José Miguel Aguilera
Abstract: Entering the knowledge society and mobilizing science and technology are critical for emerging countries (ECs) to address important challenges of society and promote long-term economic growth. Natural laboratories (NLs) are geographical or geophysical singularities that provide comparative advantages and leverage to ECs for scientific research and international collaboration. Based on empirical evidence and learning experiences from five NLs in Chile, we propose the foundations of a conceptual framework for public scientific policies based on NLs and their possible implementation in ECs. Scientific research in NLs may address local, national, and global societal challenges while decentralizing scientific activities, encouraging transdisciplinary research in territories, anticipating the effects of climate change, and protecting biodiversity while promoting international partnerships and alignment with 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.