Thinking about “Phase II” of the STI
If any given program causes discontent among the participating stakeholders, it obviously has design and implementation issues. This is the case of the
Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Fund of the General Royalty System (SGR in Spanish). After 3 years of operations, different voices are heard requesting a review or adjustment of the Fund. Even though changes to the Legislation Act that originated it, or to its regulatory decrees1 can be made, this
policy brief makes suggestions guided towards the improvement of certain procedures and institutional capacities at different levels, based on an analysis of the operation of the Fund, and its challenges and issues.
As Dr. Moises Wasserman, the former rector of the Universidad Nacional de Colombia stated, STI royalty resources are similar to the tale of Aladdin’s lamp.
For many years, academics and scientists have asked for more STI resources, and finally when their wish came true, it was not what they expected. What they got were resources distributed at a regional level not associated to STI capacities, and a negotiation scheme ran by provincial governments and politicians, and therefore tied to the political rhythms of each region; but above all, there was a considerable increase in the transaction costs in order to achieve financial support for research and innovation projects.
What we all agree on is that the creation of the Fund is the most significant change in the history of science, technology and innovation in the country,
not only due to the amount of resources available for funding2, but because it changed the institutional structure of STI, and its ways of operation, ground
rules, objectives, policy formulation processes, and resource allocation mechanisms and decision making, among other aspects.