CCT CONICET Córdoba, grateful for the support of these outstanding scientific personalities, shares the letter to reaffirm its commitment to quality science at the service of the Argentinean people.

Sixty-eight world leaders in medicine, chemistry, physics, and economics have signed a letter highlighting the outstanding role played by the Argentine scientific system on a global scale and condemning the cutbacks being made to its funding by the national government.

“We are concerned about the elimination of the Ministry of Science and Technology, the dismissal of administrative staff at CONICET and other institutes throughout the country, and the early termination of many contracts next month. We fear that Argentina is abandoning its scientists, students, and future scientific leaders,” they said in the document sent to the executive and congressional authorities.

In the face of this unprecedented situation, CONICET Córdoba is grateful for the support of these outstanding scientific personalities and shares the letter to reaffirm its commitment to quality science at the service of the Argentinean people.

President of the Republic of Argentina, Javier Milei
Head of the Cabinet of Ministers, Nicolás Posse
President of CONICET, Dr Daniel Salamone
Honourable Senators and Deputies of the Congress of the Argentine Nation

We are writing to you with respect and deep concern. We see the Argentine science and technology system approaching a dangerous precipice, and we are discouraged by the consequences that this situation could have both for the Argentine people and for the world. We are concerned about the elimination of the Ministry of Science and Technology, the dismissal of administrative staff at CONICET and other institutes throughout the country, and the early termination of many contracts next month. We fear that Argentina is failing its scientists, students, and future scientific leaders. We are concerned that the dramatic devaluation of the budgets of CONICET and the national universities reflects not only a dramatic devaluation of Argentine science but also a devaluation of the Argentine people and the future of Argentina.

As international scientists, many of us have witnessed the transformative contributions of Argentine science. Without Argentine science and scientists, the causes and treatment of cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease would have remained a mystery for decades. Without Argentine science and scientists, we would lack the knowledge and technology that allow a country to feed both its people and much of the world, and to provide the basic knowledge necessary for effective conservation policies. Without Argentine science and scientists, we would lack key elements in our understanding of how the universe works, from the workings of atoms to the workings of viruses, cells, genes, RNA, and ecosystems. Without Argentine geologists and paleontologists, the world would not know how the Andes were formed and the incredible fauna that inhabited the continent millions of years ago, explaining its richness in minerals and oil. As citizens of the world, we benefit from this heritage. We benefit from our still imperfect but sometimes vital ability to diagnose and treat cancer. We benefit from the advances in agriculture and the food that the Argentine landscape produces. We see the many remarkable advances that have come to Argentina through its history and tradition of science and technology. Where would Argentina – and the world – be without this rich and important history?

To devalue and/or write off Argentine science would be a grave mistake. The world has many problems, and any modern economy like Argentina’s must be able to generate new technologies focused on local problems and apply technologies generated by others in a new local context to solve local problems. We believe in the ideal of countries investing in new science sharing their technologies and their benefits. Still, we would be naive not to understand that any country that relies solely on this community spirit will quickly lose its economic independence. Some problems, opportunities, and solutions are global, and perhaps relying on the knowledge and efforts of others can work in these cases. But many problems, opportunities, and solutions are local, regional, or national, and there should be no expectation that investment and investors from other nations will provide the knowledge and resources needed to address them. Without a scientific infrastructure, a country becomes helpless and vulnerable, unable to develop its technology to move forward to train its people or develop the infrastructure necessary to apply the scientific and technological knowledge of others to regional, national, and local problems. Where would such a situation leave Argentina?

We write with the perspective that Argentina has a remarkable scientific base to build on if the will is there. Argentina is the only country in the region to have developed its vaccine against COVID-19, to have built and launched communications satellites, and to have designed and built next-generation nuclear reactors that will not only be exported but will also generate a domestic supply of vital radioisotopes for medical use. A new proton therapy laboratory, the only one in the southern hemisphere, will soon be inaugurated. A multinational project led by Argentine scientists from the National Atomic Energy Commission (CNEA) has installed the powerful QUBIC radio telescope at an altitude of 5,000 meters in the Puna, in Salta. This telescope will study the first milliseconds of the universe immediately after the Big Bang. Argentina ranks tenth in the world for the number of biotechnology companies, a remarkable achievement that promises breakthroughs in medicine and agriculture. Using genetic engineering, a government-funded group has successfully developed drought-resistant genetic variants of wheat, expanding the frontiers of growing essential crops. Argentine scientists excel in many fields, including geology, paleontology, biochemistry, molecular biology, neuroscience, immunology, ecology, physics, archaeology, and environmental, atmospheric, and social studies.

All of these advances are the result of government support for basic research. Economic and social progress in modern societies and the creation of wealth from a country’s natural resources are closely linked to strong public investment in science and technology.

For these reasons, we respectfully urge you to restore recent budget cuts to the vital science and technology sector in your country. Freezing research programs and reducing the number of Ph.D. students and young researchers will destroy a system that has taken many years to build and would take many, many more to rebuild.

Yours sincerely,

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