Enrique Cabrero, Director General of CONACYT, spoke to Mexico Health Review about Mexico’s potential and capabilities for R&D.
Q: Last year, you mentioned the creation of a consortium of translational medicine. What are its main objectives?
A: The goal of the consortium is to bring together many different projects to promote the advance of translational medicine. Through the consortium, institutions that perform high-quality research or engage in technological development can work together with companies. Our partners are UNAM, its research centers and the National Institutes of Health. The latter have the highest research productivity in terms of papers published in the best scientific journals in the world.
Q: How can CONACYT attract more research projects and companies to Mexico?
A: Our tax incentives program attracts private investment in R&D. Through this program, companies present a project that is evaluated by experts from SHCP and CONACYT. If approved, the company is granted a 30 percent tax credit to be used within the next 10 years. This project is gaining strength among large and medium-sized companies, which are already generating their own R&D infrastructure in Mexico.
We notice how foreign companies are increasingly interested in working with us. These companies often consult CONACYT about places where they can establish their business and how to acquire talent.
Q: What are the main challenges to turn Mexico into a knowledge-based economy?
A: Mexico is trying to become a knowledge-based economy, but we have discovered that the window of opportunity to do so is small. Mexico must choose the six or eight sectors in which it will invest to make its mark on the world and both biotechnology and biomedical sciences should be priorities.
Q: What are the main challenges the healthcare system will face in the coming years? How can CONACYT support the sector?
A: During the 1970s, Mexico was praised by the international community for its excellent results in birth control. However, the effectiveness of this policy now shows its negative side, since the age of the population will change in a very short period of time. This will require a complete change of Mexico’s healthcare system as it will have to focus on the elderly geriatrics.
This is a fragment of the complete interview published on Mexico Health Review 2018. For more information on this publication and where to find it, please click here.