Young Scientists Conference
The Young Scientists Conference organized by TWAS ROLAC, ICSU ROLAC and the Vice Ministry of Science and Education of El Salvador was held in San Salvador, El Salvador on November 7-8, 2013. There were established five objectives for this meeting. 1) To increase the number of Latin American countries which participate in TWAS and ICSU ROLAC activities. 2) To strengthen the current regional links between TWAS and ICSU. 3) To create bridges among the different disciplines in order to provoke an exchange of perceptions and visions. 4) To extend ICSU ROLAC presence among young scientists, with a gender perspective. 5) To promote the project “Future Earth” in the context of Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region.
The participants consisted in two of the TWAS ROLAC Executive Committee members: Dr. Prof. Harold Ramkissoon -The University of the West Indies-, and Dr. Prof. Rafael Vicuña -Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile-, ICSU ROLAC Secretariat, and 19 Young Scientists under 40 years old nominated by the Presidents of 17 National Academies -Argentina, Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Peru and Uruguay. We also had the guest speakers, PhD. Prof. Rafel Vicuña from Chile and PhD. Prof. Harold Ramkissoon from Trinidad & Tobago.
We welcomed more than 700 participants in this two-day conference, amongst who can be mentioned different university representatives, independent researchers, government representatives, students and others. The audience enjoyed 18 presentations from the Young Scientists from the countries previously mentioned and also key lectures made by Prof. Vicuña and Prof. Ramkissoon.
On November 7th, the conference began at 9:00 AM and had the following people at the head table: PhD. Prof. Manuel Limonta, Director of ICSU-ROLAC; MD María Isabel Rodriguez, Presidential Adviser; PhD. William Mejia, Manager of National Education in Science and Technology from the Ministry of Education; PhD. Gorka Garate, Manager for Outstanding Performance, from the Jóvenes Talentos Program, Ministry of Education.
The opening lecture was given by PhD. Prof. Harold Ramkissoon Executive member of the TWAS-ROLAC who addressed the audience in the topic of Science and Technology in the Caribbean. During the morning session Prof. Ramkissoon was followed by the presentation of four young scientists, from Colombia, Ecuador, Uruguay, Peru and the Dominican Republic respectively. In the afternoon session, there was a forum with three Young Scientists from El Salvador, and soon after, there was discussion time where the audience and the Young Scientists could directly interact through questions and answers.
Day 2 of the conference started with a key lecture by Prof. Vicuña, who addressed the participants on the topic “Plastics in the ocean: a current perspective on their biodegradation” which was followed three more presentations from Young Scientists from Nicaragua, Panama and Brazil. Finally, Young Scientists from Costa Rica, Trinidad & Tobago, Brazil, Mexico, Honduras, and Chile presented their research in their work in the afternoon session.
One of the greatest outcomes of this Young Scientists Conference was the massive influx of participant. Not only was it surprising that more than 700 people attended the event, but also the varied places they came from and the ages of the participants as well. There were people from 12 of departments of El Salvador. There were lots of the brightest students from the the Jovenes Talentos program from El Salvador and to them, this conference and to have the chance to interact with the Young Scientists through their presentations and also through questions and answers, was a special way of encouragement to continue their road to sciences.
A second achievement from this event was the creation of different knowledge networks among Young Scientists. It was mentioned by some of the young scientists that were already thinking and devising future endeavors and collaboration projects in common areas through their researches and home institutions.