Mexican Academy of Sciences

CHARACTERIZATION OF THE INSTITUTION:

1. A brief history of the institution. A short narrative, including dates of foundation or establishment, and the evolution of the role of the Academy within society, specially considering its impact on, and relationships to, decision making bodies, and outreach to society at large.

The Academia at the Service of Mexico

The Academia Mexicana de Ciencias (AMC) is a civil organization founded in 1959, comprising Mexican scientists that conducts research in every area of the exact, natural and social sciences, as well as the humanities and engineering.

For the AMC, education, science, technology and innovation form a chain that contributes to the country's full development, for the benefit of Mexicans.

The AMC's activities are oriented towards developing and consolidating scientific culture in society, disseminating knowledge among children and youth, promoting the training of new researchers, encouraging communication and collaboration with the various organizations responsible for research in Mexico, acknowledging the scientific work of young researchers and reinforcing the Academia's international presence.

The AMC provides consultancy services and undertakes performance evaluations for federal and local governments, the legislative and judicial branches and other organizations in civil society, regarding issues about which they are consulted in order to facilitate decision-making based on scientific and technical evidence.

Through an annual national announcement, researchers from all over the country apply to become members of the AMC. As a result, by 2007, the AMC comprised a total of 2071 researchers grouped into three areas of knowledge:
- Exact Sciences (Astronomy, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, Engineering, Mathematics and Physics)
- Natural Sciences (Agro-sciences, Biology and Medicine)
- Social Sciences and Humanities

The AMC also has corresponding members from various countries, who are active researchers that have achieved recognition in their disciplines and significantly contributed to the development of research in Mexico. There are currently 71 corresponding members, including nine Nobel laureates.

AMC Members by area, section and gender in 2007

Area/section Men Women  Total
Exact Sciences 868 140 1008
Astronomy   37 12 49
Physics  353 34 387
Engineering  175 14 189
Mathematics               100 7 107
Chemistry                   123 45 168
Earth Sciences  80 28 108
Natural Sciences 506 167 673
Agro-sciences 95 21 116
Biology                       253 102 355
Medicine                    158 44 202
Social Sciences and Humanities 233 157 390
Total                         1607 464 2071

The AMC has also established regional sections, grouping together various states in Mexico: Center, Southeast I, Southeast II, Northwest and Northeast.

2. List of basic documents that establish the Academy. Statutes and bylaws. Dates of those documents. Attach English version of those documents to the e-mail ianas@amc.edu.mx

Click here to view the documents.

3. How are members (academicians) nominated and elected. Categories of membership. Number of those in each category.

Through an annual national announcement, researchers from all over the country apply to become members of the AMC. Each candidate has to be nominated by one MAS member as well as fulfill the academic requirements.

The Membership Commission, led by the vice-president of AMC, is composed of ten researchers from the areas of exact, natural and social sciences, each of whom occupies this post for four years. Every two years, half of the Commission's members, who have held the post for four years, are replaced by new members, elected by the membership. Every year, this Commission analyzes all candidates seeking election as regular or corresponding members.

AMC comprised a total of 2071 researchers grouped into three areas of knowledge:
- Exact Sciences (Astronomy, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, Engineering, Mathematics and Physics)
- Natural Sciences (Agro-sciences, Biology and Medicine)
- Social Sciences and Humanities

The AMC also has corresponding members from various countries, who are active researchers that have achieved recognition in their disciplines and significantly contributed to the development of research in Mexico. There are currently 71 corresponding members, including nine Nobel laureates.

AMC Members by area, section and gender in 2007

Area/section Men Women  Total
Exact Sciences 868 140 1008
Astronomy   37 12 49
Physics  353 34 387
Engineering  175 14 189
Mathematics               100 7 107
Chemistry                   123 45 168
Earth Sciences  80 28 108
Natural Sciences 506 167 673
Agro-sciences 95 21 116
Biology                       253 102 355
Medicine                    158 44 202
Social Sciences and Humanities 233 157 390
Total                         1607 464 2071

4. Is there a way to involve young scientists (below 40 years old) in academic life? If so explain that program in detail. Are there proactive measures to increase the number of female members? What is the proportion of women members to total membership, and how does it compare with the amount of women involved in research activities in your country, or region?

From the total of 2,071 members, 464 are women and 1607 are men.

Some of the most important awards given by the AMC are granted for young scientists below 40 years old. As a matter of gender, these awards specified 43 years old for women.
In 2006, the AMC jointly with UNESCO and L'Oreal, created the "Fellowships for young women scientists (below 36 years)" to encourage young women in research activities. Each grant consists in 10,000 USD for one year.

