The following is press coverage of an interview with Ricardo Raineri regarding AUI’s involvement with ICTL, translated by Google.
The former Minister of Energy, Ricardo Raineri, who also has a long career as a professor and university researcher and international consultant, was appointed by the American consortium Associated Universities Inc. (AUI) as Director of Development and responsible for executing the installation stage from the Institute of Clean Technologies (ITL).
The commercial engineer from the Catholic University, with a doctorate in economics from the University of Minnesota, participates in the Technical Working Group of the United Nations High-Level Dialogue on Energy Transition (DESA); He was also president of the International Energy Economics Association and a former member of the board of directors of the World Bank.
Today, Raineri, who has advised AUI for two years, is the most visible face of the ITL that, since its award by Corfo, at the beginning of January, has unleashed a series of questions, which he, together with the president of AUI , Adam Cohen, have led the defense of the tender.
In what foot is the conformation of the legal personality of the Institute?
We are working rapidly on all aspects of the installation of the Chilean Institute of Clean Technologies (ICTL), in accordance with what is established by Corfo in the bases and according to the schedule that we set in the proposal and it was in the award minutes. One of them is the formation of a non-profit Foundation, which will be domiciled in Antofagasta.
Is it effective, according to Pablo Terrazas, that the winning consortium has to integrate the other two that participated and were not awarded in the tender?
The ICTL award that Corfo has made to the proposal presented by AUI and 22 associates establishes as a requirement to offer universities, centers and / or institutes that have scientific and technological capabilities in Chile, and that have participated in this tender, their incorporation into the ICTL's work to strengthen the role of national actors. This is done through the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU).
However, beyond this requirement, the ICTL will operate with an open platform model, where all people and institutions that wish to participate can do so based on the merit of their proposals, in open and competitive invitations, which contribute to the success of the objectives that have been set for the ICTL. In addition, consistent with AUI's proposal to create an ITL that operates with an open platform, we are open to other universities, trade associations, companies and entities to join as ICTL associates, joining the 22 institutions that were part of the proposal. .
When and how should the members of the board of directors and the representative of a university in the north be defined?
Once the legal personality process has been completed, the members of the board of directors will be appointed. This will be made up of seven members: two directors will be representatives of State Administration bodies, a director from the universities of the North Macrozone, three directors representing the private sector of the North Macrozone, and one director will be a representative of AUI. The names (of those who do not correspond to the representatives of the State) will be chosen based on a definition of the profile sought for each quota and a broad process of consultation with partner institutions and other interest groups on ICTL development. The objective is to have a balanced and representative board of directors of the interests of the northern Macrozone, with people who, Through their professional development, they contribute to the success of the ICTL. Among its roles will be to ensure that the ICTL is faithful to its mission in accordance with what has been proposed, adopts the best practices in matters of management, access, intellectual property, transparency, ethics, gender equality and other minority groups, meritocracy , and be very efficient in the use of resources in order to maximize benefits and their impact on the northern Macrozone and the country.
What expertise do the universities of Utah and the Colorado School of Mines have in the subjects that are the central axes of the ITL?
All the universities that are part of the consortium, national and foreign, have competencies that are of great value for the success of the institute, and we hope that more universities and research centers in Chile are interested in joining this initiative, contributing from their competencies and capacities to the work of the ICTL. Certainly everyone will be able to benefit from the work that will be developed, improving our skills in specialized and advanced human capital, innovation, development and entrepreneurship within the thematic areas of the ICTL, which will make it possible to further scale the great contribution made to regional development, the north macrozone and the country.
Regarding the universities you mention, both are among the best in the world in mineral engineering and mining and everything that is related to it. They have excellent research and training programs for human capital in advanced energy systems. For example, Colorado School of Mines has a program with NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory), which is the only laboratory dependent on the United States Department of Energy dedicated to the research, development, commercialization and deployment of energy technologies. renewable and energy efficiency. Ola University of Utah, which, among others, has a Center for Global Change and Sustainability, which catalyzes research on global change and sustainability. Also, the Wilson Center is part of our consortium,
What is the motivation of AUI in the ITL, considering that it is a non-profit organization and that the advances that can be patented will be national?
AUI is an autonomous and independent non-profit corporation, which is dedicated precisely to the promotion of research, innovation, the creation and transfer of technology, the development of human capital, education and outreach. Therefore, being faithful to its mission, AUI sees in ICTL an opportunity to make a great contribution in Chile to the development of applied science and technology in the fields of sustainable mining, solar energy, the development of green hydrogen, advanced materials and lithium, allowing Chile to climb the value chain and regional competencies. We want the Institute to be an international benchmark in matters within its competence.
AUI has been in Chile since the 1990s and is known as the organization for the management of North American interests in the ALMA Observatory, with a total investment (between its construction and operation) close to US $ 1,600 million, carried out in cooperation with the Republic of Chile and in association with Japan, Taiwan, Korea, USA, Canada and 16 member states of the European Southern Observatory. Without Alma we could not have appreciated the images of a black hole; and without Chile Alma it would not have been possible. The success of the ICTL requires the joint, collaborative, and associative work of many regional, national and international actors.
Why did AUI resign part of Corfo's proposed financing of US $ 193 million?
According to the bases, SQM's contribution to the ITL is over a ten-year window, after which the ITL must be financially self-sustaining. AUI, through the ICTL, aspires to access the resources of SQM's R&D contribution in order to further multiply the positive impacts on regional development and the creation of added value in Chile for our resources. The operating model that AUI has proposed for the ITL is in charge of generating an ecosystem that will allow the ICTL to continue to gather resources from the private and public sectors and other sources of financing so that it is sustainable, its operation is guaranteed and is a reference to global level beyond the first ten years in which the contribution resources will come from SQM.
What are the challenges that the ITL should meet in 2021?
They are varied and on different fronts. For example, there is everything related to the implementation of the ICTL, which involves aspects related to the legal constitution of the Chilean non-profit entity (ICTL); its governance, such as the election of its board of directors and key personnel; opening of offices; definition of locations for laboratories and key infrastructure for applied research and technology development. Also, a set of R&D projects will be started that represents each of the three main areas of technological focus, which are integrated collaborations between the entire group of partners, connecting the work throughout the technological scaling. with clear marketing plans; In addition, open calls will be made for proposals for applied research and technology development, addressing the core innovation linked to the three main areas of technological focus of the Institute. Finally, among others, there are those linked to promoting a robust regional participation, of local actors and industry.