Last week, the traditional annual meeting of the Millennium Institute of Oceanography (IMO) was held at the University of Concepción (UdeC), gathering together all IMO members, including associate and assistant researchers, postdocs, technicians, professionals, and students, in order to evaluate the progress made in 2017.
For 3 intensive days, from January 3 to 5, IMO members informed their colleagues about the progress and results of the projects carried out during 2017, in addition to presenting financial, tax and budgetary reports for 2018. At the meeting there was also time to talk about pending issues and challenges for the near future and to suggest improvements for this year. However, the presentations of IMO scientists and researchers, explaining the findings, progress and importance of their research, were the main focus of the event.
This was a perfect opportunity to share ideas and to become acquainted first hand with the advances of IMO specialists in the last 12 months. It should be mentioned that this meeting is really important because it is one of the few occasions on which all IMO members gather together in one place at the same time, which is otherwise difficult because of their busy schedules.
It can be said that 2017 was a highly successful year for IMO, with 22 academic articles published in highly-ranked academic journals and 6 Fondecyt projects awarded, predicting a bright future for the Institute. However, IMO also has short-term objectives and challenges, one of the most urgent being to become a pioneering oceanography research center, renowned both at a national and international level.
This is a big challenge, especially when taking into account that although Chile is a country with one of the world’s longest coasts, yet it does not take advantage of this fact and still lacks a marine culture that would allow the nation to respond appropriately to the oceanographic challenges in the first decades of the 21st century. This is made clear by the absence in Chile of a permanent research center with enough resources to self-finance research and recruit the best scholars and talents in the field. Although IMO is not responsible for the problem, it would still like to contribute to its solution and therefore aspires to fill this gap, taking a major step towards a positive future for oceanography in the southern tip of South America.