Marine Biotechnology Central and South America summary

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Overarching science strategies, plans and policies

Brazil and Chile have national biotechnology plans. Chile also has a national Innovation Plan (2012-2014). Argentina’s Law 26270 focuses on building the economy through facilitating biotechnology enterprise. Mexico has PECiTI (the national Science, Technology & Innovation programme), and a National Development Plan 2007-2012. No country has a marine biotechnology strategy, but Brazil carries out strategic R&D through a specific programme BIOMAR, established in 2005, and Costa Rica has an institute to manage the exploration and use of biodiversity, INBio, established in 1989.

Research funding schemes and programmes

National schemes and programmes, with the exception of Brazil’s BIOMAR, are generic, though many of them do support marine biotechnology. BIOMAR began road-mapping marine biotechnology in Brazil in 2007. It is a good case study for national marine biotechnology support programmes. Marine biodiscovery is recognized in Costa Rica’s Bioprospecting programme (1991).

Research priorities

The focus is very broad, including biodiscovery, bioenergy, bioremediation and biofouling. In Chile, there is also activity in molecular aquaculture, because of the importance of this sector to the economy. There are numerous universities and research centres involved in marine biotechnology in Brazil, Chile and Mexico.

Infrastructures and coordination and support capacities/initiatives

The best examples of academic infrastructure and support are to be found in Brazil, the government-funded networks RedeAlgas (macroalgae), Rede interinstitucional de algas bentônicas (microalgae) and Rede Brasileira de Tecnologia de Biodiesel (biodiesel).

The Mesoamerican Reef Alliance and the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System Project brought countries in Central America together to help reduce human damage to the reefs and encourage sustainable use. The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System runs from Yucatán in Mexico down to Honduras, and includes Belize, Guatemala, Nicaragua and northern Costa Rica in the associated waters. The project ended 2007.

Disclaimer

This draft summary is based on available online information sources and contributions from various country experts and stakeholders. It does not aim nor claim to be complete or final, but should be considered as a dynamic and living information resource that will be elaborated, updated and improved as more information becomes available, including further inputs from experts and stakeholders.

The information on this page is based on information initially compiled by Meredith Lloyd-Evans (BioBridge) as part of the CSA MarineBiotech Project activities (2011-2013).