Science and technology in the State of São Paulo is on the rise, a senior Brazilian policymaker told a conference in London attended by UK and European scientists.
Carlos Henrique de Brito Cruz, the Scientific Director of Brazil’s leading regional resarch funding agency, FAPESP, told the audience at London’s prestigious Royal Siciety during the forthcoming FAPESP Week Conference 25th – 27th September, that the long-standing support by the state government of São Paulo has created a thriving environment for research and development.
“The business sector,” said Prof. Brito in remarks released in advance to the press, “has intense R&D activities, amounting to 1% of the regional GDP, while the state and federal governments maintain an internationally competitive network of research universities and research institutes. The recent intensification of the international research collaboration as well as of university-industry joint research has been decisive to increase the impact of the research in the state.”
Prof Brito also paid tribute to the UK government’s growing ineterst in academic and research links with Brazil, as instanced by a planned speech to the FAPESP conference September 25th by Science and Universities Minister Rt Hon David Willetts.
“We are delighted that Minister Willets will be attending the FAPESP Week symposium to deliver a keynote speech. Research collaboration between scientists in São Paulo and their colleagues in the UK has been growing strongly, thanks to the agreement between FAPESP and the UK Research Councils and to agreements between FAPESP and several UK universities.”
São Paulo, with a population of 42 million, responds for 34% of Brazil’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Even though the State has 20% of the population of Brazil, and 25% of the scientists, researchers in the São Paulo author 50% of the scientific articles published by researchers in Brazil in international scientific journals. Additionally, the state responds for 45% of the doctorate titles approved in Brazil every year.
A key factor to this performance is that the State of São Paulo has had, for many decades, a strong programme to support higher education and research, funded by the state taxpayer. The state funds three universities which consistently rank among the best research universities in Brazil – the University of São Paulo (USP), the University of Campinas (Unicamp), and the University of the State of São Paulo (UNESP), and nineteen mission oriented research institutes in fields as Agronomy, Veterinary, Forests, Technology, and Health.
The State of São Paulo hosts important federally supported research organizations in the state, as three federal universities, the Aeronautics Technology Institute (ITA), the National Synchrotron Light Source, the National Space Research Institute (INPE), and others.
On top of that, industry has intense R&D activities in São Paulo, so much so that 60% of all R&D expenditures in the state are funded by the sector.
The São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP; www.fapesp.br/en) is a public foundation, funded by the taxpayer in the State of São Paulo, with the mission to support research in all fields of knowledge.
The foundation works in close contact with the scientific community: all proposals are peer reviewed with the help of area panels composed of active researchers. Besides funding research in all fields, the foundation supports large research programs in Biodiversity, Bioenergy, Global Climate Change, and in Neurosciences.
FAPESP’s expenditures in 2012 were R$ 1.035 billion (approximately US$ 500 million or £ 320 million).
FAPESP maintains cooperation agreements with national and international research funding agencies, higher educational and research institutions and business enterprises. The international cooperation covers a broad range of countries and agencies (http://www.fapesp.br/en/6812) including all of the UK Research Councils, the Agence Nationale de Recherche in France, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) in Germany, the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy in the U.S., the Danish Council for Strategic Research (Dk), the Fundação para Ciência e Tecnologia (Portugal) , the Academy of Finland, the Consejo Nacional de Ciéncia e Tecnologia (Argentina), and other funding agencies.
FAPESP offers programs to support foreign scientists willing to work in research institutions in the state of São Paulo, Brazil: post-doctoral fellowships (http://www.fapesp.br/en/5427), young investigator awards (http://www.fapesp.br/en/4479) and visiting researcher grants (http://www.fapesp.br/147).