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Cablegate: Nsf Director's Visit Highlights Us-Brazil Scientific

VZCZCXRO5881
RR RUEHAST RUEHHM RUEHLN RUEHMA RUEHPB RUEHPOD RUEHTM
DE RUEHBR #1665/01 3641040
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 291040Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY BRASILIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3177
INFO RUEHSO/AMCONSUL SAO PAULO 3257
RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO 7030
RUEHRG/AMCONSUL RECIFE 8846
RUEHZN/ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 BRASILIA 001665

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR OES/ENRC, OES/STC,

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: TSPL NSF KSCA SENV ENRG EAGR KIPR BR
SUBJECT: NSF DIRECTOR'S VISIT HIGHLIGHTS US-BRAZIL SCIENTIFIC
COOPERATION AND THE IMPORTANCE OF INNOVATION.

REF: A) BRASILIA 1523, B) BRASILIA 1603

BRASILIA 00001665 001.2 OF 003


THIS CABLE IS SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED AND NOT FOR INTERNET
DISTRIBUTION.

1. (SBU) SUMMARY. The visit to Brasilia and Sao Paulo by National
Science Foundation (NSF) Director, Dr. Arden Bement and Brazil
Program Manager from the NSF Office of International Science and
Engineering (OISE),Dr. Carmina Londono, included several very
productive meetings with GOB agencies and Brazilian academic
institutions. NSF's visit highlighted the continued USG interest in
spurring scientific collaboration with Brazil, promoting investment
in R&D and education that encourages innovation and
entrepreneurship, and emphasizing IPR awareness as an integral
component for turning knowledge into technology.
END SUMMARY

BACKGROUND

2. (U) NSF Director Dr. Arden Bement and NSF OISE's Brazil Program
Manager Dr. Carmina Londono visited Brazil from December first
through December fifth, 2008. The impetus for the visit was an
invitation to Dr. Bement to speak on "Engineers as Strategic
Visionaries" at the World Engineering Conference, held in Brasilia
during the same week. The NSF representatives, accompanied by
Science Officers, visited various government agencies and academic
institutions involved in funding or conducting scientific research.
Dr. Bement and Dr. Londono stayed in Brasilia December first through
the fourth and then traveled to Sao Paulo for a full day of meetings
on December fifth.

3. (U) Meetings in Brasilia included the National Council for
Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq); the Brazilian
Agricultural Research Corporation (EMBRAPA); the Brazilian Federal
Agency for Support and Evaluation of Graduate Education (CAPES); the
Ministry of Science and Technology; the Ministry of External
Relations; and the University of Brasilia. In Sao Paulo, Dr. Bement
met with Dr. Jose Goldemberg, former Secretary for the Environment
for the State of Sao Paulo, Dr. Hans Viertler, Director of the
Chemistry Department of the University of Sao Paulo; the Butantan
Institute; the Foundation for the Promotion of Research of the State
of Sao Paulo (FAPESP); and the Institute for Technological Research
(IPT).

CURRENT NSF ACTIVITIES IN BRAZIL

4. (U) The NSF has approximately 350 active awards that fund U.S.
academic institutions involved in activities with Brazil. Dr.
Bement pointed out that this places Brazil in the top 8 countries in
terms of NSF-funded research and represents over 11 million dollars
in grants. Brazil and the U.S. share scientific research interests
in key areas such as biofuels, cyber-infrastructure, sustainable
energy research, bio-diversity, and mathematics among others.

5. (U) NSF collaborative work with CNPq is the most active of all
countries in Latin America and it is highly competitive especially
in the areas of biology and the mathematical and physical sciences.
Dr. Bement urged CNPq to participate in a unique NSF international
Chemistry program which calls for a single chemistry proposal
developed jointly by the U.S. investigator and counterparts in
Brazil. Presently the NSF Chemistry Division is interested in
expanding the Program to Latin America and in particular to Brazil.


INNOVATION

6. (U) Innovation was a recurring theme during the visit. Several
Brazilian agencies and organizations mentioned to Dr. Bement that
innovation is a priority for the GOB and the academic community. In
each case the principal indicated that they were eager to work with
the NSF on promoting increased innovation in Brazil. During the
meetings, Brazilian contacts emphasized their high-level interest in
promoting innovation. The Minister of Science and Technology,
Sergio Rezende, told Dr. Bement that innovation is one of his top
four priorities, a fact that he has shared with Embassy Officers
before.

