General Overview

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Brazil is a country that offers opportunities in the field of research and innovation. Its universities, research institutions, and funding agents and institutes open their doors to those who are interested in researching and innovating in the country.

A number of players are involved in research and the development of innovation in Brazil. The primary institutions of the Brazilian government are the public universities, the technological institutes, the agencies for fomenting research and, more recently, the Brazilian Industrial Research and Innovation Company (Embrapii).

Incubators, technology parks, private investors, corporations, and such systems as the National Service for Industrial Apprenticeship Training (SENAI) and its Innovation Institutes, as well as the Brazilian Micro and Small Business Support Service (SEBRAE), are also important parts of the Brazilian innovation scenario.

Also a part of the Brazilian innovation scenario are the incubators, the technological parks, private investors, and such companies and systems as the National Industrial Apprentice Service (Senai) and the Brazilian Service in Support of Micro and Small Companies (Sebrae).

Research in Brazil

Research carried out in Brazil is concentrated in universities and other federal or state institutions. Currently, there are 302 public and 2,306 higher education institutions in the country. Together, they total 198 universities; 294 university centers; 2,076 public colleges and 40 federal education, science, and technology institutes and federal centers for technological education. These data come from the Higher Education Census 2019 released by the Ministry of Education (MEC) and by the Anísio Teixeira National Institute of Educational Studies and Research (INEP) in October 2020. According to the 2017 census, these entities also include at least 667 active centers of face-to-face support, such as libraries, tutoring rooms, computer labs, distance tutoring, and teaching laboratories.

In July 2021, the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MCTI) launched the National Innovation Strategy, focusing on the period from 2021 to 2024, which lays out themed plans for the years 2021 and 2022. These dynamics are similar to what already existed in the National Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation, created in 2017, and which the recent document replaces.

Innovation activities were classified along six lines, with responsibilities divided between the Ministries of Education (MEC), Economy (ME), and Science, Technology and Innovation (MCTI):

  1. Expand professional qualifications through the technological training of human resources – (MEC);
  2. Plan and ensure the promotion of innovation – (MCTI);
  3. Stimulate the technological knowledge bases for innovation – (MCTI);
  4. Stimulate the development of markets for innovative products and services – (ME);
  5. Spread a culture of entrepreneurial innovation – (MCTI);
  6. Protect knowledge – (ME).

The strategy – comprised of objectives, goals, and initiatives – organizes government priorities and forms the basis for the elaboration of action plans. The MCTI emphasizes that these new guidelines seek to increase the cohesion, synergy, and effectiveness of policies focusing on innovation that had previously occurred in isolated contexts within the different ministries.

According to the resolution itself, the actions that comprise the plans seek to meet the demands of the ecosystem, such as encouraging private investment in innovation; support for startups and open innovation initiatives; and programs to support structuring technologies in such areas as agriculture, renewable energy sources, space, and others.

The MCTI document also provides for the revision of higher education curricula, for the purpose of promoting a more practical, entrepreneurial, and interdisciplinary approach to the development of entrepreneurship and innovation.

Since these curricula can be revised every two years, the strategy determines their main objectives and areas of action from 2021 to 2024. Some main examples are:

  • Increase public and private investments in Science, Technology and Innovation;
  • Increase the rate of innovation of Brazilian companies;
  • Increase the number of companies that take advantage of the benefits of the Lei do Bem (fiscal incentives for investing in innovation).

There are also employment targets in the areas of innovation, of quantities in technical and undergraduate courses, of incentives for innovative cultures, and of the consolidation of Research, Development, and Innovation (RD&I) data.