MÓNICA BETTENCOURT-DIAS

CEO, INSTITUTO GULBENKIAN DE CIÊNCIA

"SCIENCE FROM ALL FOR ALL".

- MÓNICA BETTENCOURT-DIAS, CEO, INSTITUTO GULBENKIAN DE CIÊNCIA

“I truly believe science is the most important tool to build a fair and sustainable world. To move in that direction, science needs to be democratized, and become accessible everywhere, to people of all origins and educational backgrounds.”

In 2020, like no year before, science stood out in many different ways. Citizens, journalists, politicians had to take multiple decisions in their daily life, which should be based on scientific facts. Whether to wear masks, to self-isolate, to close restaurants and schools. Citizens were unprepared to deal with the fast pace of science, evolution of knowledge, and to recognize fake news. As a scientist I work towards a world where all, from the kids in school to their grandparents, take advantage of science to recognize truthful facts and to make the best decisions.

If science needs to be for all, it also needs to be from all. We cannot live in a world where only part of it can develop and implement diagnostic tests and vaccines. It is very important that good conditions to train the best talent and to do research are better distributed in the world, contributing to improving living conditions. As the world becomes more digitalized and information is everywhere, as there are more possibilities to make scientific equipment cheaper, our society also can and needs to invest in science democratization.

Mónica Bettencourt-Dias, 47 years old, daughter of a mathematician and a social scientist, is married and a mother of one girl. A biochemist from the Lisbon University, she went to pursue her studies in biology and science communication at University College London, Cambridge University and Birkbeck College (UK). Starting her laboratory at the IGC in 2006, focusing on studying cell proliferation, movement and their relation to cancer. Her laboratory has received several prizes, including from the prestigious European Research Council. In 2018 she became director of the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência in Oeiras, the first woman to hold this position in the institution’s 60 years of existence.

INSTITUTO GULBENKIAN DE CIÊNCIA

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