The Brazilian funding agency for scientific and technological research São Paulo Research Foundation, FAPESP, based in the state of São Paulo, announced an investment estimated in US$ 680 million to support 17 Research, Innovation and Dissemination Centers (RIDCs) for a period of up to eleven years, subject to continuation reviews on years 2, 4 and 7.
Funding for the 17 RIDCs will come from FAPESP and the host institutions (through funding faculty, technicians, support personnel, and infrastructure). Host institutions will participate in a portion of US$ 310 million of this amount for the payment of salaries and additional funding will be obtained by each center from industry and government organizations.
Each selected RIDC is expected to establish a hub of excellent research in its focus area. In addition, each RIDC must actively seek out and develop opportunities to have its research results contribute to commercially and/or socially relevant high-impact applications, as well as contributing to education and dissemination of knowledge.
The 17 RIDCs bring together 535 scientists from the State of São Paulo and 69 scientists from other countries. The research topics covered by the centers include the following: food and nutrition; glasses and glass-ceramics; functional materials; neuroscience and neurotechnology; inflammatory diseases; biodiversity and drug discovery; toxins, immune-response and cell signaling; neuromathematics; mathematical sciences applied to industry; obesity and associated diseases; cellular therapy; metropolitan studies; human genome and stem-cells; computational engineering; redox processes in biomedicine; violence; and optics, photonics, and atomic and molecular physics.
THE 17 RESEARCH, INNOVATION AND DISSEMINATION CENTERS (RIDCs)
ABOUT THE RIDC PROGRAM
The RIDC Program, started by FAPESP in 2000, supported 11 research centers from 2001 until 2013. In 2011, a second call for proposals was announced, generating 90 proposals, out of which the 17 awardees were selected. The selection process used 150 Brazilian and international reviewers, an International Committee composed of 11 invited scientists, and FAPESP's internal committees.
The most important feature of the RIDCs is the multiplicity of their missions. In addition to the primary mission of developing fundamental or applied research, focused on specific themes or objectives, the centers must actively seek out opportunities to contribute to innovation by developing effective means of technology transfer. The centers are also responsible for offering extension activities geared towards elementary and high school education and the general public. These include involving high school students and teachers in research activities, teacher training, and science dissemination.
SCIENTIFIC OPPORTUNITIES IN SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL
São Paulo is the most developed and diversified state in the country, contributing 33% of Brazil's GDP. About half of the research articles published yearly by scientists in Brazil have authors working in the State of São Paulo. The state is responsible for 45% of the doctorates awarded yearly in Brazil.
With 41 million people, it hosts six public research universities, the University of São Paulo (USP), the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP), the University of the State of São Paulo (UNESP), the Federal University in São Carlos (UFSCAR), the Federal University in São Paulo (UNIFESP) and the Federal University in ABC (UFABC), and the renowned Aeronautics Technology Institute (ITA).
The state also hosts 19 state funded mission oriented research institutes, such as the Agronomics Institute of Campinas (IAC), the Institute for Technology Research (IPT) and the Butantan Institute, as well as the National Space Research Institute (INPE), the National Center for Airspace Technology (DCTA), and the National Research Center for Energy and Materials (CNPEM), which includes the National Synchrotron Light Source (LNLS).
R&D expenditures in the State of São Paulo reached 1.6% of state GDP in 2011, with 60% of expenditures contributed by the business sector.
FAPESP: MORE THAN HALF A CENTURY SUPPORTING SCIENCE IN SÃO PAULO
The São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) is one of the major funding agencies for scientific research in Brazil. Its mission is to foster scientific research in all fields of knowledge by awarding scholarships, fellowships and grants to investigators in higher education or research institutions in the State of São Paulo, Brazil. Proposals are selected through a stringent peer-review system.
Since 1962, FAPESP has granted more than 110,000 scholarships and fellowships (from the undergraduate to postdoctoral level), supported nearly 100,000 research projects, and contributed remarkably towards improving the research infrastructure and the social and economic development of the State of São Paulo. In 2012, FAPESP received 21,600 research proposals.
In addition to funding investigator-initiated research in all fields, FAPESP fosters special research programs in strategic areas for Brazil and for the State of São Paulo, such as biodiversity, bioenergy, global climate change and neuroscience.
The Foundation maintains cooperative agreements for co-funding research with national and international research funding bodies, foreign institutions of higher education and research, and private companies.
The State Constitution mandates the appropriation of 1% of the State's tax revenues to FAPESP. FAPESP's bylaws establish that the Foundation cannot spend more than 5% of its budget in administrative costs. FAPESP works in a regime of administrative and financial autonomy, and distributed US$ 525 million to support scientific research in 2012.
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