Daiane Batista and Eliane Bardanachvili (CEE/ Fiocruz)
Science, technology and innovation to create resiliency, recover the planet from the impacts of COVID-19 and prepare it to face future health crises, including the ones resulting from environmental problems. This was the focus of the Global Sustainable Technology and Inovation Conference (G-Stic), an international reference in the debate that relates science, technology and innovation to the 2030 Agenda, which took place in Dubai from January 17th to 19th, 2022. Fiocruz takes part in it since 2019, through Fiocruz Strategy for the 2030 Agenda (EFA 2030), being invited by G-Stic to be a cohost of the event along with other international research institutions.
Paulo Gadelha, Fiocruz’s former president, is coordinator of EFA 2030 and leads the planning of the session on Health at G-Stic
At the 2022 edition, the Foundation was responsible of organizing the session about Health, with panels that addressed themes such as technological solutions to face health crises and their impacts; the role of environmental and social technologies in enhancing the resiliency to global health crises; vaccines and diagnose technologies; and tools for facing sanitary challenges; gathering researchers from the institution and from other organizations and countries.
“Nowadays, we have Science, Technology and Innovation as a key to think about any process in the field of development and social transformation. But Science, Technology and Innovation was not explicitly part of the 2030 Agenda”, analyzes Paulo Gadelha, Fiocruz’s former president and coordinator of EFA 2030, who leads the planning of the session on Health at G-Stic. “It was when we discussed mechanisms to implement the Agenda that Brazil proposed, along with other countries, that Science, Technology and Innovation should be considered fundamental to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)”.
Paulo Gadelha describes that this initiative resulted in a procedure called Technological Facility Mechanism (TFM), that addresses technology through the lenses of sustainability, concerning accessibility and a combination of social, economical and environmental goals. “Even if innovation is relevant, it doesn’t have an ethical, social and environmental directive at first, turning itself to public assets or to the goals set at the 2030 Agenda. Therefore, we need mechanisms to make science, technology and innovation go towards the field of sustainability”, explains the former president of Fiocruz. “G-Stic started to work in this indicative, with an emphasis in more mature technologies, which means the ones that are already on the market or are about to be released”.
Recognition and protagonism
Paulo Gadelha explains that Fiocruz’s performance as a cohost of the conference, initially, by elaborating thematic axes about health, brought recognition and protagonism to the field and also to the Foundation. “Fiocruz was able to reveal itself in full form to the new field of collaboration, in what it brings in an outstanding fashion: the relations between science, technology and innovation, development and the social field, which is our principle that gives a sense to the institution’s trajectory”, he adds.
G-stic’s 2022 session on health kept the same structure as the last editions, consisting in a plenary session, headed by Paulo Gadelha, which discussed the incorporation of health technologies in the context of the 2030 Agenda and the fight against COVID-19, and three deep dive sessions on health technologies. “It is very relevant that health is now part of the Conference, which is a reference in thinking about connections between development and technology” says Paulo Gadelha.
As he explains, the plenary session covered current discussions about facing COVID-19 and about how to direct researches in this scenario. In the deep dive sessions, Paulo Gadelha highlights the one that had roadmaps as a theme, which are tools that define routes to be followed and a set of chronologically ordered tasks for the accomplishment of a project. The session talked about how roadmaps can be used in the control and prevention of future epidemics. “Besides making analysis, we need to set processes routes, defining what we want to achieve and its complexity, along with monitoring and indicators” he states.
According to the coordinator of the Center for Strategic Studies of Fiocruz (CEE/Fiocruz), Carlos Gadelha, G-Stic is a place to think about the combination of innovation, universal welfare systems and a new pattern of national development, “those are essential trademarks of the CEE, in a global context that requires technology and innovation to be in favor of life”, as he defines. “It reflects the perspective of strategic action integrated between the national and global dimensions of development”, Carlos Gadelha analyzes. He was part of the panel "Vaccine and diagnostic technologies in response to health crises", moderated by Maurício Zuma, director of Immunobiological Technology Institute (Biomanguinhos). “At Fiocruz, this path represents an elevated convergence between the strategic vision developed at the CEE, the 2030 Agenda and recent strategic guidelines at Fiocruz’s Internal Congress” he highlights.
Among the participants of the panels was the Vice President of Production and Innovation in Health at Fiocruz, Marco Krieger; the Vice President of Management and Institutional Development, Mario Moreira; and researcher Douglas Augusto. In addition to the session on Health, other nine thematic sessions were part of G-Stic, all related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG): Climate, Education, Energy, Food, Oceans, Circular Economy, Information Technology and Communication, and Youth.
G-Stic is held since 2017 and consists of a series of global conferences aimed at searching for, disseminating and accelerating the development and application of sustainable technological solutions from the economical and social point of view, aiming at the implementation of the SDGs. With the support of the United Nations, G-Stic gathers a community of specialists that are “action-oriented”.
Fiocruz participates in the G-Stic since 2017 and, on 2019, it became a cohost of the event, in an initiative of Paulo Gadelha and EFA 2030. At the 2022 edition, Fiocruz acted along with the following partners: VITO, the biggest Belgian research institution on clean technologies and sustainable development, which anchors the Conference; African Centre for Technology Studies (Acts); Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IITD) and The Energy and Resources Institute (Teri).
From 2018 on, G-Stic was stablished as a meeting point and global platform aimed at integrated emerging, transforming technological solutions, with potential to impact the accomplishment of the SDGs and climate goals. The 2020 edition of the Conference gathered 3.7 thousand participants from 140 countries, bringing attention to how science, technology and innovation were challenged during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as were recognized as an essential part of the solution for the current and future events. Then, it became clear that technology by itself does not replace or compensate other public health measures, but it has more and more a critical role in the response to emergencies.
“COVID-19 became a central reference to think about all issues, including technology and innovation” states Paulo Gadelha. “There is a rich debate about what COVID brought to the innovation system, more broadly, to Science, Technology and Innovation, about the capacity of response in this field. Some were extremely positive, such as the development of safe, effective vaccines in a short time. It relates to the context in which TFM and the G-Stic work: so that it could happen, there were innovations in cutting-edge technology, genetics, big data and artificial intelligence that were already in progress when trying to develop the vaccines for MERS and SARS”, he adds, reminding that the innovation also covered regulatory and funding aspects.
G-Stic 2023 at Fiocruz
The next edition of the G-Stic will be at Fiocruz in February, 2023. “It will be a great opportunity for Fiocruz to work both in general G-stic themes, and thematic and regional issues related to Latin America and the Caribbean, and to assert the protagonism of the Foundation in the connection between Science, Technology and Innovation and the 2030 Agenda”, highlights Paulo Gadelha.