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Millennium Science Initiative
The Millennium Science Initiative (MSI) is an international initiative designed to build science and engineering capacity in developing countries. Highly adaptable to circumstances, the MSI has achieved its mission through a variety of vehicles, among them competitively chosen centers or networks of excellence in scientific research and training.
The MSI concept represents the confluence of two events. In 1997, the leaders of Chile, Brazil and Argentina agreed on a desire to strengthen science and technology capacity in their region. Concurrently, the World Bank sought to expand its capacity building efforts in S&T, recognizing that scientific innovation would drive knowledge-based economies of the 21st century.
The MSI was launched formally at a major convocation in Santiago, Chile in 1998. An international panel representing the scientific community, governments, and the private sector held two days of intensive discussions. Out of those discussions the Millennium Science Initiative was born.
While MSI projects have varied in format according to the strengths and needs of the countries where they are located, they share these essential features: excellence; autonomy; partnerships with other institutions, the private sector, governments and one another; leaders of major scientific stature and proven leadership ability; a training component; opportunities for scientists to work in their home countries and collaborate with colleagues around the world; strategies to develop adequate and sustained funding; and peer review by national and international scientists applying world-class standards.
Each MSI was planned and implemented by local scientific and government leaders, according to needs and priorities of the host country and region. MSI topics vary widely, from biotechnology and public health to microelectronics and local access to Internet resources. The MSI recognizes that science, engineering, and technology are strongest and most relevant when they are embedded in a national innovation system, and thus focuses on training scientists and engineers to work in the private sector and transferring technology into product development for the marketplace.
All MSI projects were designed with the active involvement of both the Science Initiative Group (SIG) and The World Bank, except for the Venezuelan MSI, which was implemented by the Bank without SIG's participation. The African Mathematics Millennium Science Initiative (AMMSI) was developed by members of the African mathematics community in coordination with SIG and is supported by foundation grants.
SIG was involved with the MSI from 1999 to 2012, by which time two MSIs were running independently (Chile and AMMSI), one had evolved into a new initiative (Brazil), three had concluded (Mexico, Venezuela, Uganda), one would-be MSI became something else (Bangladesh), and plans for one had stalled (Vietnam).
SIG renewed its involvement with AMMSI in July 2014, when AMMSI became an affiliate network of RISE.
For more information, please see the MSI Projects page.