Brazil’s best-known scientist, the veteran nuclear physicist José Goldemberg, in September 2015 took office as the president of the São Paulo Research Foundation, (FAPESP) — the most dynamic if not the largest of Brazil’s funding agencies for scientific research, and the “go to”partner for many international research councils, universities and top academics.
In a recorded inaugural address, Goldemberg insisted that it is time for Brazilian science to play a leadership role in society , and to shake off an elitist “ivory tower” mentality that has prevented large numbers of academics from interacting with the world of business by generating innovations or engaging at a popular level with primary and secondary education.
In his speech, Goldemberg pointed the way toward a much more policy-driven world in which science funding would be based more on the needs of society and industry – and less on the whims and fancies of pure researchers. He cited US President Abraham Lincoln’s foresight in creating the National Science Foundation in the middle of the US Civil War, as an indicator of how science can and should drive social development, even in such times of hardship as Brazil is experiencing thanks to a withering recession.
Portuguese speakers can view the video below of a 7 minute extract from Prof. Goldemberg’s inaugural address 18th September at the headquarters of FAPESP in São Paulo: