Agência FAPESP – In early November 2021, Brasília was the setting for a key step in establishing the Amazon +10 Fund, a joint initiative by São Paulo and nine other states – Acre, Amapá, Amazonas, Maranhão, Mato Grosso, Pará, Rondônia, Roraima and Tocantins – to develop science, technology and innovation in Amazonia. State secretaries of science and technology from all ten states, alongside representatives of their research funding agencies (FAPs), met in the capital of Brazil on November 4 to put the finishing touches to the fund, which will soon be formally launched.
The fund’s creation began with a decision by FAPESP to allocate up to BRL 100 million to research projects conducted by scientists based in the state of São Paulo, in collaboration with researchers based in the North region, and oriented to biodiversity conservation and climate change, protection of traditional populations and communities, urban challenges, and the bioeconomy as a policy for economic development in the Amazon. The fund could reach BRL 500 million as it is joined by more governments, companies and international organizations.
The plan to launch the Amazon +10 Fund was announced on November 1 by Patrícia Ellen, São Paulo State Secretary for Economic Development, during an online event at the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland. The event was also attended by São Paulo State Governor João Doria, alongside secretaries of science, technology and innovation from the nine Amazon states.
Marco Antonio Zago, President of FAPESP, and Odir Dellagostin, Chair of the National Council of State Research Foundations (CONFAP), were also present. Carlos Maneschy, Pará State Secretary of Science and Technology, announced allocation of up to BRL 20 million to the fund during the event.
“Here we have a union of the nine Amazonian states and São Paulo. FAPESP is the state research funder that has invested most in science and technology in the Amazon in recent decades. This investment can be optimized if we work together,” Ellen said, referring to FAPESP’s investment of BRL 655 million in more than 3,000 research projects in the region since 1994. The Amazon +10 Fund will prioritize projects sponsored by at least three states in the region.
Zago also highlighted FAPESP’s track record lasting more than two decades of support for research on clean energy, biodiversity, climate change, the Amazon region, and sustainability. “We will do it together,” he said. “We live in the same world, and we’re all connected to the future of one planet: rich countries, poor countries, developing countries, states in Amazonia, states in the South and Southeast of Brazil. Pollution and climate change don’t care about geographic divisions or borders. The solutions we need to protect tropical forests, improve the lives of the people who live in this vast region of Brazil and mitigate climate change will come largely from science.”
The plan to launch the Amazon +10 Fund was announced at COP26 to attract potential international funders interested in conservation and sustainable development in the Amazon.
For Rafael Pontes Lima, Amapá State Secretary of Science and Technology, the region’s huge potential must be leveraged by science and technology. “We know the problems. We can solve them via integration with São Paulo,” he said.
“It’s time to act,” Maneschy said. “There’s no other way apart from scientific knowledge for entrepreneurs to provide scale. We must create networks of enterprises and entrepreneurs to generate wealth and income, and to improve the lives of our populations.”
According to Dellagostin, who also heads the Rio Grande do Sul State Research Foundation (FAPERGS), the fund has already won support from other states outside Amazonia. “We do qualified research. The situation in Amazonia warrants our attention, and we must put science at the service of sustainable development.”
Announcement by FAPESP’s Board of Trustees
In a statement addressed to the scientific community, FAPESP’s Board of Trustees says the initiative to set up the fund together with other states “derives from previous actions of FAPESP, such as the Memorandum of Understanding for Cooperation in Science, Technology and Innovation, signed in 2017 by 23 FAPs”. It also says that at this time “it is the responsibility of scientists, research funders and governments to take action that reflects the engagement of Brazilian science in the preservation of the planet”. The complete statement is as follows:
THE AMAZON +10 FUND
Continuing its history of participation in support for research focusing on sustainability, FAPESP is engaged in the structuring of a research fund to support projects and training in connection with the Amazon region, especially biodiversity, climate change, the bioeconomy, and the contributions of science and technology to improvements in the living conditions of its population.
The fund is a joint initiative of the Forum of State Secretaries of Science and Technology and the Forum of State Research Foundations, involving nine such foundations in the North region of Brazil.
This initiative derives from previous actions by FAPESP, such as the Memorandum of Understanding for Cooperation in Science, Technology and Innovation signed in 2017 by 23 FAPs at FAPESP’s suggestion, resulting in 14 joint calls for collaborative research proposals to be co-funded by FAPESP and other FAPS.
Promoting national and international collaboration is the central mission of state research funding agencies, and cooperation among researchers in different states across Brazil is a priority for FAPESP. The proportion of scientific publications with authors in São Paulo and co-authors in other states rose from 13% to 34% of total publications by São Paulo between 1995-97 and 2015-17. These publications are more cited on average than publications without collaboration.
FAPESP has always played a major role in funding research on themes relating to Amazonia. In the period 1994-2021, FAPESP allocated BRL 654.9 million at current prices to projects relating to Amazonia or tropical forests, funding 2,056 scholarships and 1,083 grants.
At this critical time in the history of our nation, when the image and impact of its actions in respect of the world’s agenda on sustainability, climate and defense of the environment have been severely weakened, it is the responsibility of scientists, research funders and governments to take action that reflects the engagement of Brazilian science in the preservation of the planet. We call upon São Paulo’s scientific and business community to participate in this movement!
Board of Trustees