The projects, which undergo prior evaluation by experts to verify their viability and utility, are registered in a program to support national technological inventions and to boost innovation and research.
On Thursday, the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Jorge Arreaza, announced that over $1.7 million was allocated to fund 55 more projects.
The projects were financed by public and private companies with gross annual incomes of over $20 million in the previous fiscal year. The contributions vary from half a percent to two percent of the companies’ incomes, according to articles 25 and 26 of the Organic Law of Science, Technology and Innovation.
“Let’s remember that the collection of these contributions has become more efficient since the Science Law was reformed [in 2011], because this obligation that companies have used to be disguised with reinvestment mechanisms that made it impossible to support our technologists and innovators. And the issue of patents also complicated the sharing of knowledge,” Arreaza said.
The minister said that this year’s goal was to collect over $460 million, and it was exceeded this month.
Beyond improving the collection of funds for the National Fund for Science, Technology and Innovation (FONACIT), the reformed Science Law helps include people who may lack academic diplomas but can still contribute their potential and knowledge to the development of the country.
“I have made all the machines in my bakery”
Alexis Mejias, a 42-year-old baker, is one example of an unlikely recipient of the funds. Mejías had just a high school diploma when he showed the authorities of the Science Ministry his own prototypes: bread dough mixers and molders.
“I have made a lot of things; I made all the machinery for my bakery in Boconó. My dad was a blacksmith, a repairman and had many tools which helped us to know about this,” said Mejias, who received $16.9 million to develop his project.
Minister Arreaza said: “There are a lot of Venezuelans just like him, a lot of them, who need support to make their ideas a reality. We are identifying projects that respond to real needs for the development of our country.”
AVN / Press Office- Venezuelan Embassy to the U.S. / June 29, 2012