The Research Seedbed was born in 1995 in Colombia, led by young students and was characterised by a spontaneous origin, an autonomous nature and dynamic diversity. Their common basic principles were aimed at promoting a more academic and comprehensive research, helping to design a collaborative education where to learn how to learn was a main aim and strengthen group work, fostering interdisciplinary work.

We spoke with Magister Herman Carlos Pantoja Agreda, Research coordinator at the University of Nariño. He explained us the peculiarities of these policies of promoting scientific careers and entrepreneurship in young students.

P: What is a research seedbed?

R: A research seedbed is a group of two or more people, linked to an Educational Institution, a Public or Private Research Organisation that wants to work as a seedbed, by means of a Development Plan.

In our case, the Research Seedbed of the University of Nariño, according to its constitution, is a flexible pedagogical and dynamic strategy that, based in the team work, represents a space of discussion, dialogue and autonomous learning around interdisciplinary work.

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P: How are they organised?

R: The Research Seedbed are articulated through RedCOLSI, pioneer in development processes for Research Training on a large scale in Colombia. We work in network, being part of the:

  • National Coordinator Commission: the Direction RedCOLSI for all Colombia. It works for policy, plans and development programs traced by each National Seedbed Meeting. There is a National Network Coordinator who is their legal representative.
  • Each Node is conformed at least by five educational institutions and has a Coordinator that represents them in the Commission. At present, RedCOLSI has 15 nodes.
  • Institutional Network: formed at least by two research seedbeds belonging to a same Educational Institution.
  • Seedbed Coordinators: people within the network that work to inform, collaborate and support students in their research, technological and innovative work.
  • Finally, the protagonists, the seedbed students from any knowledge area interested in research, technology and innovation.

P: Which is the fundamental mission pursued by the Seedbeds?

R: The seedbed allows to form young professionals in any research field from different knowledge areas. We look to generate spaces of development for local, regional and national problems.

In this sense, the main seedbed aims of the University of Nariño are:

  • To promote Research Seedbed as autonomous groups able to identify solutions to problems.
  • To promote a research culture in accordance with the university, department and nation needs.

P: How were created?

R: They were born in 2009, when a group of young people from the Faculty of Education showed interest in solving an educational problem and asked me for support the idea. I offered them consultancy, support and interested for solving real problems of our region. Initially, they began to work in schools where today they develop their pedagogical research practices. Later on, the seedbed project was carried by the Research, Post-Graduates and International Relations Unit.

Nowadays we have more than 500 students of different Faculties and Programs, generating proposals and research projects.

P: Which are the main aims of the program?

R: Mainly, we work for attaining:

  • Strengthen the Research Seedbeds and help them to develop work groups in a tolerant and equity environment allowing to form researchers and leaders that join their strengths for the same causes: research, technological development and innovation.
  • To boost interdisciplinary work at different levels: institutional, regional, national and international.

P: In what consists this program?

R: This project consists in learning research methodologies such as an extracurricular space where the main actor is the student and has the support of a coordinator, who orients the research process.

P: Who can participate in this program?

R: Students of any area of knowledge interested in improving their capacities in research, technology and innovation.

P: Which are the main activities?

R: Inside the seedbeds there are different activities: bachelors; institutional meetings, regional and national; consultancies, periodic meetings to orient research processes, etc.

P: Can you share some specific experiences attained?

R: Of course, for example in the last event realised by the RedCOLSI, the XV National Meeting and IX International of Research Seedbeds, students of the University of Nariño participated with a total of 28 projects in the different areas of knowledge. 8 projects obtained excellent recognition and 4 projects obtained meritorious recognition.

Besides, these projects have the international guarantee, that is to say that these projects will represent the country in different Latin American events organised by MILSET.

P: Which type of projects are presented?

R: We obtained some very good results in the last meeting, fruit of the effort and work team. We presented the following projects (Spanish):

  • “¿Territorio de quién?. Campesinos sin campo. Un estudio de caso de las repercusiones mineras en la Vereda el Volador del Municipio de Arboleda en el Departamento de Nariño. Año 2012”, a cargo de Paula Andrea Figueroa y Guicel Nayibe Vera.
  • “Diseño de un prototipo de enfriador modular de leche en cantina”, a cargo de Alcira María Delgado y Diana Melisa Chavez Morillo.
  • “Medición del contenido de SAPOGENINAS (HECOGENINA Y TIGOGENINA) en el jugo de aque tratado termicamente en fresco, por HPLC Y espectrofotometria”, a cargo de Luis Arley Guerrero Eraso y Julieth Vanesa Guerrero.
  • “Prácticas agronómicas ancestrales en cultivo de papa para afrontar el cambio climático”, a cargo de Víctor Manuel de la Cruz y Lady Cristina Rosero.
  • “Evaluación de métodos participativos para la formulación de una propuesta de agroturismo en la microcuenca la Marqueza – Municipio de Pasto – Departamento de Nariño”, a cargo de Camilo Córdoba Obando y Andrés Felipe Rendón.
  • “La Granja Agroecológica como Herramienta de enseñanza – aprendizaje de las Ciencias Naturales y Educación Ambiental con los estudiantes de básica a primaria de la Institución educativa rural el convento Chachagui”, a cargo de Ercia Yineth Agudelo Rozo y María Daniela Ruano.
  • “La mujer en el panóptico, hacia la construcción del espacio social carcelario femenino, establecimiento de reclusión de mujeres el Buena Pastor de San Juan de Pasto, en el año 2012”, a cargo de Camilo Eduardo Carrera.
  • “De el mono a la pila a Antonio Nario, representaciones en la dinámica nación – región (1904 – 1911)”, a cargo de Jonathan Stiven Rivera.
  • “Análisis de las principales problemáticas ambientales en la Micro Cuenca del rio Mijitayo”, a cargo de Angie Jurado y Daniela Guerrero.

P: To finish, which reflections on the present and future challenges do you do?

R: To keep working and promoting research in our youth because they are the future and to try to keep the quality of life for human kind.

It is also our duty as educators to encourage our students to work towards that quality of life.

More information: Semillero de Investigación de la Universidad de Nariño.

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