science under the microscope
Latin American and Caribbean nations prepare for a major
conference on Science, Technology and Innovation for Sustainable
just how much of a 'science culture' is there in the Caribbean?
All Caribbean nations, both individually
and through Caricom, recognize they will have to make major
progress in absorbing and applying S&T to improve their
populations' standard of living. [More]
Modest R&D expenditure
Gross expenditure on R&D (GERD) is modest
(see table). Statistics show that the amount of funds actually
available to R&D is proportionate to the tiny size of
the Caribbean economies.
a long way to go in scholarly output
The scholarly publication rates of research
institutions outside the academic sector are insignificant.
difficulties for R&D
The most serious difficulties
are lack of funding, inability to attract and keep quality
staff, and poor working conditions, including with regard
to salaries, maintenance of equipment and staff development
drain expected to rise
The challenge of migration
affects the Caribbean greatly. For example, in the years
1991-2000, Jamaica saw some 20 000-25 000 (close to 1% of
the population) emigrate each year, according to the Planning
Institute of Jamaica (2000). Some 11-15% of those migrating
have skills or professions which might include S&T fields.
of motivation unchecked for too long
There are also minor problems,
such as poor staff retention, lack of a systemic approach
to staff development, lack of short-term research attachments,
recruitment difficulties in competitive areas like information
technology and a seeming lack of motivation among some researchers
which has gone unchecked for too long.
the Caribbean's voice heard
There are three regional
scientific organizations in existence: the Caribbean Academy
of Sciences, Cariscience (see box) and the Caribbean Council
of Science and Technology.