Scientists in Brazil are taking a definite step toward collaboration with their international peers, thanks to a new programme designed to promote the advancement of scientific research.
The SPRINT programme (São Paulo Researchers in International Collaboration www.fapesp.br/en/sprint), teams up scientists at research institutions in Brazil’s most economically advanced state, with overseas colleagues. You can read about it by clicking here.
The programme is sponsored by the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP), the most dynamic and best-funded of Brazil’s regional research councils. Brazilian researchers will receive support for overseas travel. In the United States, Principal Investigators currently funded by US Federal sources are encouraged to apply.
Additionally, FAPESP has a number of existing programmes to encourage international researchers to visit and work in Brazil, with generous funding arrangements.
Already, universities in the US, Germany. Australia and the UK are participating in the first call for proposals under the programme. In the first call, participating partners are: University of North Carolina Charlotte, USA; BAYLAT/STMWFK, Germany; University of Sydney, Australia; Heriot-Watt University, UK.
The objective of the call is to promote the engagement of researchers affiliated to institutions of higher education and research in the State of São Paulo in partnership with researchers abroad in order to: further develop qualitatively the ongoing research projects; and work cooperatively aiming the elaboration of joint research projects of medium and long term.
The call for proposals considers the following partnership alternatives: 1) proposals in partnership with researcher whose institution has a current Agreement with FAPESP; 2) proposals in partnership with researcher whose institution has not a current Agreement with FAPESP.
In recent years, FAPESP has stimulated the internationalization of scientific research developed in the State of São Paulo through funding for collaborative research through grants and scholarships involving partnerships with researchers from international institutions of excellence in research (www.fapesp.br/6812).
The foundation has a large number of agreements with foreign funding agencies, research organizations and companies to co-select and co-fund cooperative research. The opportunities for funding related to each agreement are described on FAPESP’s website (www.fapesp.br/5399).
The call for proposals is published at: www.fapesp.br/en/8621. In addition to five support grants of US$10,000 each for institutions not having formal ties with FAPESP, the international universities named in the SPRINT package have matched funds and a multi-year budget. For example FAPESP will match the UK£10,000 per year offered by Heriot Watt University in the UK. The University of North Carolina (Charlotte), meanwhile is offering US$10,000 per year – a sum matched by FAPESP. In the case of Australia’s University of Sydney, the annual sum is A$10,000 from both sides.
São Paulo is undoubtedly the most dynamic state for research funding (FAPESP’s annual budget is just under US$500 million and its programme of increasing internationalisation is advancing rapidly). You can read a detailed article about FAPESP’s endowment programmes and US$680 million multi-year funding for research by clicking here.
Nevertherless the federal science ministry’s budget is substantially larger. Despite this, there are signs in Brasilia’s 2014 federal science budget that the economic slowdown and rising deficit are affecting the country’s capacity for investment in science. A budget of 9.33bn reals (US$4bn) represents an increase of just 2.3% from the approved budget for 2013, according to the budget bill. And the amount set aside specifically for “investment” in the budget has been reduced by around 11%.
If so, then regions such as São Paulo have shown through programmes such as SPRINT that they are well capable of picking up the slack.