Opportunities in collaborative and international research

On the second day of FAPESP Week North Carolina, participants highlight the importance of promoting research exchange

By Heitor Shimizu, in Raleigh

Agência FAPESP – “This is an historic conference, which should have taken place long ago,” said Richard D. Mahoney, Director of the School of Public and International Affairs of North Carolina State University (NC State), in Raleigh, North Carolina, on the second day of FAPESP Week North Carolina.

“While we were organizing this conference, we determined that FAPESP has been present at NC State for 17 years, through the financing of grants and research studies involving scientists from the state of São Paulo and North Carolina,” he said.

Organized by FAPESP, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, UNC Charlotte, NC State and the Brazil Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the symposium aims at broadening exchanges between researchers from the state of São Paulo and North Carolina.

“Today (11/12), we’re able to appreciate this joint work by presenting some of the projects at the FAPESP Week symposium, in a variety of fields. And we’re also looking to the future, with the announcement of the results of a call for proposals NC State issued together with FAPESP in August,” said Mahoney.

“We have developed several strategic partnerships with Brazil and I would like to emphasize that this scientific cooperation agreement with FAPESP is very important for NC State. And when we see the projects funded during this first call, we expect it to be an agreement with significant impact,” said Bailian Li, Vice-Provost for International Affairs at NC State.

FAPESP Scientific Director Carlos Henrique de Brito Cruz also highlighted the importance of strengthening the partnership with NC State in order to establish opportunities for researchers from the state of São Paulo to work together with colleagues in North Carolina.

He went on to present an overview of São Paulo research and development to a packed audience at the modern facilities of the James B. Hunt Jr. Library on the campus of NC State.

Brito Cruz emphasized that 45% of Brazil’s doctoral candidates every year are in the state of São Paulo and that the universities in São Paulo are “very efficient at starting new businesses. One example is the more than 206 start-ups established at the University of Campinas (Unicamp).”

“In 2011, 61% of investments in research and development in São Paulo came from companies, 23% from state sources, 13% from federal sources, and the rest from private sources. In the state of São Paulo, state participation in public investment in research and development at 63% is much larger than federal participation at 37%. In the rest of Brazil, it is more along the lines of 20% state participation compared with 80% federal,” said Brito Cruz.

The scientific director explained that FAPESP’s mission is to support research development in all fields and that in 2012, the Foundation received nearly 21,400 proposals, and had an average decision time of 65 days.

Brito Cruz went on to describe some of the main research funding mechanisms offered by FAPESP, which include new engineering research centers established in partnership with Peugeot Citröen, GSK and BG.

“Another very important line is the FAPESP Innovative Research in Small Businesses Program (PIPE), which finances research in over 1,200 small businesses. Some of the companies supported by the program saw their annual earnings increase from around $200,000 per year to over $10 million per year after some of their projects received funding,” he said. FAPESP approves an average of more than two PIPE projects every week.