Interview with Mayra Castro, the head of our office in São Paulo

Can you describe yourself briefly and the project you are working on ?


I am a passionate person who always wanted to live abroad and work on the international arena. About 7 years ago I moved to Switzerland and begun a big journey where my dreams started coming true. I am lawyer (Brazilian Bar Membership) with master in International and European Law from the University of Geneva and I worked in different areas within the United Nations, from Human Rights Education to nuclear disarmament.


I left Switzerland in 2014 to join the swissnex Brazil team and am currently heading our office in Sao Paulo.


The biggest project I am working on at the moment comes from the Swiss institute ETH Zurich. The ETH Atlantik Solar project is the first-ever solar-powered unmanned plane to cross to Atlantik Ocean. It aims to promote civil solar-UAVs and solar technology by being an advancement enabling fights up to 10 days. Such a technology is a promising concept for multi-day search and rescue support, wildfire detection and meteorological surveys above inaccessible oceans and regions. We are currently in the phase of feasibility analysis to bring this project to Brazil.


The other project that I have just finished was with a Brazilian TV programme called “Route of Innovation”. We travelled around Switzerland to showcase Swiss innovation and present to the Brazilian audience the Swiss scientific and technological innovative outcomes. The TV team also had the opportunity the interview key Swiss players that explained the culture and rationale that has transformed Switzerland in one of the most innovative countries in the world.


2) How did the Brazilian perceived Swiss innovation ?

Brazilians still know very little about Switzerland but once one mentions its educational system and innovative outcomes, the interest and amazement are remarkable. That was, in my view, the reaction of the Brazilian TV team while travelling in Switzerland.


They could perceive that behind the Swiss innovative researches and products there is a culture for innovation that emphasizes a bottom-up approach and multi-sector settings. This allows ideas to flow into projects and people to take ownership on their endeavors.


Another point that was noted by the Brazilian TV team was the science-based startups programmes that bring research results from universities into the market.


3) Why should we contact you and how can we do it?


Once, I nocked swissnex Brazil´s doors for pure curiosity to understand why such an organization would chose to be in Brazil. Since then, I have been learning that there are lots of positive things and incredible people in this country. Actually, one of the reasons why swissnex has been established in Brazil is because the country has become a scientific priority for Switzerland!


The bottom-up approach and mutual interest policies that swissnex Brazil stands for open doors to connect you with a vast range information and opportunities in and with Switzerland and, most importantly, giving value to your purposes and endeavors.


In a large scale, I believe that such an approach enhances ties between nations and brings about better understanding among people. More practically, I believe that the role of swissnex Brazil as a connector and cultural translator can contribute for great achievements between Brazilians and the Swiss in the areas we work on!


How to get in touch with me? I’m happily at your disposal via email (  or telephone on our website or pass by the office in Sao Paulo for a chat and coffee (perhaps chocolates!)