On January 16, 2012, the anxious wait came to an end for thousands of promising young Chilean high school students as CHILE VA! (Go Chile!) officials announced the the participants in this year’s program.
Aimed at developing the future of the country’s scientific community, the program selected 1,200 youths from all over Chile to take part in camps and excursions across the country, hoping to stimulate their academic interests.
“The aim of the program is to open a world of possibilities for the students, so that they’re encouraged to work together for the progress of Chile,” said Fernando Flores, president of the National Council of Innovation for Competitiveness, one of two organizing bodies.
The first camp this year will be held in Mostazal, in the O’Higgins Region, and will be a six day event including discussions with world-renowned scientists, team challenges and excursions to advanced investigation labs and businesses that use cutting edge technology.
In the inaugural program, held in 2011, 100 students met with National Prize for Science winners and visited the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile’s northern Atacama desert, among other activities.
José Miguel Aguilera, President of the National Commission of Scientific and Technological Research, which co-organized the program, said CHILE VA! will continue to increase the number of participants in future years, with an aim of involving 10,000 students.
“This country needs more scientists. Currently we have 4,000 and we need to double that number by 2014,” said Aguilera.
Organizers hope to drive growth in Chile’s scientific community to help the country make the transition from a rapidly developing to a fully developed economy.
All participants are selected by uploading a video on the CHILE VA! website, in which they are asked to explain their interest in science and technology and why they want to participate in the program.