The Canary Islands allocate six million to attract and retain its scientific talent


A researcher observes some samples of insects at the Canarian Institute for Agricultural Research.

A researcher observes some samples of insects at the Canarian Institute of Agrarian Research.
Andres Gutierrez

The Canary Islands has allocated five million euros to attract new scientific talent and another million to retain it to prevent it from abandoning research or emigrating to carve out the future after completing its doctoral thesis. In this sense, the Canary Agency for Research, Innovation and Information Society (ACISII), through the Ministry of Economy, Knowledge and Employment, has formalized 60 new pre-doctoral contracts this year, destined to defray the expenses of the doctoral thesis to young scientists, and another 10 to postdoctoral researchers, through the recent Catalina Ruiz program.

This new postdoctoral program in the Knowledge area will allow the hiring of this research staff for a minimum period of three years in order to retain, recover and attract talent for research of excellence in R & D & I. Specifically, the grants are intended for the formalization of an employment contract aimed at research staff who have recently completed their doctorate and the beneficiary entity. The first two years will carry out a postdoctoral stay in an R&D center of international excellence.

The Catalina Ruíz program is named after a figure who has been a benchmark in the international scientific field, and an example to be followed by women researchers and for their perseverance in achieving a Canary Islands committed to equality, in the development of her career as a professor. of Applied Physics from the University of La Laguna (ULL) and the Canary Islands Research and Innovation Award 2017. Those chosen in this first edition have been five researchers from the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, four from the University of La Laguna and one scientist attached to the Canary Islands Oceanic Platform (Plocan).

Destinations

Among the destinations selected by the beneficiaries are Germany, the Czech Republic, Australia, Italy, the United States and Spain. Once this period is over, they will join the Canarian Archipelago research center for a year. The contracts are distributed among the five major branches of knowledge, within the areas established by the National Commission for the Evaluation of Research Activity (CNEAI), which are Sciences, Health Sciences, Engineering and Architecture, Social and Legal Sciences; Arts and Humanities.

The little more than one million euros that are allocated to this initiative will be distributed between three annuities (2021, 2022 and 2023) each endowed with 360,000 euros. The gross remuneration per researcher is 30,000.00 euros per year. The maximum amount per annuity that each beneficiary entity can receive is 50% of the budget allocation.

On the other hand, the Ministry of Economy has also launched more pre-doctoral contracts than in previous years, which makes it possible to pay for the period of completion of 60 theses throughout the Canary Islands. With this new concession, thanks to regional public funds, the hiring of 200 young researchers is maintained (140 to which are added these 60 new ones) in order to strengthen the Canarian R&D space and respond to the work of research that contribute to the socio-economic transformation of the Archipelago and the diversification of the Knowledge-based economy.

The Resolution of the 2021 call for the Predoctoral Research Personnel Training Program will allow this year the incorporation of research personnel with 25 new contracts at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 32 at the University of La Laguna; 2 in the Canary Foundation Health Research Institute (FCIIS) and 1 for the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC). In this sense, twelve theses will be financed in each of the branches: engineering and architecture, social and legal sciences, health sciences, sciences and arts and humanities.

The resolution of this early 2021 call for the Predoctoral Research Personnel Training Program was carried out last month. The amount of 5,705,547 euros, managed by the Canary Agency for Research, Innovation and Information Society, and 85% co-financed by the European Social Fund (ESF) Canarias 2014-2020, and divided into five annual payments.

With these actions, the Canary Islands are trying to make the science and research sector more attractive to Canaries, given that many are forced to emigrate or leave their research career half-way due to lack of job opportunities on earth. And it is that, until a few years ago, for example, at the ULL only one in ten doctoral theses had obtained state or regional funding. Since 2019, the number of direct contracts for these pre-doctoral students has been doubled.

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