Jointly with Lindau Foundation, the AMC sponsored the participation of young Mexican scientists in the Annual Lindau Meeting with Nobel Laureates.

The AMC and the United States-Mexico Science Foundation offer scholarships to Mexican young scientists, to spend the summer period at a US research institution.

5. Structure of the Academy. A brief narrative describing the Governing Bodies of the Institution. How are they organized and how frequently they meet. How frequent are plenary meetings or General Assemblies. Any other structural body of the institution and how it functions.

According to AMC's statutes, the Board of Directors is responsible for supervising and managing all the Academia's affairs, and implementing the decisions made at the Ordinary and Extraordinary General Assemblies. It consists of a President, a Vice-President, two Secretaries, (one appointed by the incoming president and another by vote) and a Treasurer who will serve on the board for two years. The Vice-President will occupy the post of President during the following period.
The Board of Directors meets once a month in a regular basis. If it is necessary they increase the frequency of the meetings.

A General Assembly per year is mandatory, however the Board of Directors can call for extra ordinaries assemblies as needed.

AMC former Presidents constitute the Advisory Council of Presidents to advice the actual Board of Directors.

Standing Commissions

Membership
The Membership Commission, led by the vice-president of AMC, is composed of ten researchers from the areas of exact, natural and social sciences, each of whom occupies this post for four years. Every two years, half of the Commission's members, who have held the post for four years, are replaced by new members, elected by members' vote. Every year, this Commission analyzes all candidates seeking election as regular or corresponding members.

Awards
The Awards Commission, also led by the vice-president of AMC and divided into five areas: Exact Sciences, Social Sciences, Humanities, Natural Sciences and Engineering and Technology, analyzes and determines the recipients of the various awards granted annually by AMC. Every year, half the Commission's members, who have held the post for two years, are replaced by new members.

Special Committees
The AMC has groups of specialists on major national issues. These teams undertake studies that take advantage of the high level of the academics and the multi-disciplinary nature of the Academia, to analyze the status of various issues by comparing the national situation with that of other countries and issuing recommendations to orient the decision-making of government authorities. For example, special committees have been established on Water, Biotechnology, Trunk Cells and Cloning.

6. List of serial and regular publications of the Academy. Dates for possible establishment of such publications.

AMC publishes the Ciencia journal.
Founded over 65 years ago, Ciencia is a quarterly review with a print run of 6,000 aimed at members of the scientific community, higher education and research institutes and all professionals wishing to keep abreast of scientific advances, scientific planning and policy and human resource training.

Also, the AMC has published over 100 publications including books, studies and projects on various topics.

7. Outline of the budget of the Academy. A short narrative explaining how the Academy is funded.

AMC has the support of various public and private institutions that have generously contributed to its activities. These include the National Council of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Public Education, the National Autonomous University of Mexico, among others institutions, which have enabled the Academia to consolidate several programs, create others and support many of the activities involved in the country's scientific work.

The mean annual budget of the AMC is four millions USD.

8. List of prizes and medals that the academy grants. Dates of establishment and frequency of such prizes.

AMC offers the following awards:

AMC Research Awards
Instituted in 1961 and regarded as the highest distinction conferred by AMC, this award is offered to young researchers under the age of 40 for men and 43 for women, undertaking state-of-the-art research in the areas of exact, natural and social sciences, humanities and engineering and technology.
Since 1961, AMC has given research awards to 172 scientists (148 men and 24 women) from over 26 institutions.

Weizmann and Weizmann-Kahn Awards
Since 1986, the Academia, in conjunction with the Asociación Mexicana de Amigos del Instituto Weizmann de Ciencias, has granted Weizmann Awards to the best doctoral dissertations produced in Mexico by researchers under the age of thirty-five in the areas of exact and natural sciences. Likewise, since 2001, the Weizmann-Kahn Award has been granted to the best doctoral dissertations in engineering and technology.

Social Sciences and Humanities Award
Since 1996, the Academia has granted this award to the best doctoral dissertations in social sciences undertaken in Mexico by researchers under the age of 40.

L'Oreal- UNESCO-AMC Fellowships for young women scientists
AMC jointly with UNESCO and L'Oreal, created the "Fellowships for young women scientists (below 36 years)" to encourage young women in research activities. Four grants, each one consists in 10,000 USD for one year, are given per year.

