The Millennium Science Initiative starts from the meeting in Santiago summoned by the President, Eduardo Frei Ruis-Tagle (“Achieve the Globalization of Discovery”, June 3 and 4, 1998), to wich were invited 12 worldwide renowned people on the public and private sector in the fields of science and technology. Leaders such as Dr. Kun Mo Chung, architect of Korea’s take-off in Science and Technology; Charles Simonyi, Microsoft Global Scientific Director; Bruce Alberts, President of the United States Academy of Sciences; William Stewart, Scientific Advisor to the British Government; among others. The Ministers of Science and Technology of Brazil and Argentina also participated, as well as prominent representatives of the national scientific community. These personalities delivered valuable contributions and supported the materialization of the Initiative.
As a result, they started to work with the World Bank and foreign consultants to create a project for the implementation of the Millennium Science Initiative in Chile, wich was an original program within the global context.
While Millennium was created, the official delegation of experts from the World Bank together with the Presidential Commission on Scientific Matters, met in September 1998 with various authorities of the national academic and research spectrum, such as the Rector of the University of Chile; the Rector of the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile; the President of the Regional University Association; the Presidency of CONICYT; the presidents of the Andes Foundation and the Chile Foundation; and the Director of the MECESUP Program, among others. Every single one valued the Millennium Scientific Initiative as a valid instrument to contribute to the necessary strengthening of the national R&D system. At first the program had the financial support of the World Bank, through a special loan (Learning and Innovation Loan) for its implementation.
In January 1999, the decision was made to give the Ministry of Planning (Mideplan) the responsibility to carry out this Program, adding to the efforts made in this area by the Ministries of Education, Economy, Agriculture, Mining and other public and private organizations.
As of January 1, 2011, the Millennium Science Initiative ceases to be part of the Ministry of Planning and it’s moved to the Ministry of Economy, Development and Tourism. The transfer is mainly based on the fact that from the new institutional structure concerning scientific, technological and innovation development, it’s the responsibility of this ministry to direct and coordinate the National System of Science, Technology and Innovation and its components, so that the Millennium structure, management and performance model recognized, both at home and abroad, strengthens its mission of frontier scientific and technological research and training of highly specialized human resources, acting in direct coordination and complementation with other system components such as InnovaChile and Conicyt.
Throughout its existence, the Millennium Program has positioned itself as an innovative model with good results and recognition, which has meant replicating the model in other developing countries.