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Divulgación Científica - URosario

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Science and Tech

All out for research

Financing, support for scientific talent, help with dissemination, a structure to aid research management, and the development and implementation of a system for scientific integrity: the university’s expanded research program depends on these five strategies to ensure the highest standards of quality, relevance, and rigor.

  Photos by: Leonardo Parra
By: Inés Elvira Ospina


The Universidad del Rosario has increased its number of published articles over the last ten years by 297%. It increased the number of articles in Scopus-indexed journals from 69 in 2007 to 275 in 2016. Diana Carolina Velasco, head of the Research and Innovation Council says that these increases stem from the consolidation of a research culture stimulated by implicit and explicit policies maintained consistently over the course of the last two decades.

Velasco says that promoting the existence of a research ecosystem not only requires increased investment of economic resources, but also means implementing strategies for attracting and retaining talent, positioning published work in the best journals in their specific topics and areas of research, identifying calls for papers, and opportunities for financing to develop high quality research projects. All this involves academic networks that help maximize the impact of the scientific knowledge produced.

“In other words, give all our professors incentives to carry out high-quality research, the results of which will nurture courses on offer, exposing young students at the Universidad del Rosario to state-of-the-art curricula that both critiques and reflects the state of the country and the world. This is all down to the implementation of a system wth scientific integrity that aims to promote a culture of academic rigor in research, one that prioritizes respect for research subjects and objects, as well as transparency in linking research methodologies to achieving results,” she points out.

The head of the Research and Innovation Council explains how research is integrated within the different areas of the university.

Why is research important for the Universidad del Rosario?(DV)Through its mission statement and national outlook, the Universidad del Rosario has made research a cornerstone. Our studies have an impact on the life of the country and on global problems through the improvement of quality of life and health, better public policies and, in general, by making the work of the State more effective. The production of knowledge contributing to the solving of theoretical and practical problems at local and global levels is at the core of our research. One recent example is the study run by the Center for Autoimmune Disease Research (CREA), which discovered the relation between the Zika virus and Guillain-Barré Syndrome. We produce such knowledge for the benefit of society, upon which it has an immediate impact.


We carry out studies nationwide through local entities in society and in cooperation with researchers from other universities. Although our facilities are concentrated in Bogotá and Cundinamarca, we do research in every region of the country.

So the research results produced at the Universidad del Rosario circulate throughout the global scientific communities at the head of different knowledge areas, having a direct impact on the problems that trouble the country.

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When were the different strategies for strengthening research initiated? (DV)

Research has been at the heart of the University since the Center for Research and Planning was established in 1975 and strengthened in 2005 with the establishment of the Center for the Promotion of Knowledge and Innovation. It was this capacity-building framework that made it possible for the Research and Innovation Council to be established in 2016 as a necessary step toward reaching the ambitious goals of a university with great potential, and in keeping with its 2020 Institutional Development Plan.

A new approach and structure were necessary for the university to reach its ambitious goals for scientific production and its intended impact on society through research results.

We needed a new vision. The Research and Innovation Council aims to promote and strengthen research in all the areas of knowledge developed in our different academic units.


What is the strategy behind this big push?(DV) Our obsession is on providing our researchers with all possible support mechanisms in line with the best research practices, so that they can develop their skills in just the right environment.

Research products result from a process and from constant research cycles, so to make the most impact we must provide our professors with the mechanisms they need to develop more and better project proposals in their areas of study. Thus, we define five different strategies to support the research cycle through its different stages, and we also guarantee that academic units can meet their research agendas.

 

 

The production of knowledge contributing to the solving of theoretical and practical problems at local and global levels is at the core of our research

The strategies are: internal financing of research projects and initiatives; support for scientific talent, thus creating better research teams and partners; ongoing support work including the search for the most appropriate journal for publication, plus editing assistance; a system of scientific integrity that promotes scientific quality and rigor; and support for research proposals and management, whereby we help in finding opportunities, calls for papers, and external financing, among other things. We are already seeing results: In 2016, 50% of our scientific articles were published in Q1 journals, which are the most highlyranked and widely circulated in the world.

When the quantity of production is increased, sometimes quality suffers. How do you get round this problem? (DV) It’s not just a question of getting published in indexed journals, but of knowing whether the the material is being read and proving useful to others. Quantity is very important to the university but it must be high quality. This effort shows up in our firstplace position in the Scimago 2016 ranking, which takes an overall balance of quantity and quality in scientific publications.

We are a medium-sized university, but we have a large volume of scientific production for our size, and it is generally of high quality. A little more than 12% of our publications were among the 10% most cited worldwide, so the knowledge that is being produced at the University has a significant impact on the world’s scientific agenda.

Why is the number of publications important to someone who is choosing a university? DV) If our professors play important roles in the scientific community, the University offers an assurance that it has teaching staff of the highest quality, acknowledged by the scientific community, and who are producing new results in their fields. So we can certainly be more confident that what they impart in class will reflect the latest knowledge in their fields, thus guaranteeing that our students will acquire the best tools for learning how to do research, and that they have access to the latest trends in their subject areas.
 

 
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