Renowned scientist describes current research reality in Europe

Researchers and students from Center for Optics and Photonics, CEFOP, at Universidad de Concepción, could know, firsthand, the work done and the latest advances achieved in the study of nanostructures in the Institut Català of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2) based at Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona, ​​Spain. This, thanks to the visit of the exceptional researcher Dr. Clivia Sotomayor Torres, who leads the research group Photonic and Phononic Nanostructures (P2N), also giving an overview of how scientific and technology research is conducted in Europe.

“It’s really a privilege to have Dr. Sotomayor visit at our Center because we can see the work being done in other countries and share with them the research we are developing in CEFOP. She has told me he is pleasantly surprised that there is a center like ours, highly specialized and at an important stage of development in Chile”, said Dr. Renato Saavedra, who made possible the visit by the based in Europe researcher.

Dr. Sotomayor, who has made teaching and research in leading universities in Germany, Spain, Scotland, Ireland and Sweden, among others, unveiled the work done by the research group she led, in addition to the structure and functioning of ICN2 , an organization in constant contact with the industry, which has 15 research groups in four divisions, an annual budget of approximately € 11 million, an official 200 people plant, and in 2014, conducted about 170 scientific publications in indexed media. “Funding for competitiveness in the Spanish system is not organized, but is very strict in not allowing researchers to have more than one project in each area”, explained the scientific, about access to funds by the research centers in Spain.

IMG_2388“In Catalonia, unlike what I experienced in Ireland, there is no tradition of knowledge transfer from academia to industry, there is no policy defined by the Catalan government to a common pocket intellectual property, because it happens that researchers have no idea what research colleagues are developing in another optical center, for example, even though we all work by the same funds. We should have a portfolio of knowledge and define which area we will be patenting”, said Chilean researcher, about the relationship of the Catalan centers among themselves and with other entities such as the government.

The work Chilean Dr. Sotomayor Chilean is based on the study of phonons in low dimensional structures, and she also researches on nano-manufacturing (nano-printing and auto-mounting) and nano-metrology (dimensional and defectibility). She also conducts exploration activities in nano-cellulose, collaborating with Chilean teams in intercalated compounds.

Sotomayor explained how is given the relationship between research centers and industry. “Although not as common, there are specific contracts between the institute and industry to solve a particular problem, and bring a scientific question defined by the research center. It is more sustainable to have a dynamic collaboration agreement with an industrial partner that is considered strategic. What we have to aim for is to get to a research institute that is a mix with industry. This would be a test of confidence from industry and serious commitment by the institute, leading to a better students training, what is a relevant fact in key performance indicators list and, if the industry is sufficiently visionary, they can earn a lot too”, she said.

After his brief period in our university, Dr. Sotomayor gave a positive perception about CEFOP. “I was very impressed, first, it is a center that is focused on Photonics and, second, that takes a multidisciplinary approach to tackle various parts of Photonics aspect as there are people from chemistry, physics, electrical engineers”, said the researcher .

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