Brazil Forum of Norwegian Government focus on R&D-cooperation and higher education.

“Science without Borders” provides opportunities for Norwegian companies in Brazil

The Brazilian promotional program “Science without Borders” was highlighted at the Brazil Forum held 9th March in the presence of 3 Norwegian State Secretaries and with more than 70 attendants from Norwegian academia and business.

The below article describing the possibilities for public-private partnerships this program opens for Norwegian companies in Brazil is prepared by Minister Counselor Paulo Guimaraes at the Brazilian embassy in Oslo.

 

SCIENCE WITHOUT BORDERS MAKES BUSINESS SENSE

Norwegian companies in Brazil are aware of the country’s growing opportunities as well as the market challenges related to their lines of business, in particular the increasing demand for qualified professionals and engineers with specialization in the fields of oil and gas exploration, naval construction and maritime services.

On the other hand, the Brazilian government aims to use the country’s new riches to develop a knowledge economy, by promoting innovation through more and more local production of goods and services to the industry.

With this in mind, President Dilma Rousseff launched in August last year the Science without Borders (SwB) program. With a budget of R$ 3.2 billion (NOK 10 billion) until 2015, SwB will finance 75.000 scholarships for students and researchers, both Brazilians going abroad and foreign ones coming to Brazil. Priority areas are all related to technological advances and innovation, such as Engineering, Exact and Earth Sciences, Oil and Gas, Information Technology, Minerals, Biotechnology, Nanotechnology and New Materials and Marine Sciences.

The Brazilian government welcomes cooperation with the private sector. The goal is for an additional 25.000 students to be financed by private sector funds. Scholarships can be awarded to specialists and engineers involved in R&D activities or with a need of education abroad, with cost-sharing between SwB and the partner. Furthermore, in the area of professional training, SwB will provide for the funding of at least 700 non-academic Brazilians experts who will go abroad to learn or specialize in techniques not yet offered in Brazil.

The potential benefits of partnership between the Norwegian cluster in Brazil and the SwB program are clear. First, it prioritizes areas of competence that are in great demand by the Norwegian-controlled companies in Brazil. Second, many candidates for specialization in those fields abroad are already employed by those same companies. Third, the program emphasizes opportunities for candidates to perform specialized training or internships abroad, e.g. at the Norwegian headquarters of the Brazilian subsidiaries. Fourth, this large number of initial scholarships is being paid for by the Brazilian administration, through the research agencies CAPES and CNPq.

Using this opportunity to partner with SwB does make business sense. Petrobras, Vale, Eletrobras, BP, AmBev, Portugal Telecom, SAAB; all are international companies which have already committed funding to this collaborative program.

SwB was a main subject at the first meeting of the Brazil Forum, March 9th, organized by the Norwegian government as a step in the implementation of the Brazil Strategy. Three State Secretaries underlined the importance of collaboration with Brazil on research and higher education. The opportunity for private-public partnership, as explained above, was pointed out by all.

The Brazilian embassy in Oslo and the Brazilian Norwegian Chamber of Commerce will be pleased to assist anyone interested to explore this opportunity.