Policies regulating investments in research, development an innovation (RD&I) by heavy Brazilian industries are not integrated and too directed to the development of the internal market, according to speakers at the Brazil Investment Forum.
"We need to put these incentives together and adjust these innovation instruments towards a global focus, so companies look outwards, not inwards. There is a gigantic spraying of resources in this sense," Carlos Pacheco, president of São Paulo state research innovation agency Fapesp, said.
According to Pacheco, the different programs supporting innovation in place "do not talk to each other".
Marcelo Pinto, director of industrial automation firm PPI Multitask, echoed Pacheco' view and called for the development of an industrial policy. He also said innovation policies needed to be "stitched" with one another.
To Telmo Ghiorzi, director of Aker Solutions, the Brazilian oil & gas industry has invested 11bn reais (US$306mn) in research, development an innovation since 2005, when a local law enforcing such investments entered in effect. Aker provides solutions especially for this sector.
The referred law states that 1% of revenues from oil & gas companies must be invested in RD&I, and half of the amount must go to universities.
But Ghiorzi claims the tax has generated few concrete projects.
"It has led to prototypes, pilots, surveys, studies, but not to real innovation. Integration between university and industry is very poor in Brazil," he said.
Pacheco and Pinto disagreed on this alleged lack of integration with academia. Pinto mentioned as an example the "good results" generated by the Brazilian research and industrial innovation company Embrapii.
Created in 2013 and financed by the ICT and the education ministries, Embrapii selects research institutions to develop industrial innovation projects in partnership with companies.
The firms receive non-refundable grants and are selected in areas considered to be strategic by the government, such as advanced manufacturing, green chemistry, renewable energy, biotechnology, semiconductors and food technology, among others.