"I think the level of the speakers, the new 'C3 Challenge', the participation of students with posters, are definitely important achievements of the conference. It was also an experience of teamwork that showed leadership and organizational skills of community members, such as Catalina Gerstmann (C3 coordinator)," says Nicolas Bambach, president of the Chilean Student Association in UC Davis (UCD Chile), one of the largest abroad with more than 60 present members. In general, all sections targeted the conference theme: "Imagining the future, creating it together."
Catalina, also part of the UC Davis Chile team, says that we received lots of proposals posters. Only18 representatives of various disciplines such as education, psychology, neuroscience, agriculture, ecology and engineering presented. The poster awarded $250 USD (about $175,000) was that of Francisco Rojo, from UC Davis, and was about improving irrigation and management of tree tops (canopy) of almonds and walnuts using sensors. Lorena Parra, a doctoral student at UC Davis, was also awarded the prize for the first version of the C3 Challenge with its project to genetically improve Murtilla (a Chilean wild berry) to increase consumption in Chile. The aim of this competition was to present initiatives and projects that will positively impact society and the environment.
"We need to see more work from young people, and spaces like the C3 Challenge help. It was certainty interesting, but needs to mature. We still have a bit to believe in us. I think that's why the call was not as successful as in the case of posters," said Bambach, who is completing his PhD in atmospheric sciences.
Another initiative that debuted this year was the "Expo" of entrepreneurs and institutions working in innovation, technology transfer and collaboration between both regions. They participated in the UC Davis Chile exhibition- an innovation center that launched this year in our country; the Chile California Council, the WiseConn and BioFiltro companies; Agora Social Innovations, a group of students and alumni entrepreneurs Davis; the Public Intellectual Property Resource for Agriculture (PIPRA ) and the Child Family Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship .
The 'classic' sections were plenaries, which represent the most relevant areas of work of the institutions involved in C3: Agricultural biotechnology, in the case of UC Davis; Educational reform, UC Berkele; and applied technology and innovation, by Stanford. This year a new participant was incorporated: UC Santa Cruz.
In the afternoon three workshops were conducted in parallel. "Agricultural Biotechnology in Chile" was led by Monica Alandete of PIPRA and Science and Technology Transfer Associate of UC Davis Chile. "It was interesting to moderate the workshop with Farcuh Macarena (doctoral candidate at UC Davis), as the subject covered is relatively controversial among researchers in Chile and elsewhere in the world. The investigators who participated were very dynamic, allowing the open exchange of views on the use and introduction of genetically modified crops trade. Reasons for and against, argued benefits and risks, " said Dr. Alandete.
She added: "In my opinion it is fantastic that Chilean researchers in California are able to meet annually, that way can raise awareness and promote for science to carried out abroad, while facilitating a meeting that triggers possible collaborations between them in California, and on their return to Chile. These conferences are also extremely important for organizations or institutions that wish to directly contact the Chilean community of young researchers to send a specific message since it offers the opportunity to reach all of them simultaneously, as was the case of UC Davis Chile participating in C3".
Two other workshops were "Inclusion in the Chilean educational system", by PhD students Graciela Perez of the University of Stanford and Patricio Dominguez, UC Berkeley and "Clean technologies and re-use of wastewater in the agricultural industry" by Mai Ann Healy, Regional Manager of BioFiltro and Tomas Mosquera, a doctoral candidate at UC Davis.
As for the future of relations between Chile and California, Dr. Jarvis esteems they are promising: "I am deeply excited about the mutual collaborations that are currently being promoted by the California Council Chile- and many other organizations and individuals- will continue to grow in number and impact. President Bachelet and Governor Brown signed (last September) a joint statement indicating their desire to promote mutually beneficial activities in an attractive set of initiatives focused on climate change, but including many other natural resource issues. This will further boost collaboration between Chile and California."