FAPESP holds a workshop on Brazilian scientific diaspora in London
February 20, 2019
By Heitor Shimizu in London | Agência FAPESP – The Brazilian Embassy in London estimates that about 500 Brazilians are living in the United Kingdom and studying for a PhD or doing other research with the support of Brazilian agencies. The UK is one of the main destinations for Brazilian students and researchers, but little is known about them, where they are, what they are working on, and whether they plan to return to Brazil or remain abroad.
In search of solutions and more knowledge, FAPESP and the Brazilian Embassy hosted a Workshop on the Brazilian Diaspora in Science, Technology and Innovation in the UK on February 14 in London. The event assembled Brazilian and British researchers and students for presentations, round tables and discussions.
The opening address was delivered by Fred Arruda, Brazilian Ambassador to the UK. “When I took over at the Brazilian Embassy last year, I had the satisfaction of confirming that Brazil and the UK have truly intense ties in scientific and academic cooperation. One of the goals I set myself from the word go was to meet as many Brazilian academics and researchers who live in the UK as possible, focusing particularly on science, technology and innovation,” he said.
“Although the Embassy already has a strong and constant relationship with the academic community, we know there’s scope for improvement by networking with the Brazilian scientific diaspora in a more organised and systematic manner. Many of our scientists who specialise in a wide array of knowledge areas are scattered around the UK, and we often find out about their presence here only when they publish research papers or visit universities.
“So today’s event is part of our efforts to build a broader and stronger network of Brazilian specialists in science, technology and innovation. We want to know more about your interests, your needs, and your engagement with the academic communities where you work.”
The Brazilian ST&I diaspora in the UK will be mapped in partnership with researchers at the University of Campinas’s Centre for Public Policy Studies (NEPP-UNICAMP). “We propose to work with FAPESP and NEPP to ensure that the excellence and talent of the Brazilian scientific community in the UK are successfully leveraged to benefit the development of Brazil,” Arruda said.
FAPESP President Marco Antonio Zago also commented on the scientific diaspora in his opening remarks, but stressed that in the case of Brazil and particularly São Paulo State the flow of researchers is two-way.
“Young and experienced Brazilian researchers alike go abroad in search of better opportunities, but at the same time foreign scientists and Brazilian scientists who are in other countries also come to Brazil. There’s a healthy exchange, and we’re now a globally interconnected community. Progress in communications has had pronounced effects in reducing distances and facilitating cross-border collaboration,” Zago said.
“Instant real-time communication among people who are working together on the same project makes it immaterial whether they’re in the same building or 10,000 kilometres apart.
“Nevertheless, our hope and expectation is that most Brazilian researchers and students who reside in the UK or other countries will return to Brazil. Our universities and laboratories offer far better research opportunities today than they did 30 years ago. FAPESP extends worthwhile grants and scholarships for young or experienced researchers to join our laboratories in São Paulo State. There are many ways for researchers from other countries and Brazilian researchers working abroad to collaborate with colleagues at institutions in São Paulo State.”
FAPESP Scientific Director Carlos Henrique de Brito Cruz spoke next, focusing on some of the opportunities offered by FAPESP to researchers from abroad who wish to collaborate with colleagues in São Paulo State. He highlighted postdoctoral fellowships and Young Investigator Awards, as well as FAPESP’s Innovative Research in Small Business Programme (PIPE). “These opportunities are all open to researchers from any country, not just Brazilians,” he said.
The following also participated in the event: Yevgeny Kuznetsov, Senior Research Fellow at the Migration Policy Institute, Washington DC, and Senior Advisor to the Skolkovo Innovation Foundation, Moscow; Elizabeth B. Silva, Professor Emeritus of Sociology, The Open University; Professor Elizabeth Balbachevsky, School of Philosophy, Letters and Human Sciences, University of São Paulo (FFLCH-USP); Javier Escudero Rodríguez, President, Society of Spanish Researchers in the United Kingdom (SRUK); Luciana Mancini, Science Attaché, Brazilian Embassy in Washington DC; Stefan Bauer, Chair, Marie Curie Alumni Association UK; Ana Maria Carneiro, Professor, University of Campinas (UNICAMP); Lucas França, President, Association of Brazilian Researchers and Postgraduate Students in the United Kingdom (ABEP-UK); Vania Braga, Chair, Brazil Forum, Imperial College London; Wen Hwa Lee, Director, Oxford Martin Programme on Affordable Medicines, University of Oxford.
More information: www.fapesp.br/eventos/diaspora-uk.
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