Mexico's Secretariat of Energy (SENER), the National Council on Science and Technology (CONACYT) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), supported by the Government of South Korea, have recently announced a joint contest to fund applied research and technological development projects on sustainable energy, with a total prize of $2.5 million.
On June 9, SENER's Subsecretary of Energy Planning and Technological Development, Sergio M. Alcocer Martínez de Castro, and IDB Representative in Mexico, Ellis Juan, signed a Memorandum of Understanding for mutual cooperation and collaboration in common interest areas. At the meeting, they also agreed that the contest jointly organized by the Sustainable Energy Fund (FSE, for its acronym in Spanish) and the IDB´s IDEAS Energy Innovation program, will support scientific research and applied technology initiatives.
This joint contest aims to strengthen the institutional capacity of academic and scientific communities through the creation of regional alliances between researchers and the private sector, with projects focused on the adoption, innovation, assimilation, development and transfer of technologies related to renewable energy sources and energy efficiency. The contest is intended to focus on ideas that have local or regional impact, while supporting the development of sustainable economies and reducing poverty.
Participants may apply for up to $200,000 in research funding. In the case of proposals submitted by eligible Mexican institutions, the participants may request up to $400,000, so long as the project is submitted in partnership with another institution from any country in the region that is also a member of the IDB.
According to the contest rules, the proposals must be submitted between September 15 and October 31, 2011. This contest is expected to have a direct impact on the academic and scientific community of the energy sector, both on account of the construction of capacity and the development of projects that will improve the competitiveness of energy technologies.
Simple innovations can have a dramatic effect on the way businesses and markets operate in the region, and countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have great potential for the development of economically and environmentally sustainable projects in renewable energy and energy efficiency. Local innovation and the adaptation of existing technologies to local circumstances are key to boosting the competitive supply of renewable energy services and tackling environmental concerns, according to the contest organizers.