Brazil Day: German Embassy issues an invitation for discussions on science and politics

(16.05.18) The main theme of the annual Brazil Day held at the German Embassy in Brasília was the presidential elections due to take place in October 2018. Following the political turbulence in the wake of the removal from office of President Dilma Rousseff, elected in 2014, the choice of the new head of state will be of critical importance, in particular for the country's political, economic and scientific future.

Participants at Brazil Day 2018

Participants at Brazil Day 2018

© Deutsche Botschaft Brasília

Under the motto “Brazil in an election year – quo vadis?”, representatives from diplomatic services and German institutions in Brazil came together on 18 and 19 April to discuss the current status of German-Brazilian cooperation and prospects in view of the change of government.

To gain deeper insights into the political agendas of two rival parties, Senator Gleisi Hoffmann, President of the Brazilian Workers’ Party (PT), and Christian Lohbauer, founding member of the recently formed Partido Novo party, were invited as guest speakers.

In addition to the political debate, the programme also included presentations on bilateral initiatives in the scientific arena, including a talk by the Director of the DFG’s Latin America Office, Dr. Kathrin Winkler, who presented the DFG’s activities in Brazil and cooperations with local partners. She highlighted in particular the recently published joint call with CAPES, a state-level funding organisation, focusing on the research areas of advanced digitalization, Industry 4.0 and chemistry. A maximum of 20 German-Brazilian projects can be funded, with the aim of establishing up to four international scientific networks in the longer term.

The new call draws on the successful BRAGECRIM research network for manufacturing technology, funded by the DFG and CAPES since 2008. Involving over 300 researchers from different universities and research institutions in Germany and Brazil, the initiative is one of the biggest joint projects launched by the two funding institutions.

Dr. Martina Schulze, Head of the DAAD Office in Brazil, also referred to the cooperation with CAPES in her presentation. As part of the new PrInt Programme, organised by CAPES to establish and strengthen internationalisation strategies, the DAAD will offer grants for German doctoral researchers interested in conducting research at the funded universities. The requirement for this is an existing cooperation agreement between the institutions in both countries, and Schulze views this as a contribution to the creation of an international doctoral network in Brazil with strong German participation.

Other institutions with connections to research were also represented, including the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), which presented its call in the field of rare earths – the initiative dates back to a cooperation established in 2015 with the Brazilian Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovation and Communication (MCTIC). The planned “International Bioeconomy” call for funding of bilateral projects in this area which is a priority for both countries was also mentioned.

Brazil Day was also a good opportunity for an initial summary of the activities of the Maria Sibylla Merian International Centre, which opened in São Paulo in 2017 and is financed by the BMBF. For example, in November of last year, researchers from Germany and the University of São Paulo took part in the workshop “Researching Conviviality in Unequal Societies: Theories and Methods”. The discussions focused on case studies and the challenges posed by co-existence in societies characterised by major inequalities and cultural differences, as is the case in the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean.

The German House for Research and Innovation São Paulo (DWIH-SP) used the event as an opportunity to present its new management structure and planned projects. For the annual meeting of the Brazilian Society for the Advancement of Science (SBPC), due to take place from 22 to 28 July in Maceió, the DWIH-SP is coordinating the participation of a German delegation. The seventh edition of the traditional German-Brazilian Dialogue on Science, Research and Innovation is set to take place in October, with a focus on the topic of “New Working and Learning Models in a Digital World”.

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