As we know, in some countries, mainly in Latin America, science is not considered a fundamental activity for the development of the country. This generates a series of problems for scientists and society in general, creating a society without scientific culture, a government without scientific interest and graduates in scientific areas without jobs, a complex network in which the cause of one is the consequence of the another and vice versa. Below, we will mention some of these problems that science in Mexico faces every day.
Non-investment in science
In recent years, the percentage of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) allocated to science has decreased drastically. In 2009, according to the Science and Technology Indicators Network (RICYT), investment in science was 0. 4% (Aldana, 2012). In 2019, based on the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development), the budget allocated to science in Mexico was 0.22% of GDP. Unfortunately this figure in 2020-2022 has been less than 0.19% (Figure 1). In other countries this percentage is 3%, in the United States, for example, and more than 4%, in countries like Korea.
The government is the main source of financing
In developed countries, the productive sector invests in the development of science and technology, more than 60-70% of the investment allocated to science comes from companies, institutions and private corporations. On the contrary, in Mexico, the government is almost the only source of financing, which causes the budget to be smaller.
Non-appreciation of science
By the government and society. In our country, the population does not know what science is, nor its usefulness. They do not consider that science is a fundamental activity for the development of the country. This is due to lack of outreach, interest and funding.
Dependent on developed countries
Due to the lack of resources, science becomes dependent on collaborations with developed countries, which creates a limitation for researchers when choosing research projects.
Deficient national strategic plan for scientific and technological development
It is a fact that funding for science must be increased, however, this would not solve the entire problem, it is important that it is administered in a correct way, that the scheme for choosing funded projects is well supported, supporting all scientific work that is well done, that it is of quality, that it is well defined and that it has a direct impact on social development, regardless of its area and possible usefulness.
Another important point is that the State respects the autonomy of researchers when selecting research problems and the possibility of building relevant strategies for a better social impact.
Bureaucracy and brakes on scientific research
This is due to the endless number of procedures and bureaucratic obstacles that researchers face when carrying out their research projects. This process, as well as scientific progress, tends to stagnate within agencies, since resources generally arrive a year late.
Lack of recognition of scientists.
Non-recognition of scientists
Unfortunately, in Mexico scientists are not recognized as priority personnel for the country's development. Researchers are not given a good salary, and if they are, they must comply with a set of requirements, such as publishing as many works as possible, this generates a lot of pressure and as a consequence, publishing whatever works regardless of the quality. of works. They must also participate in administrative positions within the universities, in addition to being professors, complete a certain number of hours and carry out tutoring activities with students and participate in formal activities, this causes their participation in science to decrease, leading to the case of that some researchers, more than doing science, are dedicated to complying with the requirements and activities.
Pressure to increase the number of academic staff with postgraduate studies
As a consequence, many universities have generated a large number of master's and doctoral programs. However, many of these programs do not have the academic conditions to offer high-level training. Therefore, the graduates obtain the degree of doctor, but they are not trained as scientists.
Training of professionals with an applied approach
Students are trained in techniques that are useful in the professional field, but scientific training is left aside. The few students who are interested in science come to this activity by having contact with a scientist, but not because universities provide training in science. Universities hire professors, whose fundamental activity is to teach classes.
Science and the training of scientists are centralized in Mexico City, more than 50% of the country's scientists work in Mexico City, and more than 50% of CONACYT's support is concentrated on basic research projects, in addition , more than 50% of master's and doctoral students graduate.
Another important condition is having the infrastructure (laboratories, equipment, technical personnel, etc.), which is only found in universities and laboratories in Mexico City, so in the province they are very limited.
There are not enough places, neither in universities nor in companies, for full-time professors and researchers
Many newly graduated doctors have difficulty finding employment. Some doctors get a position, but they have to dedicate themselves to teaching. Others find work in industry, where they have to work in any area, even if it is not related to their specialty. In this way, there are very few doctoral graduates who continue working in science, in the specialty in which they were trained. And due to the difficulties of working as scientists in Mexico, many researchers emigrate to other countries.
As we can see, doing science can present obstacles in many countries, such as in Mexico. It is a complex problem and probably disappoints Mexicans who want to dedicate themselves to research, let's not leave aside those Mexican scientists who are passionate about it and have a lot of interest in it, thus being one of their main goals to break and look for alternatives in which Science continues its course without limits, thus having autonomy to select its projects and develop them without any bureaucratic impediment and/or financial scarcity.
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Aldana, M. (2012 Enero-Marzo). ¿Qué le falta a la ciencia en México? TEMAS, 69: 26-30.
Flores, J. M. (2018). Retos y contradicciones de la formación de investigadores en México. Educar em Revista, 34(71): 35-49. DOI:10.1590/0104-4060.62554
Valdez, P. (2009 Abril-Junio). Problemas en la formación de científicos en México. Ingenierías, 12(43): 12-18.
Vázquez, E. (2019). La crisis de la ciencia mexicana: generar conocimiento en tiempos de austeridad. Universidad Veracruzana.