7. (U) In meetings with CNPq, the Ministry of Foreign Relations
(MRE), the Ministry of Science and Technology (MCT), FAPESP, and
CAPES, the Brazilian principals mentioned that they see the U.S. as
the leader in innovation and asked Dr. Bement to comment. Dr.
Bement indicated that the NSF has a variety of activities focused on
supporting the key elements for encouraging innovation. These
elements include strong investment in science education, IPR
protection, and encouraging broader participation. Another

BRASILIA 00001665 002.2 OF 003


important mechanism to stimulate innovation in different fields is
through workshops. For instance NSF has been collaborating with
CNPq and FAPESP to organize a workshop on "Water and Land Use
Implications of Biofuel Production" and looks forward to carrying it
out in 2009. Each country will select a scientist to serve as the
country organizer and approximately 40 to 50 scientists will be
invited to participate in the workshop. Dr. Bement envisioned other
similar workshops to address different aspects of innovation for
other fields. This idea was enthusiastically received by his
Brazilian counterparts. (NOTE. Innovation has been a recurring
theme in many meetings with GOB contacts. The topic was discussed
in the Economic Partnership Dialogue (REFTEL A) and the preparatory
meeting for the Joint Commission Meeting on Science and Technology
(REFTEL B). END NOTE.)

RECONNECTING THE BRAZILIAN DIASPORA

8. (U) Ambassador Amado of the MRE spoke with Dr. Bement about the
importance of connecting Brazilian expatriate researchers with their
counterparts in Brazil to enhance and increase cooperative research.
Dr. Bement pointed out that there is no one U.S. agency charged
with tracking Brazilian researchers in the U.S. due to U.S. privacy
laws. In this regard, letters to professional societies and journals
from the MRE inviting expatriates to re-connect with their
counterparts might be an appropriate mechanism.

NEW IDEAS FOR COOPERATIVE RESEARCH

9. (U) Dr. Bement consistently promoted the use of emerging
information technologies as a powerful tool to increase
international scientific collaboration in a knowledge economy.
Developing information networks will allow the conduct of science to
become a 24/7 business that will easily and rapidly cross borders
and allow for research at remote locations.

10. (U) An example of NSF's bottoms-up concept of encouraging
collaborative research is the idea of joint PhD programs to be
supervised or sponsored by a university in the U.S. and a university
in Brazil. Dr. Bement endorsed this idea as a way of exposing the
next generation of researchers to the idea of international
cooperation in research and the benefits that it brings. These
programs are frequently initiated by university to university
contacts.

RESEARCH FACILITY VISITS

11. (U) Dr. Bement and Dr. Londono visited research facilities in
both Brasilia and Sao Paulo. In Brasilia they saw two award winning
laboratories at the University of Brasilia, one focused on biology
and the other on geochronology; and an EMBRAPA facility, including a
laboratory that is developing biological agents to be used against
disease vectors. In Sao Paulo, they visited Instituto Butantan, a
biotech facility that focuses on vaccines against animal toxins,
parasites, and other micro-organisms; and the IPT, where Dr. Bement
was particularly interested in the proposed nano-manufacturing
research center that is under construction.

COMMENT

12. (U) COMMENT. The NSF Director's visit to Brazil was very
productive, both for the NSF and Mission Brazil. Dr. Bement was
able to find many areas of mutual interest between the NSF and
various Brazilian agencies. Embassy Brasilia and Consulate General
Sao Paulo look forward to following up on the developed ideas for
increasing scientific and technical cooperation . Science Officers
will take an active role in coordinating between the NSF and
interested GOB agencies to promote more joint activities, including
the "Water and Land Use Implications of Biofuel Production" workshop
and workshops that look at different aspects of innovation. New
joint activities will strengthen the U.S. commitment to helping
Brazil address its need for increased innovation.

13. (SBU) COMMENT CONTINUED. The success of these meetings is
further evidence of the increasing ties between Brazil and the U.S.
within the scientific and technological communities, as well as the
increasing similarity in science and technology interests of our two
countries. These ties, and the Brazilians' eagerness to encourage
innovation, also provide the USG with the opportunity to use
existing ties to tackle contentious issues, such as IPR, in a
context of building a larger group of Brazilian stakeholders who
grasp the importance of these policies to Brazil's future
development. END COMMENT.

14. This cable was coordinated with Consulate General Sao Paulo and
the National Science Foundation.

BRASILIA 00001665 003.2 OF 003

KUBISKE

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