Scientific research funding in São Paulo State from FAPESP reaches more than US$ 430 million
December 11, 2013
By Jussara Mangini
Agência FAPESP – FAPESP earmarked more than R$ 1.03 billion (approximately US$ 430 million) to research produced in São Paulo State in 2012, a 10% increase over the previous year. The funding was awarded to 29,905 active fellowships and research grants during the year. The number includes research projects with contracts signed in 2012 that received resources in that same fiscal year and ongoing projects contracted in previous years.
Utilizing a peer-review model, the Foundation contracted 13,311 new research projects, a volume 7% higher than in 2011. These are some of the data presented in the 2012 Activities Report that was launched on October 17, 2013 at the Foundation’s headquarters.
Under the regular research grant rubric, which represents FAPESP’s traditional and permanent funding lines, the institution contracted 7,601 fellowships and 4,292 research grants. The Foundation spent R$ 805.92 million – 78% of overall outlays – with active projects, up 26% over 2011. In comparison with 2011, FAPESP earmarked 20% more to fellowships, reaching R$ 368.90 million in 2012. Resources flowing to regular research grants expanded by 31%, climbing to R$ 437.02 million.
Under the Special Programs rubric, which fosters research in fundamental areas to overcome deficiencies in São Paulo State’s Science and Technology System, 1,227 new projects were contracted. The active projects under this funding line received R$ 152.35 million in 2012.
Among the Research Programs for Technical Innovation, which support research with potential for new technology development or contribute to the formulation of public policy, FAPESP contracted 191 new projects. Expenditures with active projects under this funding line were R$ 76.92 million.
Health is the field that traditionally receives the largest volume of resources because of the large concentration of São Paulo State researchers in the area. In 2012, research in this area received R$ 308.36 million, 20.95% more than in 2011 and the equivalent of 29.79% of FAPESP’s total outlays. Other areas that concentrated a large volume of FAPESP’s investment are Biology (17.11%), Engineering (10.59%), Human and Social Sciences (10.40%) and Agronomy and Veterinary Sciences (9.41%). Although Computer Science and Engineering are not among the areas receiving the highest investment in 2012, they still received 58.11% more resources than the previous year, totaling R$ 17.5 million.
The universities and research institutions that concentrate research groups in these areas received the largest volumes of resources. In 2012, projects coordinated by researchers at Universidade de São Paulo (USP) received 47.78% of FAPESP’s outlays. Universidade Estadual Paulista (Unesp), Universidade Estadual de Campinas (Unicamp) and federal institutions with headquarters in the state received slightly more than 13% of the resources each.
Beginning with the FAPESP’s 2012 Annual Activities Report, the foundation adopted a new classification for its funding objectives. Until 2011, programs were grouped into three categories of funding objectives: Human Resources Training (fellowships), Academic Research and Research for Potential Application. The funding objectives are now defined as follows: Advancing Knowledge, Application-Driven Research and Research Infrastructure.
“We realized that the previous classification could lead to an unclear picture of the application of FAPESP resources and the expected results of the supported projects. This is why the new denomination is not only a change in nomenclature. It is a regrouping to facilitate better understanding about which type of research FAPESP funds for visible application in the short and medium terms, which are to generate the knowledge needed for construction of future applications and which are investments to guarantee the necessary infrastructure for the continuity of research of any nature,” comments FAPESP President Celso Lafer.
With the change, FAPESP programs under the Advancing Knowledge rubric include human resource training and those that stimulate academic research such as fellowships and regular research grants, thematic projects, young investigators, São Paulo Excellence Chairs (SPEC) and Technical Training.
The Application-Driven Research line includes all programs that have clear objectives for applications in social and economic areas. For this reason, investment in research in the areas of Agronomy and Veterinary Sciences, Health and Engineering, which almost inevitably result in applications, are part of this category, as well as the FAPESP Bioenergy Research Program (BIOEN), FAPESP Research Program on Conservation, Recovery and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity in São Paulo State (BIOTA-FAPESP), the FAPESP Research Program on Global Climate Change (PFPMCG), the Research, Innovation and Dissemination Centers (CEPID), Inter-institutional Cooperation to Support Brain Research (CinAPCe), Public Education Improvement Program, the José Reis Scientific Journalism Incentive Program (MídiaCiência), Public Policy Research Program, Innovative Research at Small Companies (PIPE), Research Partnership for Technological Innovation (PITE) and the Program for Support of Intellectual Property (PAPI).
The Research Infrastructure funding line involves resources to guarantee the necessary infrastructure for the continuity of research in São Paulo State. Grants are made through the Research Infrastructure Program and its subprograms.
The report offers a historical review of the institution’s funding history and the percentage for each funding objective in the 1992-2012 period.
In the 2012 period, FAPESP earmarked R$ 546.08 million (53% of its total expenditure) to support application-driven research, R$ 382.50 million (37%) to support the advance of knowledge and R$ 106.61 million (10%) to support research infrastructure.
Researchers with FAPESP-funded projects are encouraged to develop international collaborations through specific scientific exchange offered through opportunities resulting from cooperation agreements and FAPESP-sponsored events abroad to bring together scientists with common research interests.
FAPESP received visits from seven governmental delegations and research institutions interested in establishing partnerships to support collaborative research between researchers from São Paulo and their respective countries in varied areas.
FAPESP closed out 2012 with 65 active scientific cooperation agreements with 14 different countries. Four of these agreements are with companies (three U.S. and a British firm), 22 with research foundations and 39 with universities and research institutions. One-third of the agreements (22) were signed last year, and the remaining 43 had been signed in previous years and were still in effect. Six of the 22 partnerships established last year are with foundations and 16 with higher education and research institutions.
In 2012, 1,947 projects under the Regular Research funding line involved scientific exchange components. During the year, FAPESP contracted 903 foreign study fellowships, 717 of which were Research Internships Abroad (BEPE). Brazilian beneficiaries of BEPE chose the United States, Canada, Australia and European countries such as France, England, Spain, Portugal and Germany as their main destinations.
FAPESP views internationalization as more than merely sending Brazilians abroad, however, believing it is also essential to bring foreigners to Brazil. In 2012, the Foundation funded the visits of 254 researchers from abroad and saw foreigners represent 15% of its fellows and post-doctoral fellowships.
FAPESP has also focused on bringing renowned international researchers who are leaders in academia. To this end, in 2012 the Foundation created the São Paulo Excellence Chairs (SPEC), a pilot program to attract renowned scientists to coordinate thematic projects in their specialization area at São Paulo universities and laboratories. In 2012, it selected two projects in the Biology area. One of them is coordinated by scientists Victor and Ruth Nussenzweig, Brazilians who have lived in the United State since 1960 and who have become international authorities in malaria vaccines and treatments. Another Brazilian engaged in the SPEC program is Andréa Dessen de Souza e Silva, who has led a research project on bacterial pathogeny at the Grenoble Structural Biology Institute in France (Emilio Federico Moran, Jeffrey Edward Richey and Antônio Hélio de Castro Neto are other researchers with projects funded by SPEC, which began in 2013).
During the year, FAPESP also held two major events abroad to promote the works of scientists it has funded, particularly international cooperation projects and expanding collaboration with scientists at higher education and research institutions from other countries. In October of last year, the Foundation held FAPESP Week 2012 in four cities in North America (Toronto, Cambridge, Washington and Morgantown). In December, it held Fronteras de La Ciência (Frontiers of Science) in two Spanish cities (Salamanca and Madrid).
The complete 2012 Activities Report can be read at www.fapesp.br/en/publications/2012report.pdf.
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