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[LIMA] The president of Peru's main science funding agency, the National Council for Science, Technology and Innovation (CONCYTEC), has called for improved communication to inform people about science and technology and to let them evaluate its relevance to their lives.

Benjamín Marticorena made his comments at the 1st Meeting of Science Journalists and Science Communicators in Peru, held on 25 October.

"Peruvian society is not well informed about science and people think that it is something too difficult to be understood by lay people," said Marticorena. "We need to change this scenario in order to promote debate on science and technology issues."

"The only way of achieving this is through science communication," added Marticorena.

Marticorena says science communication in Peru should use as many different tools as possible, including newspapers, radio and television, museums, lectures and conferences.

Next month, CONCYTEC's annual 'Pasacalle de la Ciencia' — a science parade — will hit the streets of Peru's capital, Lima. More than ten thousand people are expected to attend the celebration of science, at which more then 70 universities and other institutions will be represented.

Investing in science communication is central to Peru's sustainable development, but involving academics in the process is a challenge, says Teresa Salina, head of CONCYTEC's department for modernising and strengthening science.

In 2003, CONCYTEC launched a science communication programme marking its increasing focus on the subject. As part of this programme, the council set up a network of Peruvian science journalists and science communicators with about 400 members (see Peru creates science journalism network).

Last week's meeting, attended by 180 scientists, journalists and students and organised by CONCYTEC, SciDev.Net and several Peruvian organisations, brought members of the network together to discuss their activities.