The Minister of Science, Innovation and Universities, Pedro Duque, yesterday formalized the Canary Islands Agreement, an agreement that aims to serve as a basis for exchanging scientific information on the Atlantic Ocean and improving the management of resources. This document, also supported by Portugal, Nigeria, São Tomé and Príncipe, Angola and Cape Verde, was signed at the fourth high-level meeting to launch the International Center for Atlantic Research (AIR Center), which closes today. in the Canary Islands Congress Center - Alfredo Kraus Auditorium. The studies developed by Spain under this collaboration agreement will be led by the Oceanic Platform (Plocan), which will be the tool of the Ministry to channel the effort of all the national scientific institutions and agencies that want to participate in the AIR Center projects.
Space, atmosphere, ocean, climate change, energy and data collection and data computing will be the fields of work that will be developed by the AIR Center. According to Pedro Duque, the center of scientific and technological capacity of Spain in the Atlantic is on the Canary Oceanic Platform, which "has huge and unique possibilities in Europe". On the other hand, the minister said that the union of countries will facilitate the capture of European funding to boost research in these fields and pointed out that, at the moment, Spain is not contributing funding to the AIR Center.
The director of Plocan, Octavio Llinás, explained that the objectives of the AIR Center are "to create a network of centers for the promotion of science relative to the interests of citizens in the Atlantic space", as well as join efforts and share knowledge for face the problems that the different countries are posing. Although the AIR Center will not have a physical headquarters because it will have "nodes" in all the integrated countries, the "headquarters" will be located inAzores.
In addition, as of yesterday, the entity has its own legal entity and will be constituted as a transnational network, which may participate in European calls. Among the institutions that Plocan will coordinate will be the Superior Council of Scientific Research (CSIC), the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands, the National Supercomputing Center of Barcelona, the Spanish Institute of Oceanography, the Center for Energy, Environmental and Technological Research, Center for Industrial Technological Development and EIT-ClimateKIC Spain, all of them present at the meeting.
On the situation of the country with respect to the scientific and technological sphere, Duque maintained that "Spain can be considered at the same level in science as any other country in the European Union", since it heads therankingof European Horizon 2020 projects, in leadership of research plans, and ranks fourth in terms of the amount of money returned from the EU.
At the opening conference yesterday, Dava Newman, aeronautical engineer, professor at MIT and deputy director of NASA during the presidency ofBarack Obama, called attention to the increase in the temperature of the Earth in the last century, caused by the actions of the human being, "which only occupies 3% of the Earth's surface". For this reason, Newman warned that this anomaly causes devastating effects on the ocean, so "we must raise awareness about the changes we must put into action and materialize concrete actions we can do". Especially, because "the way of life and the economy of many regions depends on the sea," he concluded.