Japan-Brazil Symposium stimulates research partnerships

Presentations on research projects underway in the two countries, exchanges of scientists and support opportunities offered by the organizers are highlights of the event held by FAPESP and JSPS in Tokyo

By Fernando Cunha, in Tokyo

Agência FAPESP– The current scenario for developing the science and technology system in the state of São Paulo and opportunities FAPESP offers to support research projects were discussed by José Arana Varela, CEO of the FAPESP Executive Board, at the special closing lecture of the Japan-Brazil Symposium on Research Collaboration, organized by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) and FAPESP, March 15-16 in Tokyo.

The presentation by Varela, professor in the Chemistry Institute of the Universidade Estadual Paulista (Unesp) in Araraquara, underscored FAPESP’s principal programs, designed both to train researchers through grants, as well as to develop projects in FAPEPS’s Bioenergy Research (BIOEN), Global Climate Change and BIOTA programs, the latter a virtual network of researchers engaged in the description, conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.

“The creation of opportunities for international collaboration is among the principal strategies of FAPESP. To that end, the Foundation offers foreign researchers post-doctoral fellowships that include support for conducting research projects, grants through the Young Investigators in Emerging Institutes Program for the establishment of new groups at institutions in the state of São Paulo, and grants to visiting professors,” he said.

Varela also emphasized the expansion of these opportunities in programs like the São Paulo School of Advanced Sciences (ESPCA), which organizes short-term courses for researchers with an international presence as well as foreign and Brazilian students, and the São Paulo Excellence Chair (SPEC), which funds visits of scientists established outside of Brazil on projects underway in the state São Paulo for periods of three to five years.

In the Symposium’s final session, Hisashi Kato, director of the Department of International Programs at JSPS, assessed the outcome of two days of lectures. “I’m confident that our scientists have gotten much closer after these two days. This was our intention when we designed the meeting and I see that we have been able to achieve it,” he commented.

For FAPESP President, Celso Lafer, the Symposium took place in an environment of civility and courtesy that typifies the understanding among those in attendance.

“The lectures and discussions about topics of tremendous interest in health, biodiversity, economics and development, and culture and society were very encouraging and expanded the contact and interaction on research projects between scientists in Japan and Brazil,” he said.

Yuichiro Anzai, president of JSPS, underscored the Symposium’s importance not only in bringing together scientists from the two countries and thus increasing the possibility of research exchanges, but also for bringing together the institutions themselves.

“The JSPS values the establishment of cooperation agreements with institutions from other countries to stimulate international research projects, and this connection with FAPESP should lead to a very significant partnership for both sides,” he concluded.