Colombia has a solid National System of Science and Technology (SNCyT, by its acronym in Spanish), despite few researchers and innovators, and a small and instable public budget for research and innovation. The national agency, Colciencias, was created in 1968 and the system was created by law in 1991. The SNCyT is conceived as an open non-exclusionary space, composed by various programmes, agents, and activities. The system is organized in three levels: national, regional, and sectoral and there are councils at each level where the coordination of policies should happen. All bodies are collegiate based on Sábato’s Triangle, where three groups of actors (government, academia and industry), properly articulated should be able to define strategy in science and technology (S&T). The main objective is to analyze the impact of Sábato’s Triangle on the development of the Colombian SNCyT, using sociological and communication perspectives. The Councils of the National Programmes of S&T are the heart, where the management of S&T activities occurs. One specific objective is to explain the role that these councils have played in governing S&T. Two main inquiry instruments are used: a survey to study the perceptions of the councillors about their role and, interviews of Colciencias officials to evaluate the system and determine policy successes and failures. Systems are composed basically of elements and the relations among them. The Triple Helix and Sábato’s Triangle models state that interactions are key. Therefore, the existence of a system is determined if actors interact, as in a network. In the development of these relationships, institutions are recognized and legitimized, or not. The final result will be expressed in the construction of social capital. There are two main findings: firstly, the legal framework has contributed to create an institution, SNCyT, although institutions are socially produced so the issue is legitimacy. Secondly, two elements have contributed to making social capital work: the information and power used by councillors, as well as the existence of committed councillors, who despite Colciencias not promoting the effective functioning of the councils, make the SNCyT works.
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Thesis advisor: Smith, Richard
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