Sunday 4 June 2023

Costa Rica sets the foundations with development potential in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

The country should exploit human talent and conditions to become a biotechnology and medical research hub. The opportunity has not been explored by the government or companies, experts say.

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What is known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution will bring about the disappearance and transformation of thousands of jobs; At the same time, it will give great emphasis to information and communication technologies.

Massimo Manzi, executive director of the Costa Rican Chamber of Health. “Costa Rica has a great opportunity in clinical research for us to sell or develop them sponsored by pharmaceutical houses or with medical equipment producers, taking advantage of the presence in the country of multinationals”.  /  La Republica

However, there will be other areas with great potentials, such as biotechnology and medical research, where Costa Rica could become a hub in the future if it seizes the opportunity.

Costa Rica has the human talent to carry it out and to initiate a “bioreactivation of the economy”; However, decision-makers have not yet seen the opportunity, says Miguel Rojas, a researcher at the Biotechnology Research Center of the Instituto Tecnológico de Costa Rica (Technological Institute of Costa Rica).

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And in this area of science, innovative technologies such as precision and regenerative medicine will be applied, as well as tissue engineering and RNA and stem cell-based therapies.

Immunotherapy and advanced diagnoses would also have a place in this wave of job creation and economic recovery.

“The engineers and biotechnology engineers (IBio) of the TEC have the appropriate training and ability to work with these methodologies. The paradox, in this case, is that the country has the human talent for these new processes, but the decision-makers at the political, business or financial level have not realized this enormous possibility for the country,” said Rojas.

Currently, there are 608 TEC graduates, which represent one in 40 applicants who wanted to study it, so the system itself guarantees the excellence of human talent.

On the other hand, it is estimated that about 20 million medical tourism patients every year, according to the specialized guide of “Patients Beyond Borders”.

One of the biggest demand for this business is from Americans, with some 1.9 million traveling outside their borders to receive medical care.

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Costa Rica’s proximity to the United States, cost and human talent make it competitive; In 2018, more than 15,000 people identified health care as their main reason for travel, to the country according to the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo (ICT) – Costa Rican Tourism Board –  so there is plenty of room to grow.

As for medical research, biotechnology would have multiple applications in the future, says the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The Biotechnology career has high expectations

“Costa Rica has a great opportunity in clinical research for us to sell or develop sponsored by pharmaceutical houses or with medical equipment producers, taking advantage of the presence in the country of multinationals,” said Massimo Manzi, executive director of the Cámara Costarricense de la Salud (Promed) – Costa Rican Chamber of Health.

In this way, the country would not only receive designs and produce them, but it would also be fully involved in all the stages of research, development and pre-commercialization of clinical studies.

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The Biotechnology career has high expectations, according to the TEC that receives 1,664 applications per year (2016-2018), but only 40 per year are accepted. As of March 2018, the school reports 556 graduates, of which 60% are women, which have potential work in 20 countries on four continents.

Survivors of the revolution

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said that the robotization of sectors of the economy would displace more than 7 million jobs in the 17 most important economies in the world by 2020.

However, several careers will have a high demand and are the following:

  • Sciences
  • Technology
  • Engineering
  • Maths

La República reports in Spanish.



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