Directors of UC Davis and FAPESP emphasize the importance of partnerships
Ralph Hexter, Harris Lewin and Carlos Henrique de Brito Cruz open sessions at FAPESP Week at the University of California Davis and support efforts to bring scientists from Brazil and the United States together
By Heitor Shimizu, in Davis
Agência FAPESP – After two days of the symposium in Berkeley, the second part of FAPESP Week California was kicked off November 20, 2014, in the auditorium of the Mondavi Center on the Campus of the University of California, Davis, nearly100 kilometers away.
The event served as a gathering point for researchers from the United States and the state of São Paulo to present findings from research studies and discuss topics in several fields of knowledge.
The symposium was opened by Adrienne Martin, Interim Vice Provost for University Outreach and International Programs as well as professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at UC Davis.
She was followed by Ralph Hexter, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor of UC Davis who welcomed participants, emphasizing the significance of the event as a “one-week commitment between our two regions, California and the state of São Paulo.”
“This event, which brings together leading researchers in our countries, represents a unique opportunity to advance knowledge for the common good,” he said.
Hexter talked about the university he represents, one of the 10 campuses within the University of California system. UC Davis has 34,000 students and offers 102 undergraduate and 90 graduate programs. With an annual operating budget over $800 million – $150 million of which are from endowments and private donations – the institution invests approximately $750 million in research annually.
UC Davis has four colleges: the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences; the College of Biological Sciences; the College of Engineering; and the College of Letters and Science. It also has six professional schools: the School of Education; the School of Law; the Graduate School of Management; the School of Medicine; the School of Veterinary Medicine; and the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing.
Hexter also highlighted the importance of the UC Davis partnership with FAPESP. The institutions have a cooperation agreement, which issued a call for proposals in 2013 that selected and currently funds three collaborative projects between researchers in São Paulo and California. Another call for proposal is open to fund additional research projects and is accepting proposals through January, 2015.
“We enthusiastically support any effort that enables the strengthening of our partnership with FAPESP to ensure the best of outcomes, and events such as FAPESP Week, which brings researchers from Brazil to meet with their colleagues at UC Davis, clearly represents the importance of these efforts, said Hexter, who is also a professor of classics and comparative literature.
FAPESP Scientific Director, Carlos Henrique de Brito Cruz, spoke about “Science and Technology in the state of São Paulo,” particularly the role of FAPESP.
Brito Cruz described the funding mechanisms FAPESP offers for research, especially those that enable scientists from other countries to carry out research in Brazil, such as through Visiting Researcher Grants and programs like the FAPESP Bioenergy Research Program (BIOEN) and the Biota-FAPESP program for biodiversity research.
Another program he pointed out was the FAPESP Innovative Research in Small Businesses Program (PIPE), designed to support scientific and/or technological research in small businesses headquartered in the state of São Paulo. “In 2013, we approved an average of three PIPE grants per week,” he said.
“Small businesses in the state of São Paulo can submit proposals for FAPESP research funding for up to two years to enable the businesses to develop new ideas and turn them into innovative products or processes,” he explained.
“Some of the businesses we support, for example, used to have revenues of less than $100,000 per year and employ only a few people. After securing funding from FAPESP, they were able to become businesses with annual revenues of $50 million or even $100 million,” he said.
Brito Cruz also mentioned FAPESP partnerships with institutions of higher education and research, and with businesses in other countries, citing, for example, the Foundation’s cooperation agreement with Agilent, whose headquarters are in San Jose, a city close to Davis.
Following him was UC Davis Vice Chancellor for Research and Professor of American Evolution and Ecology, Harris Lewin, who said he was “very happy with the excellent FAPESP Week California program, which represents a valuable opportunity to learn about the very important research studies going on in several fields of knowledge.”
“But as important as the lectures are, it is what we can do on the other days of the event, whether it be establishing collaboration between researchers from Davis and the state of São Paulo or having researchers meet with administrators from our university who are very active in this partnership with FAPESP that is very important to us as well,” Lewin said.
FAPESP Week California was held on two campuses of the University of California: November 17-18 in Berkeley and November 20-21 in Davis. The event included the support of the Brazil Institute of the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, in Washington, DC.