-learning is not new to Indonesia nor to any of the 10-member states of ASEAN, though there are admittedly certain sectors where the technology divide is still a reality.

Taiwan’s stakeholders entered the scene as co-partners with the Indonesian stakeholders to fast-track the e-learning services and bridge the digital divide in the sectors concerned.

Below is the news caption about the e-learning project.

[28 August 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila. Thanks to SciDev database news.]

 

Indonesia profits from Taiwan e-learning scheme

Ella Syafputri

12 August 2008 | EN

Indonesian students are among those benefiting from the scheme

Flickr/kinjengnet

[JAKARTA] Indonesian students, businesses and government officials are benefiting from a Taiwanese scheme to bridge the digital divide in developing countries.

Some 3,500 people and businesses have been trained in six e-learning centres sponsored by the Taiwan government in three Indonesian cities: Bandung, Jakarta and Yogyakarta.

The programme of transferable ICT skills has proven to be useful for participants, says Lester Leu, deputy director at the economic division of the Taiwan Economy and Trade Office (TETO).

“After taking part in e-learning programmes, some students and small and medium enterprises [SMEs] start to access technology and get better life opportunities. Many students and SMEs immediately set up e-commerce both for domestic and international markets,” Lester told SciDev.Net.

Lester said Taiwan started establishing the centres in 2006 and the work was finished by May 2008.

“The centres aim to bridge the digital divide as well as enhance ICT capabilities in Indonesia. Some specialisations occur in e-learning centres, such as increasing access for women, SMEs or children,” he says.

Lester says the programme has been particularly beneficial for participants from poorer communities, and the centres train high school teachers so they can pass on the skills to a larger number of people.

“Every year, we invite ICT experts from Indonesia to Taiwan to exchange experience and competencies. There is an annual local competition in e-commerce utilisation and the winners are invited to Taiwan as well,” he adds.

By the end of this year, Taiwan expects to have opened 41 e-learning centres in seven developing countries — Chile, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam — under a programme approved by the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.

The Taiwan government proposed the APEC Digital Opportunity Center (ADOC) initiative during the 2003 APEC leadership summit in Thailand, with the goal of using Taiwan’s advanced ICT experience to assist other APEC member states in upgrading their technology capacities.

Lester hopes there will be a second phase of the initiative, with centres built in more Indonesian cities. It is due to be discussed in ADOC Week 2008, set for 29 September–4 October in Taipei.

 

FROM BEIJING: CLIMATE CHANGE MODELS NEED REVISION September 10, 2008

Erle Frayne Argonza

 

So many of our scientific models of ecological reality need gross revisions. I am aware for instance that the model for the ‘water cycle’ is badly flawed, yet the scientific community has not done much to revise it.

 

Here is another facet of reality—climate change—where the existing models are found to be flawed. From East Asian scientists, notably Beijing, come the observation that the existing models ‘ignore brown carbon’. It need not belabored that the models must be revised.

 

The news about the observations regarding the model is contained below. What is gladdening is that scientists were able to uncover the flaw, which will ensure revision of the model and the practical technologies coming out from the labs later.

 

[28 August 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila. Thanks to SciDev database news.]

 

 

Current climate models ‘ignoring brown carbon’

Sun Xiaohua and Jia Hepeng

15 August 2008 | EN | 中文

Smog over Bangkok, Thailand

Flickr/gullevek

[BEIJING] Scientists have found that air pollution from East Asia contains an abundance of ‘brown carbon’ particles and say that atmospheric models need updating to incorporate their effect.

Current climate models take into account two types of aerosol carbon — organic carbon and black carbon — that arise from the burning of fossil fuels or biomass.

Black carbon strongly warms the atmosphere by absorbing light, while organic carbon absorbs light at a negligible level and has no warming effect.

It has already been claimed black carbon plays a much larger role in global warming than estimates made by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (see Black carbon climate danger ‘underestimated’).

But this approximation is too simple, according to Peter Crozier, an associate professor at Arizona State University (ASU) in the United States, whose team published their research in Science last week (8 August).

According to the authors, the method that is currently used to measure the warming effect of different types of particle doesn’t take into account the wide variations that can occur between types of carbon from different sources.

They instead used a technique based on a specialised type of electron microscope to directly determine the optical properties of individual carbon particles, and found that samples taken from above the Yellow Sea, east of China, have an abundance of brown carbon particles.  

“Brown carbon has light absorbing properties that lie between strongly absorbing black carbon and materials that only scatter light and do not absorb,” co-author James Anderson, a research scientist at ASU’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, told SciDev.Net.

He adds that brown carbon both cools the Earth’s surface and warms the atmosphere, resulting in a complex role in global warming, hence the necessity to incorporate it into climate models.

Hu Guoquan, a senior scientist at the Beijing-based National Climate Centre, welcomes the study, saying it highlights the uncertainties of IPCC models.

“But more studies on the chemical structure and size of brown carbon particles must be done,” he told SciDev.Net.

In addition, Hu says, as many carbon aerosols pollutants are emitted by China or India — which have massive combustion of fossil fuels and biomass — judging their accurate warming or cooling effect must be done cautiously and avoid claims without sufficient scientific evidence, as this will contribute to determining the nations’ responsibilities in global warming.

Link to abstract in Science