Agency leaders sign agreement to further scientific and educational opportunities
The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Chilean Comisión Nacional de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica (CONICYT) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Tuesday, May 15, to further scientific and educational cooperation between the two agencies. The partnership will improve coordination of U.S. and Chilean investments in science and engineering, strengthen support for NSF science activities in Chile and better leverage the scientific investments in Chile.
"This agreement further supports the close ties that the United States and Chile share in science and technology that Presidents Obama and Piñera highlighted during their meeting last year in Santiago," said Alejandro Wolff, U.S. Ambassador to Chile. "We hope it will deepen cooperation across a wide range of endeavors to enhance our shared knowledge and contributions to mankind."
NSF Director Subra Suresh and José Miguel Aguilera, president of CONICYT, met at the National Science Foundation to celebrate this ongoing collaboration and to sign the MoU in an effort to formalize and strengthen the partnership.
"Since 1956, NSF has engaged in collaborations with Chile," said NSF Director Subra Suresh. "Over the course of this long-standing relationship, the U.S. scientific community and Chile have benefitted from millions of dollars in research investments in astronomy, oceanography, seismology and more. The Chileans' enthusiasm for building on these existing activities and developing future partnerships has been inspiring."
Future investments will focus on development of human capital, joint research activities and scientific pursuits that catalyze innovation. Mechanisms of support for educational activities could include NSF's Research Experience for Undergraduates and International Research Experiences for Students programs, while the Science Across Virtual Institutes activity could connect researchers with common interests and goals across international borders.
"CONICYT and NSF share the same views on the importance of science in our lives and of the pivotal role of international cooperation in pushing the boundaries of our knowledge," said José Miguel Aguilera, president of CONICYT. "We also believe that our strengths are complementary and that the bridges we can create through these instruments will not only benefit the collaboration between our scientists but will also inevitably lead to new discoveries and great advancement in the quality of life of our citizens in both countries."
The collaboration with Chile has been crucial to ground-based astronomical sciences as it is one of the best locations in the world for large telescopes that can make discoveries about our universe. The 2011 Nobel Prize for Physics depended on critical observations made from the Blanco 4m telescope at the NSF-supported Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory. Further, the largest capital investment the NSF has made in a single facility is for the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), to be located in the Altiplano of northern Chile.
The collaborations have expanded into other areas of science including geosciences, polar sciences and cyber-enabled research. This new agreement will pave the way for cooperative activities in additional areas of research and education.