Three research conducted by scientists from Cochabamba universities win first place in three of seven categories in the 2019 Plurinational Prize for Science and Technology, organized by the Vice Ministry of Science and Technology, under the Ministry of Education of the Plurinational State of Bolivia.
These studies were chosen from among 31 finalist investigations that remained in competition after a rigorous evaluation process of 72 that were submitted nationwide to the contest.
The three winning research – in the area of ??health, technology and agricultural development – were carried out in a collaborative and complementary way, two of them between two universities and the third between a university and a company.
The Plurinational Prize for Science and Technology “is a recognition that the State gives to all those researchers, scientists and / or technologists who contribute to the social, economic and / or productive development of the country,” according to a statement from the Vice Ministry of Science and Technology
In addition to the first three places, in this version, three other Cochabamba research achieved second places; another, a third place, and four more projects, honorable mentions.
Of the evaluation
The 31 finalist projects that were presented in this management were exhibited in Tarija and an evaluation committee chose the winners of the seven categories last Tuesday night.
Content quality and presentation; contributions of the project in the generation of scientific and technological knowledge, and the contribution to the improvement of the sector where the project is applied were the three evaluation criteria on which the rating committee was based.
The winners agreed that this award is a recognition of the effort they made in research that is a contribution to society.
Of the proyects
“Low-cost laser fluorescence inverted microscope printed in 3D and based on smartphones” was the first project winner in the category of health and medicine industry, carried out by researchers Omar Ormachea and Alex Villazón – both from the Bolivian Private University (UPB) – and Patricia Rodríguez of the Universidad Mayor de San Simón (UMSS).
“This microscope can be used in hospitals and health centers, especially in peri-urban and rural areas, since it would be impossible to equip them with conventional equipment because they are very expensive. The cost of the developed microscope, compared with similar commercial microscopes, is reduced by more than 90 percent, ”the researchers explain.
In addition, they consider that, having been fully developed in Bolivia, it can be adapted to the needs of society.
In the area of ??information and communication technologies, the research on “Effects of attenuation due to atmospheric gases and rain in the Ka band above 4,000 meters of altitude in satellite communications with the Túpac Katari satellite” obtained first place. This study was developed by the UPB researchers: Gustavo Siles, Marcelo Vilela, Daniel Chirinos and Gustavo Marín; and Miguel Heredia of the Bolivian Space Agency (ABE).
“This study allows knowledge transfer directly to the Bolivia Special Agency, who manage and provide telecommunications services with the TKSat-1 satellite,” explains Siles.
He notes that the results presented can serve his technical team as a reference to improve the design and operation of satellite links for the Ka-band Internet service that they currently provide.
The third project “Development of a model and methodology for the implementation of agroforestry systems based on participatory processes: 10 case studies” was prepared by a team of more than 15 people from the Universidad Católica Boliviana San Pablo (UCB) and the UMSS, among them Mauricio Azero (principal investigator) and Tania Ricaldi (associate researcher).
Azero explains that the research, with more than two years of work, is part of the “agroforestry” approach, which consists of introducing certain trees in the middle of the crops to reduce the impact of pests on agriculture, improve fertility and control soil erosion, among others.
The team evaluated 10 agroforestry experiences to collect lessons from them.
The evaluation committee was made up of leading researchers from Bolivian universities and public institutions of recognized experience.