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domingo, 27 de septiembre 2020
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Challenges and contributions of a country alliance

By Juan Diego Restrepo Toro and Stiven Arias Henao – Communications Office


The technology transfer to the production sector and the interinstitutional work are challenges for the Energy Sustainability for Colombia—SÉNECA—alliance, which gathers 10 national universities, 8 international universities, and 9 Colombian companies.

The alliance represents a commitment to the integration of universities, the private company, and the state in scientific research. In addition, it aims to graduate 70 undergraduate students, 23 master students, and 22 PhD students.

Of the 39 research groups that are part of SÉNECA, 17 groups belong to Universidad de Antioquia, specifically to the faculties of Engineering and Exact and Natural Sciences. As anchor institution, Universidad de Antioquia’s challenge is to administer the resources and look after the fulfillment of academic commitments.

Moreover, SÉNECA’s challenge is to support non-accredited universities that participate in the alliance so that they start the quality accreditation process.

According to Andrés Amell Arieta, coordinator of the Group of Science and Technology of Gases and Rational Use of Energy, GASURE, the alliance seeks a series of multiple objectives in three fields: “in terms of interregional development, intersectoral development—between academia and production sector—, and interinstitutional development—with universities of other regions and countries, particularly those of lesser academic development aiming at improving their conditions for institutional accreditation.”

Amell Arieta explained that this is a relatively new research method in Colombia and that is why it poses important expectations regarding these three aspects. In addition, the structuring of the alliance with the participation of the different stakeholders left lessons and experiences for the researchers, considering the national crisis regarding the financing of science.

“We generate a work dynamic with high quality groups,” stated Franklin Jaramillo, chief science officer of the alliance.  “Integrating capacities is complex. The university has a lot of potential to formulate projects, but they have to be consolidated.” He also highlighted that the administrative channels should be better integrated to “provide guidelines towards strategic focuses in a way that researchers can constitute more robust lines.”

For Elkin Flórez, professor at Universidad de Pamplona, member institution of the SÉNECA alliance, his university’s purpose is to find allies with high quality levels, such as Universidad de Antioquia and the companies that participate in the project, to strengthen the skills in research, interaction, and academia. “We seek to strengthen the quality levels in each of these pillars.”

Collaborative work

The participating Colombian universities are Universidad Autónoma del Caribe, Universidad de Córdoba, Universidad de La Guajira, Universidad de La Sabana, Universidad de Nariño, Universidad de Pamplona, Universidad del Cauca, Universidad del Quindío, Universidad del Valle, Universidad Tecnológica del Chocó Diego Luis Córdoba, and Universidad de Antioquia.  

The participating international universities are University of Oxford, Hokkaido University, University of Santiago de Compostela, University of São Paulo, Delft University of Technology, Arizona State University, CORIA research center in France, and Columbia University.

As for the companies participating in the alliance, they are Empresas Públicas de Medellín, EPM; Agropecuaria La Montañita; Potencia y Tecnologías Incorporadas S.A.; Frigorífico del Sinú, Frigosinú S.A.; Kleen & Green S.A.S.; Cementos Argos S.A.; Centro de Investigación de la Caña de Azúcar de Colombia, CENICAÑA; Sumicol S.A.S; and Tecnnova corporation as the integrating entity.

In addition, the 17 research groups of Universidad de Antioquia that integrate the alliance are Bioprocesses; Catalysts and Adsorbents; CCComposites (Cements, Ceramics, and Composites); Diagnosis and Control of Pollution, GDCON; Science and Technology of Gases and Rational Use of Energy; Environmental Management and Modeling, GAIA; Efficient Energy Management, GIMEL; Innovation and Management of Supply Chains, INCAS; Center for Research, Innovation, and Development of Materials, CIDEMAT; Engineering and Environmental Management, GIGA; Pyrometallurgical and Materials Research, GIPIMME; Applied Microeconomics; Industrial Chemical Processes, PQI; Interdisciplinary Group of Molecular Studies; Alternative Energy; Applied Telecommunications, GITA; and Embedded Systems and Computational Intelligence, SISTEMIC.

With the purpose of accomplishing the institutional strengthening, the alliance is oriented not only to the generation of new knowledge and technological developments, but also to the strengthening of the quality culture in the participating institutions, both higher education systems and the public and private business sector.




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