Research Areas

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If you are seeking direction for your research, in relation to a relevant topic to liven up your project, see, here, the areas highlighted in Brazil.

Generally speaking, the website of the Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovation and Communication (MCTIC) identifies 12 topical areas deemed to be strategic to the nation’s development, autonomy, and sovereignty. These areas are: aerospace and defense; water; food; biomes and bioeconomy; social sciences and technologies; climate; digital economy and society; energy; nuclear; health; and convergent and enabling technologies.

However, eight areas are considered to be especially strategic for the Brazilian government, which gives incentive to researching them via some one hundred National Institutes of Science and Technology (INCTs), which serve as networks between groups of excellence. They are:

Agrarian Sciences And Agribusiness

This sector is one of the most strategic for the country. All of the programs contribute to perfecting the sector in Brazil, stimulate applied research, and accelerate the process of spreading the technology to farmers. They also provide top-quality services to companies and clients that want to evaluate Brazilian systems and products. The objective of the research in the agrarian sector is to develop technological know-how by accruing expert human resources in the different areas of study science and technology, as related to the sector, from different educational and research institutions.

Energy

The research work related to the energy sector seeks to promote integrated and cooperative actions for the development of science, technology, and innovation. Among the main areas are electrical power, hydrogen, and renewable energy sources, for which specific programs are developed. The objective is to develop new technologies for generating, transmitting, distributing and, finally, using electrical power, as well as the economy of hydrogen, which could be used commercially as a fuel in the next two decades.

In the area of renewable energy sources, the focus is on those sources having the greatest potential for the country, like hydraulic, biomass, biogas, wind, and solar. The relationship between energy, environment, and biodiversity is also dealt with by Brazilian research studies. The priority of an important part of the studies is energy efficiency and geoscience in the Amazon. Other big programs focus on biodiesel, ethanol, and bioethanol, as well as the development of innovative nuclear reactors. Research is also underway in petroleum geophysics and techniques applied to the exploration of oil and gas.

Information And Communication Engineering And Technology

One of the sectors that grows the fastest in developing countries, the innovations in information technology, is developed in Brazil through research in web science, digital convergence, wireless communication, and work focused on photonics for optical communications. Engineering converges with the TI area in studies of intelligent engineering structures and software engineering. Studies in surface engineering focus on the phenomena that occur in solid bodies and they promote innovations and effective solutions in sectors as diverse as petroleum and natural gas, mining, aeronautics, automotive, odontology, and micro-electronics.

In the Engineering and TI sector there are still studies being made of Critical Embedded Systems, that is, every fragment of processing computer or electronic data that is a part of a larger system and carries out a specific task, like a robot that performs a surgery, or the automated control of automobiles. Other programs take in refrigeration and thermophysics, as well as space studies, that develop space technologies. They can be used for monitoring the environment and global climate change, for observing the nation’s territory, and for surveying natural resources, as well as for controlling air traffic and government communications, for example.

Exact And Natural Sciences

One of the highlight studies in this sector is Brazilian mathematics, which enjoys solid international prestige, ranked along with developed countries in the ranking according to research activity by the International Mathematical Union, like Belgium and The Netherlands. The number of competent centers in the various regions of the country is being substantially expanded. Research activities develop applications and computer models, like those connected with the optimization of the exploration for petroleum, environmental modeling, modeling of biophysical phenomena, and several others.

Despite being a recent thing, organic electronics has shown itself to have great scientific and technological potential in new devices, with an emphasis on flexible electronics, display and solar cell technology, and the development of new sensors and biosensors. Some of the other subjects of the area are complex systems, astrophysics, bioanalytics, and advanced analytical technologies, as well as tectonic studies, complex fluids, photonics, and quantum mechanics.

Human And Social Sciences

Brazil’s cultural diversity is one of the research subjects developed in this sector. From an anthropological perspective, several projects seek to describe and portray the different Brazilian realities, in order to contribute to the preparation of public and social policies and to the formation of qualified professionals. Lines of research are also developed in the areas of education, economic development, and social inclusion, as well as inclusion in higher education and in research.

Other subjects include urban themes, like observatories and study centers of Brazilian cities and their problems. The work groups investigate subjects related to inequalities and to the formulation of public policies in contemporary cities. There are also project dealing with violence and democracy. In this case, the studies have to do with the quality of democracy and governance that can be developed in an environment where the violation of human rights persists and where there are territories dominated by organized crime and systemic corruption, among other legal offenses.

Ecology And The Environment

The country has many centers for the research and management of biodiversity, which contribute knowledge of Brazilian biological diversity and promote its sustainability. One of the most-studied regions is the Amazon. Researchers are developing a variety of type of studies regarding biodiversity in the Amazon, land use in the region, environmental services, types of wood, and the adaptations of the aquatic ecosystem of the Amazon. There is also research on the semi-arid region of Northeastern Brazil, its archeology, paleontology, and environment, as well as studies of solutions for the process of salinization of the soil. In the Southeast, there is a work group on the parasitoids of the region.

One important line of research in the ecology and environment sector of Brazil has to do with the marine sciences. Among the subjects treated are mineral resources, water, and biodiversity; tropical marine environments; studies of integrated oceanographic processes and the continent/ocean transfer of materials, as well as studies of aquatic toxicology. Brazil is also a member of the international scientific community that investigates the role of glaciers, the ice sheet, and marine ice in the Antarctic and the Andes Mountains. The country also has projects focusing on climate change.

Nanotechnology

Brazil has a Nanotechnology Program whose objective is to support projects and infrastructure activities for research and to generate knowledge, for micro and nanotechnological products and processes. In all, there are more than ten research institutes in the area of nanotechnology. They are located throughout entire country and includes a variety of lines of research, like semiconductor nano devices; micro and nanoelectronic systems; carbon nanomaterials, nanotechnology for integrated markers and nanotechnology materials.

One of the lines of research is about nanobiotechnology and deals with the use of complexes constructed based on drug coupling, or biomolecules, nanostructured materials for applications in human and veterinarian health. The objective of nanobiopharmaceutical is to extend and guide pharmaceutical research to the development of innovations in the sector. Other work involves nanotechnology for researchers in the civil engineering area and as an innovative factor in the textile industry, as well as studies for assessing socioenvironmental risks of nanotechnological products.

Health

One of the country’s health programs seeks to produce materials to expand the activities of Brazilian industry, generating greater competitiveness and a larger share in international trade, speeding up economic growth, and creating new jobs. Thus, drugs and medications, medical products and biomaterials are developed, as well as diagnostic kits, pharmaceutical innovations, and vaccines. Other innovations consist of stem cell and cell therapy, phototonics applied to cellular biology, medicine assisted by assisted by scientific computing, molecular medicine, translational neuroscience, and others.

Regional work is also carried out, such as studies regarding biomedicine in Brazil’s semiarid Northeast and about health and the environment in the Amazon. As for diseases, a series of research studies focuses on gaining a deeper knowledge of each pathology and studying means of prevention. Among the lines of research being developed are tropical diseases, hemorrhagic and viral fevers, dengue, tuberculosis, obesity and diabetes, cancer control, genetic diseases, and papilloma virus diseases. There are also psychiatry studies of the development of children and adolescents, as well as studies of public health, such as more efficient diagnostics, women’s health, and alcohol and drug policies.