The growing importance of scientific links between the UK and Brazil has been recognized with an award to the senior policymaker and administrator who has done most to bring scientists in the two countries together.
Carlos Henrique de Brito Cruz, science director of the São Paulo Research Foundation was awarded an OBE medal by Britain’s ambassador to Brazil on 20th May.
Prof Brito Cruz is the first Brazilian in a decade to receive the prestigious award, which is the counterpart of the MBE for UK citizens. His contributions to the arts, science and public service were recognized.
An electronic engineer and physicist, Prof. Brito Cruz has been a member of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences since 2000. He was president of FAPESP from 1996 – 2002, and prior to that was rector for Research at the University of Campinas, where he continues to be a professor at the Gleb Wataghin Physics Institute. He began his a career as a researcher at AT&T’s Bell Labs in the United States.
In an award ceremony in São Paulo, Brito Cruz said the award should be shared with FAPESP President Celso Lafer and other members of its governing council.
“Today we are seeing a large quantity of exceptionally high quality projects being executed in partnership with UK institutions,” he said. “This award recognizes both the personal and institutional achievements of FAPESP through its long history, and above all for the recent growth in international collaboration,” added Brito Cruz.
In 2009 Brito Cruz signed the first accord between FAPESP and Research Councils UK, which in 2012 was renewed and expanded for a four year term as cooperation with UK insititions has blossomed.
Although it is a regional, rather than federal institution, FAPESP has formal ties with more than 30 British research and higher learning institutions. These include all the UK Research Councils, the British Council as well as almost all leading UK universities including Oxford, Cambridge and Edinburgh. Large UK companies, including GSK, BP and BG also have research agreements with FAPESP.
FAPESP is a noted partner of the UK government’s Newton Fund, which is investing UK£75 million yearly in promoting the economic development and welfare of developing countries through the Department for Business Innovation and Skills.
Of this total, UK£27 million has been earmarked for in projects in Brazil. FAPESP – which is matching some of the UK funding tranches – is the only Brazilian institution engaging in all modules of the Newton Fund programme, involving People, Research and Innovation.
Under Prof Brito’s management, FAPESP has become known overseas as the most dynamic and forward-thinking, if by no means the largest of Brazil’s research funding organisations.
Its push to internationalise the impact of Brazilian science has resulted in FAPESP becoming well-known internationally, in part due to regular overseas conferences such as the one held at London’s Royal Society in 2013.
Although its budget of around US$414 million is dwarfed by Brasilia’s federal institutions, and it is restricted to funding research partnerships through universities in São Paulo state, FAPESP has become the “go to” partner for many international institutions, all thanks to its research priorities, its focus on high-impact science, and its irreproachable history of management and discipline.