“A Ciencia Cierta” – public participation for science
Author: Angela Bonilla
“A Ciencia Cierta” is a public participation programme of Colombia’s Administrative Department of Science, Technology and Innovation, COLCIENCIAS, that recognizes the best experiences developed by the communities in themes of science, technology and innovation, that solve a solution to a specific problem and that can be communicated, shared and replicated by other Colombians for the benefit of their social groups, though a social knowledge appropriation process.
This contest was designed in seven phases for the citizens to recognize the importance of CTel as a tool for the development of their territories through a solution to their regional and sectorial issues. Its methodology promotes collective participation, interaction and collaboration, to understand and use CTel, and through communication and social knowledge appropriation generate innovations that empower communities, consolidating networks between local groups, organizations and individuals interested in knowledge development and production around social appropriation of science, technology and innovation.
2015Â´s version of this contest deals with the topic of ” Agricultural production for Food Safety”, in which community-based organizations of the whole country participate nominating their experiences in one of the three established thematic areas: water and soil management, harvesting management and agriculture and livestock production systems, post-harvest and transformation (value added). The best 20 experiences chosen by Colombians through national public vote will receive a prize of 50 million pesos with technical and scientific assistance from Colciencias to strengthen them.
The first version of this contest took place between 2013 and 2014 with great technical and institutional experiences. The result of the contest was of great impact, even more when it was the first time that we faced the Colombian population in a direct way.
In that opportunity we worked the subject of Water as a Vital Resource, in which 141 experiences were enrolled from all over the country. 52 of them met the requirements and passed to be voted by more than 15 thousand Colombians, which led us to recognize and reward the best 10 experiences. These received between 20 and 80 million pesos to finance and strengthen technical support and assistance by the region’s researchers, who supported their neighbouring communities to define strengths and improvements. In its first version, “A Ciencia Cierta”, directly contributed to benefit 16 thousand Colombian people who could finally have access to drinking water for their use.