Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos today appointed César Ocampo as the new director of the nation’s Administrative Department of Science, Technology, and Innovation, better known as Colciencias. The primary focus of the agency, which reports directly to the president, is to support research and projects aimed at advancing innovation in the country.
Ocampo will fill a position formerly occupied by Yaneth Giha, who moved on to become Colombia’s Minister of Education last November after former minister Gina Parody stepped down following the failure of the campaign, which she helped lead, to encourage voters to pass the nation’s original peace deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
Photo: César Ocampo, a U.S.-educated aerospace engineer who has worked with NASA, has taken over as the head of the agency tasked with promoting scientific research and innovation. (Credit: Colciencias)
The Armenia-born scientist is an aerospace engineer who earned a doctorate in astrodynamics at the University of Colorado in Boulder in the United States in 1991. Ocampo went on to serve as a researcher, teacher, trainee, and consultant for the Washington-based NASA space agency, according to Colciencias, as well as a professor and researcher in the University of Texas at Austin‘s department of aerospace engineering.
Most recently, after returning to Colombia in recent years, he held the position of dean of the School of Exact Sciences and Engineering of the Universidad Sergio Arboleda before becoming dean of special projects for the same Bogotá-based institution. He has also taken on work that promoted social projects focused on sustainable development.
“His social conscience has been the motivator to make his path an example for the next generations by encouraging scientific education for children and young people throughout the country,” said Colciencias in a statement.