On Thursday and Friday, Sept. 21-22, Texas Tech hosted the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) Week 2017 in the International Cultural Center.
This year's conference was aimed at increasing scientific cooperation between the United States and Brazil and consisted of several workshops and lectures covering topics such as the environment, water, agriculture and human health.
FAPESP is a public foundation funded by taxpayers in São Paulo. The institution's mission is to support research projects in higher education and research institutions in all fields of knowledge, according to its official website.
Tech and the foundation signed a cooperation agreement in August 2014 to implement scientific and technological cooperation between researchers from the United States and from São Paulo through the funding of joint research projects, according to the FAPESP website.
Michael Johnson, the senior international partnerships administrator and export control for the office of international affairs, said Tech has worked with the FAPESP for the past three years to offer seed travel grants to collaborative research teams.
"The idea is that someone from Texas Tech and a faculty member from an institute of higher learning from Brazil will collaborate and go back and forth on a topic," Johnson said. "The topic can be paper, presentations grants, etc."
For each of the research projects that are approved, Tech manages the funding of its own research teams, and FAPESP manages the funding of research teams from São Paulo, according to its website.
FAPESP and Tech have co-sponsored three rounds of proposals under the FAPESP SPRINT program with teams receiving support for exchange of faculty and postdoctoral researchers in each cycle, according to Tech's International Affairs website. The projects in these proposals are from areas of study such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
This is the second year in a row that Tech has hosted this conference, Johnson said. It serves to highlight the people who have already been funded, as well as provide a mechanism for further collaborative teams.
Johnson also said FAPESP is like the National Science Foundation of Brazil. The organization is primarily dedicated to academic research, and it funds research on topics including engineering, chemistry, health science and physics.
When the collaboration agreement was signed, Tech gave the foundation a $10,000 grant to begin the teamwork, he said. The grant has lasted over the past three years.
"The conference is a smaller way to start a collaborative research project," he said, "and these grants give our faculty the opportunity to travel back and forth, come up with ideas and begin research."