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Cablegate: Argentine Minister of Science and Technology

VZCZCXYZ0001
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBU #0823/01 1691728
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 171728Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1346
INFO RUCNMER/MERCOSUR COLLECTIVE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 000823

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

FOR STAS DR. NINA FEDEROFF FROM AMBASSADOR TONY WAYNE
WHA FOR ASSISTANT SECRETARY TOM SHANNON - FYI

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: TSPL TSPA PREL SENV SCUL AR
SUBJECT: ARGENTINE MINISTER OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
TRAVELING TO WASHINGTON JULY 7-9, 2008

REF: A. BUENOS AIRES 0273

B. 06 BUENOS AIRES 2580

1. This telegram is sensitive but unclassified, and not for
Internet distribution.

-------
Summary
-------

2. (SBU) Argentine Minister of Science and Technology Lino
Baranao (Ba-ran-yow) will visit Washington July 7-9, and he
hopes to meet with you during that trip. I believe you would
find such a meeting useful, as Baranao has indicated on a
number of occasions his willingness and desire to expand
Argentina's science and technology cooperation with the U.S.
That cooperation has traditionally been strong, especially in
areas such as space and nuclear energy, and Argentina is
reaching a sufficiently high level of attainment in other
fields that enhanced cooperation offers the possibility of
real utility for both sides. Tom Shannon will be leading a
delegation to Argentina in July for the first round of newly
revived bilateral consultations; science and technology
cooperation will be on the agenda. End Summary.

-----------------------------
Changing a Scientific Culture
-----------------------------

3. (SBU) My discussions with Baranao, who is Argentina's
first Minister of Science and Technology, have focused on a
central theme: Baranao's admiration for U.S. scientific
culture, and how he hopes to convince Argentina's scientists
and researchers to think more like their U.S. counterparts.
Specifically, Baranao wants Argentine scientists and research
institutions to better capitalize on their ideas. Baranao's
principal complaint is that the Argentine scientific
establishment still finds something discreditable about
making money. Baranao's mission, as he put it to me, is to
make publicly-funded researchers "understand that they have a
moral obligation to make money" to generate jobs and wealth
for Argentina.

4. (SBU) Baranao is well-placed to effect such a change, as
he has some manner of control over much of Argentina's
scientific research. The Argentine state research
organization (CONICET), over which Baranao has authority,
pays at least a portion of the salaries of all
university-based researchers. CONICET boasts over 4,500
full-time researchers and over 5,000 doctoral or
post-doctoral fellows. Baranao is therefore THE person with
whom to meet for an understanding of Argentina's science and
technology achievements and aspirations.

--------------------------------------
Next Steps in the Bilateral S&T Agenda
--------------------------------------

5. (SBU) WHA Assistant Secretary Tom Shannon will be visiting
Buenos Aires soon after Baranao's visit to the U.S., and one
of the items on Shannon's agenda will be how to move forward
on our bilateral S&T cooperation. Tom met with Baranao
during his latest visit to Buenos Aires. Our S&T cooperation
has traditionally been strong, especially in the areas of
space and nuclear technology, but Argentina has real
potential in other critical fields as well (e.g.,
biotechnology, nanotechnology, and information technology).
We recently organized a meeting between Baranao and U.S
high-tech, biotech, and pharmaceutical companies to discuss
improving cooperation between the public and private sectors
here. A meeting between you and Baranao would therefore be
an excellent way to begin a deeper engagement that has real
potential to benefit both countries. That Baranao is a
friend of the U.S. and an admirer of our scientific culture
makes enhanced bilateral S&T cooperation a natural, and I
hope that your meeting will spur that result.

-----------------
Bio: Lino Baranao
-----------------

6. (U) Dr. Lino Baranao is Argentina's first Minister of
Science and Technology. He was appointed by Argentine
President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner in 2007.

He has a PhD in chemical sciences and undertook postgraduate
studies at the Max Planck Institute in Germany, and in the
National Institutes of Health in Bethesda and the M.S.
Hershey Medical Centre (Penn St. University) in the U.S. His
English is excellent.

Baranao held a number of positions in Argentina's state
research council CONICET. He was a Principal Investigator of
that body and Director of its Reproductive Biology and Animal
Biotechnology Laboratory. He has also occupied positions in
the University of Buenos Aires.

Baranao has published over 50 articles in international
journals, and directed five doctoral theses.
WAYNE

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