Swiss research and innovation promotion agencies strengthen collaboration with Brazil

The Joint Committee on Cooperation in Science and Technology met for the fourth time in Brasilia, on the 7th of November. A Symposium was organised to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Agreement on Scientific and Technological Cooperation signed between Switzerland and Brazil in 2009. Two memorandums of understanding were signed by the Swiss National Science Foundation and Innosuisse with their Brazilian counterparts to step up cooperation in the fields of research and innovation.

The Swiss delegation, comprising of representatives from funding agencies and academia, headed by Ambassador Mauro Moruzzi, was welcomed by senior representatives of the Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovation and Communications (MCTIC) and the main Brazilian research and innovation funding agencies. The meeting took stock of collaboration efforts and reviewed the proposed activities of the Action Plan 2018-2020. Both parties welcomed the launch of a joint call for projects between the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and its Brazilian counterpart, the CNPq. The Joint Committee took note of the twelve projects selected in this context by a panel of experts, which will have a budget of up to CHF 250,000 per project.

The Brazilian Minister of Science, Technology, Innovation and Communications, Marcos Pontes, opened the symposium celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Agreement on Scientific and Technological Cooperation between the two countries. The Minister was also present along with the Swiss and Brazilian delegations for the signing of two memorandums of understanding, paving the way for closer collaboration between the two countries.

Innosuisse – the Swiss Innovation Agency – and its Brazilian counterpart, EMBRAPII, will promote research and development projects by offering instruments to higher education institutions and companies in both countries. This is the second agreement signed by Innosuisse with a foreign partner. Expanding cooperation with innovation agencies in partner countries is one of Innosuisse’s strategic objectives, according to its CEO, Annalise Eggimann. The agreement signed with the Brazilian agency stems from a desire to foster collaboration on innovation between Switzerland and Brazil, one of the world’s largest economies.

In the field of basic research, the SNSF and the Brazilian National Council of State Funding Agencies (CONFAP) have decided to support new joint activities, which could take the shape of joint research projects.

Brazil is the leading partner for Swiss researchers in Latin America. In order to help strengthen cooperation between the two countries, Switzerland has since 2014 been able to count on swissnex, which operates in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. In addition, the University of St Gallen, the Leading House for cooperation with Latin America, has developed funding instruments to support research projects. swissnex and the Leading House are jointly organising the Academia-Industry Training (AIT), an intensive training programme on entrepreneurship for promising young Swiss and Brazilian scientists, which is also sponsored by the MCTIC. The Swiss delegation also had the opportunity to attend part of the AIT programme in Brazil.

Between October 2014 and September 2019, the SNSF has supported 78 research projects involving scientific collaboration with Brazilian researchers to the tune of over CHF 40 million. Since 1962, 227 Brazilian researchers have benefited from Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships.

Pictures by: Márcio Nascimento ASCOM/MCTIC