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Destination Brazil…

Clarisse Faria-Fortecoëf

First economy of Latin America (2,477 billion USD of GDP in 2011), ranked sixth largest economy ahead of Great Britain and Russia, Brazil is also distinguished by its dynamism and potential in the higher education, research and international scientific exchanges field.

Ranked first in Latin America, the Brazilian higher education system is mostly known for its training of Master and PhD regularly assessed since 1976 by the CAPES (Development Coordination of Higher Education Personnel), Foundation of the Ministry of Education (MEC) established in 1951. Agreements with foreign universities, number of visiting professors, bilateral exchanges of students, participation in the organization of international events in Brazil and outside, involvement and publications in scientific journals and participation in committees and international scholar societies are particularly appreciated.

With fourteen new universities created between 2003 and 2010, Brazil has 278 public education institutions (11% of higher education institutions) and 2,100 private higher education institutions (89% of institutions). Although tuition fees in public universities are free, a quite selective entrance examination (annual success rate of 10%), the vestibular, mainly benefits those who have completed a course in secondary private schools.
In 2010, there were 98,607 students in Master, 64,588 PhDs (about 3 years of study, sometimes more) and 10,213 professional Master, which means only 173,408 students in total. At the PhD level, for example, 12,000 enrolled got their graduation in 2010 (the national average is 10,000 per year).

Among funding agencies, the CAPES had a budget of € 1.1 billion in 2011 and funds programs and scholarships exclusively reserved  for students at Master and Doctorate level. In 2010, it awarded 55,047 scholarships in Brazil (4,951 mobility grants to outside the country).
There are also 25 foundations supporting research (Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa - FAP) like the FAPESP created in 1962 and which annually receives 1% of the revenue of the state of São Paulo.
This foundation has developed many international cooperations including, France (agreements with the ANR, COFECUB, CNRS, INRIA, CIRAD and INSERM).

In terms of research, Brazil has a key position in Latin America with 55.8% of articles published and is in the 13th position in the world ranking (source: Thomson Reuters. National Science Indicators - NSI).
Among measures to facilitate linkages between universities and enterprises - only 3.6% of researchers with a PhD have chosen to join the business world (public or private) -, the Federal Government created the Brazilian System of Technology (SIBRATEC) including 56 Research and Development networks and cores at a national level. These networks, coordinated by the MCTI (Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation), have for main task to support innovation in micro and small enterprises.

In terms of incoming mobility, 14,738 foreign students - according to UNESCO figures - have made a study stay in Brazil in 2010 (versus 1,117 in 2004). However, the number of European students only amounts to 2,607 in 2010 (346 from France). Moreover, since 2007, France is the first country to host fellows from the Brazilian government.
In order to attract more foreign students and researchers, various host devices are available: accomodation, welcome and international conventions centres, promotional materials in several languages, etc.
It should also be noted that the Brazilian "Ciência sem Fronteiras" (SsF - Science without borders) program, launched in 2011 offers various funding supports: "visiting researchers" scholarships (390 will be granted over the next four years for the whole world) allowing foreign researchers to stay in Brazil from one to three months per year, for two or three years; "young talents" scholarships (860 available for all countries, by 2015) allowing mobility for a period of 12 to 36 months.

Among initiatives aimed more specifically, French people:
  • The REFEB program to the attention of students and young researchers in human and social sciences, whose object of study or research requires a stay in Brazil of short duration (3-6 months);
  • The "French Chairs in the State of São Paulo" program jointly managed by the University of São Paulo (USP), the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP) and the State University of São Paulo "Júlio de Mesquita Filho" (UNESP), in partnership with the French General Consulate in São Paulo. This program allows to welcome professors or researchers from French higher education and research institutions, and from all disciplines for a period greater than 45 days and less than one year. For example, the Franco-Brazilian selection Committee which met on the 1st of March, 2012, has approved awarding of 25 chairs.
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