FAPESP and UC Davis announce program to strengthen collaborative research

May 12, 2015 - 

Areas of interest will include physical sciences, engineering, biomedical sciences and agriculture. Announcement was made at opening of FAPESP Week UC Davis in Brazil, a two-day event attended by scientists from UC Davis and institutions in São Paulo

Karina Toledo | Agência FAPESP – FAPESP and the University of California, Davis (UC Davis), announced on Tuesday, May 12, the launch of a new program to strengthen collaborative research in physical sciences, engineering, biomedical sciences and agriculture within the framework of the cooperation agreement signed by the two institutions in 2012.

The announcement was made during the opening of FAPESP Week UC Davis in Brazil, a two-day event attended by 26 scientists from UC Davis and institutions in São Paulo State to present research findings in a range of knowledge areas. The event is a follow-up to FAPESP Week California, held in November 2014 at Davis and Berkeley in the United States.

“We already collaborate strongly with FAPESP in social sciences and the humanities. Thanks to this success, we’ve decided to expand our partnership to other areas,” said Harris Lewin, Vice Chancellor for Research, UC Davis.

According to Lewin, ten projects each lasting two years will be jointly funded. The first call for proposals will be issued by end-2015.

Lewin stressed the highly interdisciplinary nature of the research done at UC Davis, where “the walls between disciplines are easily broken down”.

“Our main areas of interest for the years ahead are food security, water security, society, health, energy, the environment, transportation, and material science. Our disciplines intersect so much that research projects impact all these areas, which are linked to global challenges and to many of the themes addressed by the centers FAPESP supports in São Paulo. There’s a natural affinity between what goes on at UC Davis and what goes in here in São Paulo,” Lewin said.

For Carlos Henrique de Brito Cruz, FAPESP’s Scientific Director, UC Davis’s collaborative interdisciplinary research model is inspiring and has several important academic features that are consistent with the search for greater impact by universities in São Paulo State.

“The focus on problem solving at UC Davis’s research centers is especially interesting,” he said. “This is really positive and São Paulo’s scientists have a great new opportunity to collaborate with colleagues at UC Davis.”

Paul Dodd, Associate Vice Chancellor for Interdisciplinary Research & Strategic Initiatives at UC Davis, also attended the session. He praised “the incredible work FAPESP has done to put the science done in São Paulo on the world map”.

“We interact with many research funding agencies worldwide, but I don’t know of a single one that has done more than FAPESP to project its research into other regions,” Dodd said.

FAPESP Vice President Eduardo Moacyr Krieger said FAPESP Week – an event already held several times in the United States, as well as other countries such as Argentina, Canada, China, Germany, Japan, Spain and the United Kingdom – has been an important mechanism for strengthening collaboration by researchers in São Paulo with colleagues all over the world.

Krieger also noted that this is first time a FAPESP Week has taken place in Brazil, and that the event was formally opened on the evening of May 11 with a visit to the Soccer Museum (Museu do Futebol), located at Pacaembu Stadium.

“In soccer Brazil is recognized worldwide as a top player. In science we’re beginners, just as America is a beginner in soccer. But I believe that in a few years’ time you can win the FIFA World Cup and we can become a top player in science,” Krieger said.

Besides the researchers in the UC Davis delegation, other participants in the visit to the Soccer Museum included FAPESP President Celso Lafer, Brito Cruz, Lewin, Dodd, and Luiz Laurent Bloch, CEO of IDBrasil, the nonprofit that runs the museum.

“We’re happy that the first FAPESP Week to take place in São Paulo is a collaboration with UC Davis, which has many contacts with us and welcomed us to California last year,” Lafer said.

“We’re also pleased to open the event with this visit to the Soccer Museum, an example of innovation in museum design and at the same time an example of how new resources can be used to convey a message. This is being done in São Paulo and it’s part of the environment at FAPESP,” Lafer said, referring to FAPESP’s support for the creation of the Brazilian Soccer Reference Center. Known by its Portuguese-language acronym CRFB, this complex comprises a library, a media resource center, and an online database for access to the archive and other content produced by researchers.