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). 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

The research performed in Brazil is concentrated in universities and other Federal or State institutions. There are currently 296 public institutions of higher learning in the country (along with 2,152 private institutions): 106 universities (besides 93 private), 8 university centers (and 181 private centers), 142 public colleges (1,878 private colleges), and 40 Federal educational institutes in science and technology. These bodies have at least 667 active centers for in-person support, such as libraries, tutorial rooms, information technology laboratories, distance tutorial, and teaching laboratories. The data can be found in the Higher Education Census (Censo da Educação Superior) 2017, released by the Ministry of Education (MEC) and by the Anísio Teixeira National Institute of Educational Studies and Research (INEP), on October 3, 2018.

There is also legislation in effect, in the country, that gives incentive to the development of innovation. The Technological Innovation Law (2004) was created to stimulate the creation of specialized and cooperative environments for innovation, the participation of scientific and technological institutions (ICT, in Portuguese) in the sector, innovation in companies, the independent inventor, and the creation of investment funds for innovation.

In May 2016, the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MCTIC) launched the program: National Strategy of Science, Technology, and Innovation (ENCTI) 2016-2019. In 2017, the Ministry revised and updated the document (ENCTI 2016-2022) for a new time period. This strategy sets the condition for Brazil to take a significant leap in scientific and technological development at to raise the level of competitiveness of products and processes in a robust and coordinated Nations Science, Technology, and Innovation System (SNCTI). They are also being synchronized with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of the Agenda 2030 of the Agenda 2030 of the United Nations (UN).

To that end, it establishes five pillars: the promotion of basic and technological scientific research; the modernization and expansion of the Science, Technology, and Innovation (ST&I) infrastructure; the expansion of financing for the development of ST&I; the formation, attraction, and fixation of human resources; and the promotion of technological innovation in companies. For each one of these pillars, priority actions are indicated that will contribute to strengthening the SNCTI, which is considered to be the structural axis.

The objective is to position Brazil among the countries with the greatest development in ST&I; to perfect the institutional conditions for raising productivity based on innovation; to reduce regional asymmetries in the production of and access to ST&I; develop innovative solutions for productive and social inclusion; and to strengthen the bases for promoting sustainable development.

To achieve these objectives, ENCTI 2016-2022 points out twelve strategic areas: aerospace and defense; water; food; biomes and bioeconomy; social sciences and technologies; climate; digital economy and society; energy; strategic minerals; nuclear; health; and convergent and enabling technologies. The proposal is to direct investments to these areas, consistently and coherently, in order to maximize results.