We profile Brazil’s emerging generation of scientist-entrepreneurs, their discoveries, their companies and their financial backers.
Applied science makes the world go around, driving trade and investment while serving as the motor of social, economic and even political transformation.
In tougher economic times, science must pay its way by delivering value. That means serving the needs of the street where practical needs vie with the merits of scientific inquiry for its own sake.
So in the coming weeks, Science for Brazil will shift the spotlight from projects to products, and from pure research to revenue generators. Our Brazil Innovation Gallery will examine a string of new tech companies set up to manage innovation, and the scientists behind them.
Scientist-entrepreneurs ready to exchange the laboratory for the boardroom share a common impetus to put their innovations in the hands of those who can most benefit from these, and a compulsion to use success to drive still greater innovation.
But science getting validation from the marketplace needs more than luck in turning pure research or innovation into solutions and products. All new science involves financial risk. Managing such risk always requires pump-priming, incentives or support from public funding institutions with greater patience or deeper pockets than commercial lenders.
So we’ll examine the local grant-funding institutions and find out how and to whom they distribute taxpayer funds – and what the rewards are in terms of patents. And we’ll look at the nascent ecosystem of private investors or venture capitalists seeking to profit from this made-in-Brazil scientific innovation.
The case studies included in SFB’s innovation gallery won’t form a list that’s either exhaustive or exclusive. Our criteria for inclusion are simple:
We believe this focus on the “appliance of science” matches the more pragmatic spirit of those now responsible for science policy, as a consequence of austerity and budget constraint that’s become Brazil’s “new normal.”
Look out for upcoming case studies of companies offering products and services as varied as phone-based apps for low-cost opthalmological testing; innovative biometric verification systems for use in elections; web-enabled tools for paternity testing; the breeding and marketing of insects to control farm pests; and the licensing a monoclonal antibody for use in cancer treatments.