Arturo Luna: Who is the new Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation of Colombia?

The biologist Arturo Luna goes from being Manager of Science and Technology to the head of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, fundamental for the development of the country .

Arthur Louis Moon

Photo: Arturo Luis Luna

LatinAmerican Post | María Fernanda Ramírez Ramos

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Leer en español: Arturo Luna: ¿Quién es el nuevo Ministro de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación de Colombia?

With the appointment of Arturo Luna, the government of Gustavo Petro finished announcing the ministers who will accompany him in his government. On his Twitter account, on August 14, the president reported that this 38-year-old biologist would become the Minister of Science, Technology, and Innovation. This is a crucial portfolio to ensure the scientific and technological development of the country. Both are issues that Petro has identified as priorities on multiple occasions, as well as strengthening research. 

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Arturo Luna is a biologist from the University of Sucre, a specialist in Public Management from the Higher School of Public Administration (ESAP), and a Doctor of Biomedical Sciences with an emphasis in Microbiology, Immunology, and Biochemistry from the University of Tennessee. He was also a research assistant at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans and a professor at the University of Sucre. According to his Research Gate profile, he has done extensive research on pathogens: viruses, parasites, and fungi, which cause diseases such as leishmaniasis.

Regarding his experience outside the academy, he has been a consultant in Biotechnology and Bioeconomy, as well as in public policies to strengthen innovation and in the management of international cooperation for science. His first steps in public institutions took place in the Secretary of Education of Sincelejo, Sucre. More recently, he has served since 2019 as manager of Science and Technology. According to Gustavo Petro, his new minister has experience in the transition to low-carbon energy.

Complications in the appointment of Arturo Luna

However, this appointment has not been met without criticism. In fact, Arturo Luna has an irregularity in his resume that could make it difficult for him to be appointed. During the government of Iván Duque, Luna served as Manager of Science and Technology in the same ministry in which he is now appointed. However, the Department of Human Talent of the Ministry sent a memorandum in 2021, informing that the then manager did not meet the necessary requirements to perform in the position. Therefore, the Ministry filed a lawsuit.

In the first place, he did not have the required months of experience, which should have been 36. Luna presented 25 months of work at the University of Tennessee. However, the documents that he presented did not meet the legalization, authentication, translation, and data requirements necessary for documents originating abroad. Likewise, the functions he performed at the University did not coincide with those expected for the position. At the moment, there is no official response to this irregularity.

It should not be forgotten that this Ministry has had several controversies in recent years. On the one hand, there have been constant claims by the scientific and academic community about giving higher priority to the advancement of research and science in the country. The two previous ministers have also been questioned. Mabel Torres was for having promoted a drink to cure cancer, which had no scientific control. On the other hand, Tito Crissien was accused of plagiarism and, for this reason, the Colombian Academy of Sciences rejected his appointment at the time.

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