Brazil and the European Union reinforce strategic partnership in the areas of science and technology

June 22 2016

Brazil and the European Union reinforce strategic partnership in the areas of science and technology

Brazil and Europe have long collaborated together in the world of ICT research and innovation. Such investment can lead to economic growth. This was one of the many conclusions from a recent seminar attended by high-level policy experts from Brazil and Europe, at the Brazilian Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovations and Communications (MCTIC).  

The seminar looked at the advances and opportunities of the cooperation between Brazil and the European Union. At the event, Brazilians and Europeans discussed the research projects jointly funded about renewable energy and Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and agreed to launch a study on the results of their partnership and their economic and social applications.

According to the Secretary of Computing Policy of MCTIC, Manoel Fonseca, “Brazil and the European Union have a long term relationship, based on solid cultural and historical bonds. They share a heritage which contributes to the establishment of their scientific, economic and politic relationship.” He also stated, “We initiated this relationship in 1960 with the exchange of formal diplomatic missions and have been strategic partners since 2007, holding annual summit meetings.”

Both Brazil and the EU signed a bilateral agreement in Science and Technology in 2004. This has led to an increase in joint calls for financial support for research in particular by MCTIC with the Directorate General for Communications NetworksContent & Technology of the European Commission (DG-Connect). The partnership has seen a total of €17 million being made available for research activities in in the area of Information Communications and Technology in 2010, 2012 and 2015.

Fonseca believes that in the second semester of 2016 there will be the fourth call and further funding made available. He commented on the importance of continued and regular funding which can help Brazil in this delicate moment of transition.  

Investment in innovation as an economic driver

Ambassador João Gomes Cravinho, Chief of the European Union Commission in Brazil, firmly believes that, Science, Technology and Innovation (ST&I) are at the core of bilateral cooperation helps the partnership to be strategic. He added, “when we talk about strategic partnerships, they should help us to change to our societies. Our partnership is on a continental scale so we can also influence the world, in several areas of knowledge.”

Cravinho went on to add that although ST&I has not always been in the headlines, the government needs consciousness of their potential. Innovation has been key to the economic revival in Europe and in particular recovery in traditional sectors. The European Horizon 2020 program has contributed to the revival with €80 billion invested in ST&I over the past seven years. Cravinho added, “When the recession was at its worst we took the decision to increase investments rather than cutting it. The results of such an ambitious decision can already be seen in certain sectors.”

Transatlantic Connectivity

Both Fonseca and Cravinho hightlighted an example of such results through the transatlantic connectivity Project between Lisbon, Portugal and Fortaleza (CE), Brazil. The infrastructure should be available from 2018 on and will further intensify joint research.. Cravinho highlighted the strategic importance of the construction of this submarine cable, which is a massive opportunity for the whole of Latin America.

Looking ahead Fonseca highlighted the importance of future bilateral cooperation in the area of the future of the internet. He added that this must evolve to creation of an environment of the Internet of Things.” Cravinho added that this requires the development of the 5G pattern, crucial to increase the speed of mobile connection.  

Luis Felipe Monteiro, the Director of the Department of Modernization of the Public Management of the Ministry of Planning, Development and Management MPDG ,is responsible for the project in Brazil. He highlighted the importance of the presence of the ST&I in the project Sector Dialogues between the European Union and Brazil. He said, “So far, we have 70 supported actions, with 29 Brazilian institutions and  21 European institutions involved, working in 24 thematic areas. MCTIC participates the most in the programme which begun in 2008.

According to Monteiro, the topics of interest to MCTIC in the EU-Bazil Sector Dialogues include energy policy, industry and policy matters, prevention of natural disasters, information society and Internet of Things.

He added that EU-Brazil collaboration allows Brazilian and European players in public and private sectors to share experiences.. “For Brazil, this means the development of a national capacity for R&D as well as providing support to the European Union in the evaluation of scenarios and the analysis of the ways and challenges for development. This brings mutual benefits for all participants.”

 Ambassador Benedicto Fonseca Filho, Director of the Department of Scientific and Technological Affairs of the Ministry of External Relations (MRE), pointed out that the bilateral cooperation develops around topics of common interests which are “strategic by their own nature” This includes biotechnology and health, agrarian sciences, sciences of the sea, renewable energies, nuclear fusion, innovation, nanotechnology and ICTs.

“This is an example of cooperation with the European Union”, says Benedicto.  “The high number of EU-Brazilian collaborations are proof of this strong cooperation. However, I am convinced that our cooperation goes beyond this, reflecting a strong and spontaneous partnership between institutions and individuals in these and other areas other. This represents a much greater level of cooperation.”

Seminar participants

Ambassador of Slovenia, Alain Bergant, The Director of the National Institute of Research of Amazônia (Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia -Inpa/MCTIC), Luiz Renato de França, the President of Nuclear Industries in Brazil (INB/MCTIC), João Carlos Tupinambá, and the engineer Mario Neto Borges, representative of the National Council of the State Foundations for Support to Research (Conselho Nacional das Fundações Estaduais de Amparo à Pesquisa - Confap).

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The original article (in portuguese) was published at MCTI website

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