Bolivia's success in catching-up


based on an interview with Mauricio Céspedes, Bolivian INCO-NCP

Bolivia is a country with a relative young history in cooperating in the European Framework Programmes for Research. It’s Vice-Ministry for Science and Technology was only found in 2007 and only then did the country start building a national NCP system. However, since then these efforts have been quite ambitious and Bolivia has achieved considerable improvement in their cooperation records. Starting with 4 projects with Bolivian participation in FP7, Bolivia reached to have 11 projects and 16 participations in FP7 until 2014. Mauricio Céspedes sees this as the biggest achievement of the last years. With the support of ALCUE NET and INCONTACT the Network of NCPs and experts for International Scientific Cooperation Activities (INCO), Bolivian NCPs organized a series of info days and toured through Bolivia to inform more than 200 researchers at around 5 of the biggest universities about opportunities in FP7 and H2020. The cooperation with ALCUE NET, and especially with the Argentinian Ministry for Science and Technology (MINCyT), was crucial in this knowledge exchange process. With the means of these information events and specific trainings the team of meanwhile 8 thematic NCPs achieved to awaken the interest of Bolivian researchers to cooperate within European Programmes. Although Latin American researcher generally remain intimidated by the high entry levels for H2020, Bolivian NCPs used positive experiences of Bolivian researchers, who had been successful in FP7, to create a positive spirit in the trainings. Benefits for newcomers in cooperation are especially high: once they are successful, they gain a project for several years, get involved in international networks and move from the local sphere to the international sphere of research. Mauricio Céspedes sees the biggest potential for Bolivia in cooperation projects in the areas of Energy, Food, ICT and Biodiversity. The latter is actually the area of the most successful Bolivian researcher who is active in FP7. Improvements in the upcoming years are especially welcome what concerns Bolivian participation in Mobility Actions (Marie Skodowska- Curie), more visibility of Bolivia at the level of the bi-regional dialogue on STI and better connectivity of thematic NCPs in Latin America. Bolivia is on a good track and a success story of the last years.