One of the main challenges of regional innovation and research systems in Latin America is the articulation and collaborative work of their actors to link their strengths and needs in collaborative projects. What are search conferences and how they could reduce this gap.

One of the main objectives of the I2latam project is the development of research, development and innovation (R+D+i) management capacities in young universities in Latin America through links and interaction with key regional actors.

To this end, through the first proposed work package (WP1), the identification of opportunities is carried out, which brings together the R&D&I trends and needs of strategic actors such as companies, the state and society. In parallel, the capacities and strengths of the universities are identified in order to define a strategic area of action in accordance with their potential.

This exercise will make it possible to link the academic research agenda -built on the basis of the capacities identified- with the R&D&I needs of different sectors of the environment. This work should crystallise with the implementation of collaborative projects between institutions of different types.

To meet this challenge, in the framework of the second i2latam work package (WP2): Structuring spaces for interaction with regional actors, the development of Search Conferences is proposed under the leadership of Daniel Samoilovich, expert consultant in higher education management at MOVERIM Consulting (Brussels).

It is a planning method for developing bridges and collaborative initiatives between various stakeholders through a shared vision.

One of the main protagonists for its development are the Champions: specialists related to the strategic areas determined by the universities and who possess a high degree of knowledge of their environment, as well as skills and abilities to work collaboratively with different organisations.

In this way, it is proposed to select and interview the main stakeholders. In order to do this, a prior analysis of the value chain to which the actors involved belong must be carried out, with the aim of proposing potentially beneficial project ideas based on situations of trust.

Projects under development

In a working meeting held in the framework of the project and with the presence of renowned researchers Juan Martín Quiroga, from the National University of Rio Negro (UNRN); and Georges Blanc, professor emeritus of strategic management at HEC Paris (France), important aspects on the application of search conferences in the collaborative projects developed by the 9 Latin American universities members of the consortium were discussed.

The Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla (Mexico) and its project focused on raising food safety awareness among parents and school children. In this respect, Georges Blanc indicated that the food safety sector is by nature interdisciplinary. Bringing together various actors from the public and private sector in the project activities would increase its strengths and impact on the community, which is one of the objectives of the I2LATAM project and motivates all partners to seek such synergies.