The Department of Economic Development and Commerce and the Municipality of Ponce inaugurated the Research and Technology Development Center in Ponce to promote the development of student research projects in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
“We celebrate that a project that began taking shape last year is now a reality, we’re joining forces to provide students from different educational levels, a place created just for their development needs in STEM areas,” Economic Development and Commerce Secretary Manuel Laboy said during the inauguration.
“This center will provide students with knowledge and opportunities to research and acquire skills that help them to specialize and excel. We will continue to invest in our young people, because we are confident in their abilities and recognize that it is they who will soon take the helm of Puerto Rico,” he said.
The Research and Technology Development Center in Ponce is part of a Special Municipal nonprofit corporation, Ponce Mayor Mayita Meléndez said.
Meanwhile, Roberto Carlos Pagán, executive director of Economic Development and Commerce’s Youth Development Program, confirmed that the first phase of the project recived a $300,000 allocation to adapt the structure it moved into for laboratory research, acquisition of specialized technological infrastructure, establishment of logistics operation and initial staff training.
A maximum of $263,000 will be disbursed during the second year and up to $200,000 the third year, for a total contribution of $763,000.
“Starting on the fourth year, the Center should have identified funds to subsidize its activities and be self-sustaining,” he said. “We’re confident it will be done with the support of institutions and companies that contribute to educational and scientific development of our youth.”
Over the summer, the Center will receive middle school teachers from the Ponce region to carry out school science projects that have an impact on the community, the Center’s executive director Edu B. Suárez-Martinez said.
The program will be a joint effort between the Center and organizations including Ciencia Puerto Rico, science education community programs, community partnerships, and the Banco Popular, JetBlue, Intellectus and Angel Ramos foundations.