Science powerhouse gets extra funding

The number of new research projects funded by Brazil’s leading regional scientific funding body rose  by 7% in 2012, a year-end statistical review of activities by  FAPESP (São Paulo Research Foundation) showed.

Local currency funding rose 10% over the previous year to reach more than R$ 1.03 billion (approximately US$ 430 million). Although depreciation of Brazil’s currency means the total may show a decline in global terms,  the Foundation’s scale and influence is growing rapidly.

Funding was awarded to 29,905 active fellowships and research grants during 2012. Utilizing a peer-review model, the Foundation contracted 13,311 new research projects, a volume 7% higher than in 2011.

FAPESP ended 2012 with 65 active scientific cooperation agreements with 14 different countries. Four of these agreements are with companies (three U.S. and a British firm), 22 with research foundations and 39 with universities and research institutions. One-third of the agreements (22) were signed last year, and the remaining 43 had been signed in previous years and were still in effect. Six of the 22 partnerships established last year are with foundations and 16 with higher education and research institutions.

FAPESP has also focused on attracting international researchers. In 2012 it created the São Paulo Excellence Chairs (SPEC), a pilot program to attract scientists to São Paulo universities and laboratories. In 2012, it selected two projects in the Biology area. One of them is coordinated by scientists Victor and Ruth Nussenzweig, Brazilians who have lived in the United States since 1960 and who have become international authorities in malaria vaccines and treatments. Another Brazilian engaged in the SPEC program is Andréa Dessen de Souza e Silva, who has led a research project on bacterial pathogeny at the Grenoble Structural Biology Institute in France. Emilio Federico Moran, Jeffrey Edward Richey and Antônio Hélio de Castro Neto are other researchers with projects funded by SPEC, which began in 2013).

Funding is spread across the main universities in São Paulo state. During 2012, projects coordinated by researchers at Universidade de São Paulo (USP) received 47.78% of FAPESP’s outlays. Universidade Estadual Paulista (Unesp), Universidade Estadual de Campinas (Unicamp) and federal institutions with headquarters in the state received slightly more than 13% of the resources each.

You can read the complete breakdown of 2012 activities  here:

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