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[BUENOS AIRES] Argentina plans to establish a 'scientific pole' of research institutions to facilitate collaboration and discussion between Latin American scientists.

The government plans to gather all of its scientific institutions, selected research and teaching institutes a science museum and a convention centre in the same location — Palermo, in the capital Buenos Aires.

The 48,000 square-metre site will host the main headquarters of the Science and Technology Secretary, the National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET), and the National Scientific Promotion Agency.

At least three research institutes are also planned for the complex in the fields of biomedical science, technology and humanities.

International centres have been invited to take part, either by establishing a laboratory within the complex or sponsoring research.

Lino Barañao, president of the National Scientific Promotion Agency, said that Germany's Max Planck Institute had already "confirmed" participation.

"We are also talking with the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology — which has venues in Trieste, Italy and New Delhi, India — among other institutions," Barañao told SciDev.Net.

The complex will also include accommodation, enabling Latin American scientists to live in the complex, facilitating discussion and the sharing of experiences.

The exact budget for the project has yet to be decided, but it is expected to cost several million US dollars.

Construction is due to begin in 2008 and the government hopes that the facility will be ready by 2009. 
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