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Binational Innovation Nodes: a new impetus for innovation in Mexico

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(December 19, Mexico City) During the presentation of the first Binational Innovation Nodes (NOBI) —an event organized by the National Council of Science and Technology at the facilities of the Universidad Anáhuac del Norte— the CEO of FUMEC, Guillermo Fernández de la Garza, made a presentation on the first I-Corps Mexico pilot program that took place in the first quarter of 2015 and acknowledged CONACYT's support for this program.

During his presentation, Fernandez de la Garza said that collaborating with the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the United States has always been one of the lines of action of FUMEC. "We have always been very vigilant to see how to induce further collaboration with the NSF," he said.

The director pointed out that Mexico has not always taken advantage of the neighborhood with the United States or the work being done in shared production chains in sectors such as automotive and aerospace “that are key for both countries, and where we could do much more together”.

He said that while working with the different members of the NSF it was possible to map out the structures of this organization seeing the programs that could have more impact in Mexico, which allowed “to build a scaffolding of relationships that in the long run has been extremely valuable.”

He recalled that more than five years ago, the I-Corps program director, Babu DasGupta, recommended that Mexico pay more attention to this program and "it was then that we started to see if we could put together something similar in Mexico. Fortunately, we had a lot of support from CONACYT who understood that there was a very good opportunity with this program, and we were able to take advantage of the support of INADEM and the Ministry of Economy, and thus defined the possibility of a pilot project that also had the support of the Embassy of the United States".

For that first pilot, he explained, about 50 applications were received, of which 16 teams were chosen, who worked on their projects with a group of advisers from the United States, and during the process, several Mexicans who played an important role as evaluators of the process, which began this program in Mexico.

Fernández De la Garza stressed that I-Corps is not a mechanism for innovation, but "it is one of the mechanisms that are most likely to have a great impact on the economy through the good results of the research."

In the United States, he said, "mechanisms have been created for the interaction between the nodes to generate a national network of innovation, and that can also arise in Mexico as a next stage of the nodes that are created today, which will stimulate that I-Corps has a great impact in Mexico," he concluded.

 

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