Mariano Gago, minister of science, technology and higher education said today that Portugal is not among the countries in Europe where the number of young people choosing the areas of science and technology in higher education has decreased.
At the conference that followed the informal meeting of European Union competitiveness ministers this morning in Lisbon, the minister explained that the development of qualified human resources in the area of science and technology was one of the three areas of discussion of the meeting and one of the three main concerns in this area.
Mariano Gago, accompanied by the European Commissioner for Science and Research, Janez Potocnik, denied that there was in Europe «a global inability to fix qualified human resources in science and technology» and added that there is in this area «a very high level of qualified human resources «.
The minister acknowledged, however, that the capacity to multiply these resources and foster interest in the areas among young people has been lacking. Although this is a reality that does not affect all countries in Europe in the same way. If in some cases there is a decrease in students in the areas of S&T, in others – such as Portugal – there is an increase, although everything added up results in stagnation, or as the minister classifies, «in a very slight growth of qualified human resources».
In this area of human resources, European ministers identified three main problems, which must be addressed in community policies: the number of young people who choose the area of S&T; the weak representation of women – which, although it has a large penetration in higher education, does not extend to S&T – and the European emigration policy, which will become more attractive for qualified human resources who want to come to work in Europe.
The creation of favorable conditions for Research and Development and the creation of conditions to increase public investment in R&D were the areas that, together with that of human resources, dominated the meeting.
Mariano Gago considered that with the new community support framework approved for the next seven years, Europe is able to focus on national policies and achieve community objectives, through cooperation between States. «In terms of innovation today, there is no country that can save itself».
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