Southern Science

I recently had the pleasure of attending an international summit for young bio-leaders of the future. My fellow attendees (including 4 Chileans out of a total of a 100 guests picked worldwide – a fact that admittedly filled me with pride) formed a diverse, rowdy and interesting crowd. The speaker selection was more conservative and homogeneous. A very wide range of biotechnology-related topics were discussed, from anti-aging techniques to patent managing to sustainability, but even with such a wide spectrum of talks, I saw a pattern emerging.

Every story the speakers (deans, professors, C-ranked executives) told happened in Europe or the US, in the biotechnology clusters located there. When they talked about developing countries, they were referring to China and India, who have a pretty comfortable advantage over my home country, as they are placed second and tenth in the UN’s list of countries by GDP for 2012. (Chile ranked 36 and we should have probably thrown a party.) Over the course of the summit, the talks focused on the EU or US and China and India for the “exotic” factor; the rest of the world was not mentioned.

Originally written for Nature Biotechnology. Check out the full post in the Trade Secrets Blog.

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