ITSC Vice Rector, Carlos Mendieta, suggests the State to allocate 2% of the GDP to research.
The fourth industrial revolution requires university graduates to have skills in creativity, innovation and technology to meet the demand of the private sector. These digital skills allied to research are strategic axes for the social and economic development of a country.
For the academic vice-rector of the Instituto Técnico Superior Comunitario (ITSC), Carlos Mendieta, the Dominican labor market is leaning towards the fourth industrial revolution, so they have as an axis to encourage creativity, innovation and the use of technology to meet the demand of the private sector.
“One of our objectives is to turn students into competitive graduates. This action involves supporting new ventures, training human capital with technological skills and making them participants in the innovative culture that generates added value to the economy,” he explained. And no wonder, 63.5% of Dominicans claim to have an entrepreneurial streak with the intention of creating their own businesses to increase their income, according to the report “National Entrepreneurship Strategy in the Dominican Republic”.
The study, published by the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Mipymes (MICM), details that 53.4% of future entrepreneurs intend to be financially independent. When the data is broken down, 75.4% and 67.3% of the inhabitants of the East region and the Metropolitan zone, respectively, have this priority. This is followed by the North (58.6%) and Southwest (52.3%).
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) is clear: investing in science, technology and innovation is fundamental for the socioeconomic development of a nation.
Given this panorama, the vice-rector of the ITSC suggests that the State create a fund for innovation. “We hope that the Dominican government has an economic fund for our students to develop their research and innovation projects,” he said.
According to Mendieta, research will allow the Dominican Republic to “enter” in competition with other nations that are dedicated to producing innovative products and creating solutions through technology.
Latin America spent US$37.382 billion on research and development (R&D) in 2016. Of this amount, Brazil totaled 60.7%, or US$22,693 million, followed by Mexico with 13.5%, (US$5,031.7 million); Argentina with 9.3%, (US$3,480.3 million); and Venezuela with 8.1%; (US$3,044.9 million), according to data from the United Nations (UN).
Chile invested US$959.9 million, US$509.9 million more than Ecuador, which reported an investment of US$450 million, while Costa Rica and Uruguay allocated US$246.4 million and US$215.2 million, respectively, for DI. Paraguay, with US$42.1 million; Honduras, US$3.1 million; and Guatemala, US$15.2 million.
For the Vice Rector, “traditional careers are losing competitiveness due to demand and low salaries”. He understands that government authorities, universities and the private sector must link up to work towards the fourth industrial revolution.
“The academy is designed to have a strategic alliance with the productive sectors and the State must also intervene in the formative process of higher education”, he says. These actions should be strengthened through the increase of 2% or 3% of the local gross domestic product (GDP) to STEM.
The World Economic Forum (WEF) indicates that robotics and artificial intelligence will displace 75 million traditional jobs; however, 133 million new jobs derived from STEM careers are expected to be created.
Science, technology, engineering and mathematics are key careers to economically empower the youth of the Dominican Republic and ITSC is aware of this. According to those interviewed, local companies are looking to streamline their operations and the insertion of technified human capital in innovation.
“Technology-oriented careers, automotive and electricity, for example, make possible prototypes of new careers at a low cost,” considers the professor of automotive engineering, Eugenio Martinez. Meanwhile, his counterpart Juan Antonio Miranda points out that these processes will boost new jobs, which will be better paid.
Academics urge authorities, both governmental and educational, to promote and develop skills that are required in the digital world.
Item nine of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) states that it is essential to create industries that meet the growing demand for services and secure more jobs. Likewise, research is key to finding permanent solutions to economic, social and environmental challenges.
With this in mind, the project “patent for canopy gates” was born, which uses a lithium battery, consumes 25 watts of energy and allows 50 cycles of use.
The project lasted three years in the execution stage and by March 2023 it will be on the market for a price of RD$29,000. One of its creators, David Rosario, comments that 25 units are installed in houses in the National District.
“In the local market, 10,000 engines are sold every month. Our goal is to contribute 20% of the niche of these sales in the medium-term future,” he said. To develop this product, the company received RD$2 million in financing from the National Council for the Promotion and Support of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (Promipyme).
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