9. Are there institutions that depend on the Academy? If so, list them with a short quotation describing each.

None

10. Communication data like postal address, telephone numbers, e-mail and web site addresses.

Academia Mexicana de Ciencias
"Casa Tlalpan"
Km 23.5 Carretera Federal México-Cuernavaca
Av. Cipreses s/n, Col. San Andrés Totoltepec
Tlalpan, 14400 México, D.F.
MEXICO

Tel. +(52-55) 58 49 49 05, +(52-55) 58 49 55 22
Fax: +(52-55) 58 49 51 12
e-mail: aic@servidor.unam.mx
http:// www.amc.unam.mx


PROGRAMS AND ACTIVITIES RUN BY THE ACADEMY:

11. Programs and activities of the Academy. A short narrative, explaining the main programs the Academy runs within its own society.

SUPPORT FOR EDUCATION

Science Olympiads
The AMC organizes six competitions: the National Chemistry Olympiad, the National Biology Olympiad, the Spring Mathematics Competition for students ages 13 to 15, the Funny Mathematics Competition for students under 12, the Mexican Geography Olympiad and the Mexican History Olympiad.
With the exception of the History Olympiad, each of these consists of a three-stage competition: state, national, and training and selection of the delegations representing Mexico in international competitions.

Scientific Research Summer
This scheme was developed in 1990 to enable young university students wishing to develop their scientific vocation to stay in the country's most prestigious centers and laboratories.
During the summer vacation period, between June and August, researchers belonging to the AMC and the National Researchers System introduce them to the fascinating world of research.

Science at Your School
The aim of this program, created in 2002, is to raise the standards of mathematics and science teaching by using alternatives to traditional methods that will spark the interest of children and young people, through greater interaction with teachers and the undertaking of experimental practices that feed curiosity and encourage active learning.
Elementary and junior high school teachers are trained through diploma courses, specially designed teaching materials, conferences and a web page (www.lacienciaentuescuela.amc.edu.mx) that provide useful elements for their teaching activities.

Computer Program for Children and Youth
This program supports the teaching of computer use. Since 1984, 127 computer workshops have been set up at public libraries in 12 states and the Mexico City.
Junior high school students are given a workshop to improve their performance in mathematics, based on the program The Geometer's Sketchpad.

Mathematics Teaching
Created in 1999, this program undertakes activities to support mathematics teaching, such as designing teaching material for dissemination projects and to support the Computer Program for Children and Youth. Studies are also undertaken on problems affecting formal mathematics teaching in elementary and junior high school.

PROMOTION AND DISSEMINATION OF SCIENCE
Science Sundays
This program consists of scientific dissemination talks for the general public by distinguished researchers. Since 1982, these talks have been given both at weekends and on weekdays.

Nobel Lectures
This program promotes visits by Nobel Laureate scientists to enable them to interact with Mexican researchers and graduate students.

Visits from Distinguished Professors
Joint program with the Fundación México-Estados Unidos para la Ciencia, in order to promote the presence in Mexico of prestigious researchers living in the US to give seminars, short courses and workshops and initiate scientific collaboration with Mexicans.

12. Specifically address the issue of how the Academy takes part in international activities. Its affiliation to international organizations, networks and other international bodies.

In order to reinforce research efforts among AMC members as well as to remain in contact with international organizations, the Academia coordinates various exchange and research support programs by maintaining solid links with similar international associations.
AMC currently collaborates closely with the following international organizations:

National Academy of Sciences, USA
InterAcademy Panel for International Affairs (IAP)
Inter American Network of Academies of Science (IANAS)
Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS)
International Council for Science (ICSU)
Third World Network of Scientific Organizations (TWNSO)
Red Latinoamericana de Química
Red Latinoamericana de Biología
Royal Society of London
Slovak Academy of Science
American Chemical Society
Mexico-United States Foundation for Science
L'Académie des Sciences de l'Institut de France
Royal Society of Canada
Swedish Embassy
French Embassy

AMC is member of IAP, IANAS, TWAS, ICSU, TWNSO.

AMC Former President Juan P. Laclette is Co-Chair of IANAS
Blanca Jimenez is Co-chair of the IANAS Water Program
AMC Former President Jose A. de la Peña is Chair of the ICSU Regional Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean
Carlos Bosch is Chair of the ICSU Mathematics Education Scientific Planning Group
AMC in coordination with IANAS signed agreements with 7 Latin American Academies of Sciences to coordinate in their countries the science teaching program "La Ciencia en tu Escuela"
AMC hosted IAP General Assembly in 2003
AMC will host the XIX TWAS General Meeting and Silver Jubilee
AMC jointly with IANAS, IAP and TWAS will coordinate the Simposium "Women for Science"