In Valparaíso, three projects were selected out of 36 nationwide.
Two projects from the Federico Santa María Technical University are among the finalists for the Avonni National Innovation Award: these are the initiatives CheX: Compressed Hydro Energy Storage, led by Dr. Christian Romero, a researcher at the Scientific and Technological Center of Valparaíso (CCTVal), and Bioformulation Based on Soil-Enhancing Fungi, led by Dr. Marcela Carvajal, in the Energy Colbún and Future FIA Agriculture categories, respectively.
This recognition, with a 17-year history, is presented by the ForoInnovación foundation in collaboration with the Ministry of Science, Technology, Knowledge, and Innovation, El Mercurio, and TVN. Its purpose is to highlight and showcase projects that, through innovation, contribute from various fields to the sustainable development of the country.
The Avonni National Innovation Award considers a total of twelve categories, with three finalists selected for each category, using three criteria: differentiation, value creation, and exemplary and inspiring capacity.
The finalists were chosen by panels of experts that included representatives from academia, the public and private sectors, and previous Avonni winners, who are specialists in their fields. Based on their experience and knowledge, they select projects that are positively impacting the social, economic, and environmental aspects of Chile.
ForoInnovación noted an increase in the participation of women, reaching 44.5%, and an increase in regional projects, at 42.9%. In the Valparaíso Region, there were a total of three selected projects, two of which are from USM.
The 36 initiatives will be evaluated by a jury on September 7th, and the winners will be announced on November 7th during an award ceremony. During the ceremony, the Woman Innovator Banco de Chile Award, the Anid-Red GT Technology Transfer Award, and the Anacleto Angelini Innovative Career Award will also be presented, along with regional recognitions from Isa Intervial for the five macrozones of the country.
One of the USM projects involves Bioformulation Based on Soil-Enhancing Fungi, which aims to develop a bioproduct based on a native strain of Trichoderma fungus that can remediate soils contaminated with heavy metals such as copper, lead, and arsenic. The second finalist from the university is CHEX, a spin-off from CCTVal, which is a sustainable energy storage system that uses only water and air. Operating like a virtual dam, CHEX offers an innovative solution that can contribute to the transformation of global energy matrices, even capable of repurposing disused infrastructure such as mines or wells for its operation.