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UNESCO urges increased investment in science to cope with crises

Today the details of the UNESCO Science Report will be released, which, according to this organization, “comes at a crucial moment, as we are approaching the halfway point to meet the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030”.

Although the official presentation of the document will be this afternoon, UNESCO has already advanced some key data. Thus, it ensures that the investment in science in the world increased by 19% between 2014 and 2018. For its part, the number of scientists grew a 13.7 %. And this trend has been driven by the pandemic of the covid-19, affirms this organism.

However, these figures hide significant disparities: only two countries, USA Y China, represent almost two thirds of this increase (63%), while four out of five countries lag far behind, investing less than 1% of its GDP in scientific research. Thus, the scientific landscape remains a measure of the power wielded by countries.

Artificial intelligence and robotics have been especially dynamic fields, according to the report, which notes that almost 150,000 articles were published on these topics in 2019 alone.

The artificial intelligence (IA) and robotic They have been especially dynamic fields, according to the advance of the report, which indicates that in 2019 alone, almost 150,000 articles were published on these topics.

In this sense, AI and robotics have exploded in lower-middle-income countries, which contributed 25.3% of publications in this field in 2019, compared to only 12.8% in 2015. In recent years five years, more than 30 countries have adopted specific strategiesincluding China, the Russian Federation, the US, India, Mauritius and Vietnam.

Little progress in sustainable energy

Other research fields that are crucial for the future attract significantly less investment. In 2019, for example, research on the carbon capture and storage it only generated 2,500 articles, 60 times less than AI. In fact, research on this topic is declining in six of the ten countries that lead research in this field (Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and the current leader, the USA).

Similarly, the field of sustainable energy it remains little explored, representing only 2.5% of world publications in 2019. There is still a long way to go for science to contribute its full potential to sustainable development, UNESCO remarks.

In the words of Audrey azoulay, general director of the organization, “a better gifted science, that is less unequal, more cooperative and More open. Today’s challenges, such as climate change, biodiversity loss, declining ocean health, and pandemics are all global. That is why we must mobilize scientists and researchers from all over the world ”.

Research on carbon capture and storage only generated 2,500 articles, 60 times less than AI

Although the international scientific cooperation has increased in the last five years, open access only applies to one in four publications. In addition, despite the tremendous collective momentum generated by the fight against COVID-19, there are many obstacles that prevent open access to research in much of the world, the document notes.

For example, more than 70% of publications remain largely inaccessible for most researchers. The report documents efforts to break down these barriers, which are a source of inequality and inefficiency. “New models for the circulation and dissemination of scientific knowledge in society must be put in place,” the report highlights.

UNESCO has been working on this issue since 2019, when it began to prepare a global normative instrument for open science. If approved at the next General Conference of the Organization in November 2021, the recommendation will provide the international community with a shared definition and framework in which to develop the transparent, inclusive and effective science that the world needs.

Only a third of researchers are women

The report also highlights the importance of diversity in science; the development of this critical discipline must involve all of humanity. The report finds that only a third of the world’s researchers are women. While parity has almost been reached in the life sciences, it is still a long way off in many sectors of increasing importance.

Women only represent 22% in the field of AI, a problem that will affect the future

For example, women only represent 22% in the field of artificial intelligence, which is a problem not only for today, but also for tomorrow, says UNESCO. “We cannot allow societal inequalities are reproduced or expanded in the science of the future ”.

The document encourages restoring citizens’ trust in science and recalls that today’s research contributes to shaping the world of tomorrow, so it is essential to prioritize humanity’s common goal of sustainability through a ambitious science policy.

Source: SINC

Rights: Creative Commons.

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