UK Science and Innovation Network Country Snapshot – Chile

Summary: An introductory brief from the UK Science and Innovation Network which covers the local Science and Innovation landscape, UK priorities and successes in Chile.

Chile Science and Innovation Landscape

R&D Investment:

Chile is one of the newest members to join the OECD and is behind leading science countries in terms of science infrastructure and investment in research and development (R&D). It is however a leader in the Latin American region and has pockets of science infrastructure that are genuinely world-class.

To close the gap with other OECD members, the Chilean government established a new Ministry of Science, Technology, Knowledge and Innovation in 2018. One of the key objectives is to transition from Chile’s current natural resource export-led model (Chile is one of the world’s largest exporters of copper, lithium and molybdenum) to a system that can also utilize these natural resources to develop new technologies and generate more research.

Most of the R&D expenditure in Chile is currently undertaken by the government, through two funding agencies: CORFO (the Chilean industrial innovation promotion agency) and ANID (the national agency of research and development). In 2018, expenditure on R&D accounted for 0.35% of GDP in Chile, well below the OECD average of 2.4%. The long-term objective is to increase the R&D expenditure to 2.5% by 2030 and to reach the private/public investment ratio of other OECD countries. The private sector currently plays a modest role in financing and performing R&D activities.

The December 2020 announcement by Microsoft to locate a new data research centre in Chile as part of a $11.3 billion investment estimated to add 51,000 new jobs over the next four years is a major boost for this strategy. The centre will build upon Chile’s existing strengths in data analysis, linked to its world-class astronomy infrastructure. The Atacama Large Millimetre/submillimetre Array (ALMA) is a system of 66 radio telescopes in the Atacama Desert, utilising the regions high elevation and low humidity which makes it one of the leading radio telescope arrays in the world.

Much of the