FAPESP Week Illinois

University of Illinois plans new model for research collaboration with Brazil

(photo: UIS)

By Elton Alisson  |  Agência FAPESP – The Brasillinois program will be officially launched during FAPESP Week Illinois, which will take place on April 9 and 10 in Chicago, United States.

The initiative aims to create a new model for research collaboration between Brazil and the University of Illinois System (UIS) in the United States – comprising the Universities of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago, and Springfield – by building research links in areas such as climate and sustainability, medicine and public health, and social inclusion.

Another goal of Brasillinois is to increase the exchange of Brazilian undergraduate and PhD students with those from UIS and the Great Lakes Higher Education Consortium – which includes other universities in the United States and Canada – as well as institutional partners in North America.

According to the initiative’s website, the goal of the student and faculty mobility program is to bring more than one hundred Brazilian undergraduate and PhD students to the three UIS universities over the next few years.

Undergraduate students will be able to spend a semester in Illinois, and PhD students will be classified as visiting researchers and will be able to stay for a period of three to ten months at the host institution.  

The UIS also intends to support visits to Brazilian partner universities by professors who mentor students in the mobility program to strengthen academic collaboration.

“The research conducted by the University of Illinois System faculty and our partners in Brazil has incredible potential in areas such as climate, agriculture, medicine, public health, and democracy – all critical issues for life in the 21st century. When faculty members from different backgrounds and cultures work together, each brings unique strengths and perspectives that serve to spur innovation and strengthen solutions. Brasillinois will seek to capitalize on this kind of connection to produce potentially transformative results,” said Tim Killeen, president of the University of Illinois System, in a statement to Agência FAPESP.

In the area of medicine and public health, one of the goals of Brasillinois will be to use data and community initiatives from Illinois and Brazil to develop and launch pilot programs aimed at increasing life expectancy in urban and rural settings and to establish cohort studies in both regions.

On the topic of climate, UIS researchers can also collaborate within the framework of the Amazon+10 initiative, which brings together researchers affiliated with the State Research Foundations (FAPs) of 25 Brazilian states in research projects in the Legal Amazon, a nine-state area created by Brazilian federal law in 1953 to promote special environmental protection and development policies for the Amazon biome.

Led by the National Council of State Research Foundations (CONFAP) and the National Council of State Departments of Science, Technology and Innovation (CONSECTI), in partnership with the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq), the program has already allocated nearly BRL 100 million in funding to scientific projects.

“With FAPESP’s broad reach across disciplines and its extensive network of universities and agencies, we’re excited about the opportunity to collaborate on shared interests that will benefit both the people of Brazil and Illinois,” said Killeen.

FAPESP Week Illinois

For two days, FAPESP Week Illinois will bring together researchers from universities and research institutions in the state of São Paulo, the UIS, the Great Lakes region, and partner institutions in Canada and Mexico at the headquarters of the Discovery Partners Institute in Chicago.

The goal of the meeting is to establish new multidisciplinary research collaborations to address major challenges in areas such as health, sustainable cities, smart agriculture, climate, bioenergy, and the consolidation of democratic institutions.

“Our partnership with the University of Illinois System to promote FAPESP Week is an important step forward in our relationship with the central states of North America, from Canada to Mexico,” said Marco Antonio Zago, president of FAPESP. “The topics that will be discussed are relevant to the future of our planet – from water to democratic institutions, and from One Health to smart agriculture. This event will help strengthen ties between institutions on both sides and highlight the excellent research being done on both continents,” he predicted.

Held in partnership with universities and research institutions abroad, FAPESP Week aims to bring together researchers with outstanding production in their fields to discuss ongoing research and the development of new collaborative projects. The first edition of the event was held in Washington, United States, in October 2011.

There have already been 19 other editions of FAPESP Week. The last one was held in France in November 2019. The series of international meetings was interrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic and will resume this year with FAPESP Week Illinois.

More information about the Brasillinois program is available at: uillinois.edu/brasillinois