The Chilean Academy of Sciences was created as part of the Institute of Chile together wit other three academies: Medicine, Fine Arts and Social, Political and Moral Sciences by Government Law on October 21, 1964. In addition to these three academies the Institute of Chile also included the Chilean Academy of Language (founded in 1885) and the Chilean Academy of History (founded in 1935). The Institute of Chile is an autonomous corporation whose aim is to promote, at the highest level, the cultivation, progress and the diffusion of letters (literature), sciences and fine arts.
In order to pursue its aims the Chilean Academy of Sciences will carry out the following tasks: a) sponsor, support and stimulate pure and applied scientific research; b) diffusion of scientific knowledge through lectures, conferences, symposia and other forums, publication of books, magazines or journals and other means appropriate to this end; c) sponsor national and international scientific meetings and congresses; d) establish prizes and other stimuli for research work and scientific publications; e) to create a library specialized in sciences; f) sponsor visits of Chilean scientists to international Centers of Excellence as well as visits of foreign scientists to Chile and to provide scholarships for these purposes; g) provide scholarships for studies to pursue advanced research degrees; h) carry out studies of scientific developments for its diffusion, particularly for their use regarding specific national issues; i) to promote the best possible level of teaching of exact and natural sciences at all levels; j) to inform to whoever perceived appropriate regarding measures deemed necessary to the achievement of its aims; k) to keep formal ties with national and international institutions with similar aims and objectives; l) to carry out the national representation in international scientific institutions, when requested; and m) any other action aimed to pursue its objectives
Similarly to the other academies, the Chilean Academy of Sciences is autonomous in its organization, activities and assets and states in its interim statutes and by-laws the procedure for the designation of its members and Executive Board, the quorum to hold sessions and reach decisions and all other regulations relative to its organization and function.
The Academy has 36 Numbered Members. To be elected a Member of the Academy in any of its categories it is necessary to be an active scientist, of renowned prestige, trustworthy and older than 35 years, requirements determined by the Statutes in article Nº 2. The condition of active scientist will be judged by the quality of his or her research work published in prestigious scientific journals as well as books and monographs and the formation of disciples that actively pursue and develop a field of sciences. The Numbered Members must be Chilean and reside in the country when elected (article Nº 4 in Statutes). When the Academy decides to fill one or more vacancies of Numbered Members it must call for a special session for this purpose, at least 45 days in advance, to carry out this election.
Corresponding Members can be Chilean or foreign. The maximum number of national (Chilean) corresponding members resident in Chile is 48. There is no limit to the number of foreign corresponding members or of Chilean corresponding members non resident in Chile. The Academy cannot elect more than 8 corresponding national members resident in Chile, nor more than 8 corresponding members, foreign or Chilean, non resident in Chile in one calendar year (article Nº 5 in Statutes).
The title of Honorary Member will be conferred only to Chilean or foreign scientists of recognized international prestige, that have distinguished themselves for developing important activities in accordance with the aims of the Academy. The maximum number of Honorary Members is 36. The Academy cannot elect more than 2 Honorary Members in one calendar year (article Nº 6 in Statutes).
Presently, the number of Corresponding Members resident in Chile is 31, the number of Corresponding Members non resident in Chile is 46 and Honorary Members are 16. To elect new members of the Academy in the category of Corresponding National ones residing in Chile, a special session will be called for at least 45 days in advance. The quorum for this session will be the majority of the Numbered Members present in the country. To elect new members of the Academy in the category of Honorary, Corresponding foreign and corresponding national non resident in Chile, a special session will be called for at least 15 days in advance. The quorum will be the same as that required for the election of corresponding national ones residing in Chile and the designation will be done by the absolute majority of the Numbered Members present in the session (article Nº 23 in Statutes).
In order to promote involvement of young scientists in the activities of the Academy, there is a program coordinated by two Members of the Academy that elects ca. 30 members (below 40 years of age) called “Frontier Scientists”, for nominations that lasts for 3 years. This program is framed after a similar one of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA. They organize themselves; hold multidisciplinary meetings and other ad-hoc activities they decide on their own.
The Executive Board of the Academy is composed by a President, two Vicepresidents, a Secretary, a Pro-secretary and a Treasurer, elected among the Numbered Members. Their specific duties are described in detail in Articles Nº 8, 9, 10, 11 and requirements established in the election by-laws which includes a quorum similar to the one above (article Nº 23) and 12 of the Statutes. They will last for 3 years in their posts, according to Articles Nº 19, 20 and 21 of the Statutes, and being elected by the absolute majority of the Numbered Members present in the session (article Nº 24 in Statutes). They can be reelected.
The Academy will hold regular sessions at least 5 times in one year (in practice 10 per year, one each month during the period March – December) and special ones called by the President on his initiative, or after a petition by 5 Numbered Members. The special sessions can only treat the specific subject to which they were called for. The Academy will also hold Public Sessions aimed at the incorporation of Numbered, Honorary and Corresponding Members.
The annual “fixed” budget of the Academy is 22 Million Chilean Pesos (ca. US$ 45,000). A Yearly Grant from the Ministry of Education to carry out the Activities of the Academy (in particular in relation to promote and improve the quality of the teaching of Exact and Natural Sciences at all levels) is 52 Million Chilean Pesos (ca. US$ 105,000). The Academy also receives other internationally funded grants for specific projects. ANALES DE LA ACADEMIA (Annals of the Chilean Academy of Sciences), are published yearly.
The Academy runs a number of programs and awards recognition as well. There is an Annual Prize for the best Ph.D. thesis carried out in Chile in one calendar year. Besides the activities of the Academy for the already described “Frontier Scientists” program, the Academy sponsors and participates in the yearly “Fair for Science” which is a national event for High School Students.
There is a newly established “Chilean Academy of Sciences Medal” to be awarded to a public figure that has particularly influenced and promoted the development of sciences in the country.
The Academy also supports the following national initiatives: The National Commission for ICSU – National ICSU Association; the National Association of Teachers of Science; the Chilean Society for Genetics; the Chilean Society for Neurocience; the Commission of Science and Development of the Academy; and the Comission of Institutionality for Science and Technology and Development of the Academy.
The Academy maintains links with IAP – the Global Network of Academies of Sciences; IANAS – the Inter American Network of Academies of Science; AAAS – the American Association for the Advancement of Science; IAC – the Inter Academy Council; TWAS – the Academy of Sciences of the Developing World; IUTAM– the International Union of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics; and ICSU – the International Council for Science.