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Cablegate: Brazil: Stas Dr. Nina Fedoroff Promotes Science And

VZCZCXRO9433
RR RUEHAST RUEHDH RUEHHM RUEHLN RUEHMA RUEHPB RUEHPOD RUEHRG RUEHSL
RUEHTM RUEHTRO
DE RUEHBR #1414/01 3411350
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 071348Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY BRASILIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0024
INFO ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COLLECTIVE
RUEHRG/AMCONSUL RECIFE 0017
RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO
RUEHSO/AMCONSUL SAO PAULO

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 BRASILIA 001414

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: TSPL TBIO TPHY EAGR KSCA EAID KGHG BR
SUBJECT: BRAZIL: STAS DR. NINA FEDOROFF PROMOTES SCIENCE AND
TECHNOLOGY COOPERATION, PARTICULARLY WITH BIOTECHNOLOGY

REF: 09 BRASILIA 1120; 09 BRASILIA 1175

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

1. (SBU) SUMMARY. Dr. Nina Fedoroff, Science and Technology
Advisor for the Secretary of State and USAID (STAS) visited Brazil
on October 25-30. In her meetings in Sao Paulo, Brasilia, and Rio
de Janeiro with academics, private sector representatives, and
government officials she promoted increased science and technology
cooperation, with a particular focus on reducing barriers to such
cooperation, agricultural biotechnology, trilateral cooperation in
developing countries, and the Joint Commission Meeting on Science
and Technology (JCM) that subsequently took place in Washington,
D.C. on November 19-20. Dr. Fedoroff's visit was productive and
generated interest across all sectors in increasing science and
technology cooperation between Brazil and the United States. She
also generated a considerable amount of enthusiasm and interest in
the JCM - helping to open doors and to encourage participation by
the key principals; without whom the JCM would suffer from a lack
of political clout. END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) Throughout her visit Dr. Fedoroff consistently had
productive and engaging meetings with a wide variety of
interlocutors covering the gamut of areas in which Brazilian and
U.S. scientists and technical (S&T) agencies are cooperating. She
stressed to her Brazilian counterparts that the United States and
Brazil should be cooperating as partners and that both countries
have much to learn from each others' experiences. She was careful
to stress that the United States has not overcome all of the
obstacles that stand in the way of innovation, has not created a
perfect regulatory system that will address all of science's future
advances, and has not yet removed all of the barriers that exist to
cooperation between U.S. agencies or scientists and their foreign
counterparts. While the United States may have competitive
advantages in some areas, there are others in which it has much to
learn from partners like Brazil.

JOINT COMMISSION MEETING ON SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

3. (SBU) Dr. Fedoroff's visit corresponded with the run-up to the
U.S. - Brazil Joint Commission Meeting on Science and Technology
(JCM), which subsequently took place on November 19-20 in
Washington, D.C. Dr. Fedoroff's meeting with the JCM's Brazilian
Delegation Head, Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Sergio
Rezende, came on the heels of a meeting between Min. Rezende and
the Director of the National Science Foundation, Dr. Arden Bement,
which prompted the Minister to focus on the JCM. Dr. Fedoroff's
meeting spurred Min. Rezende personally to recruit high-level
government officials to participate in the JCM delegation. During
the meeting, Min. Rezende was visibly excited and engaged. Min.
Rezende made it clear that he expected the JCM to be a great
opportunity to expand the U.S. - Brazil science and technology
relationship.

4. (SBU) During their meeting Min. Rezende also pointed out that
in his view Brazilian scientific ties are stronger with the United
States than with any other country. According to the Ministry's
analysis, the scientific ties between the United States and Brazil
are three times greater than their ties with France or the United
Kingdom. (NOTE: Min. Rezende did not give any indication as to how
these figures were calculated.) Given the already strong ties,
Min. Rezende and Dr. Fedoroff agreed that the best way to build
upon them was to concentrate on removing barriers to cooperative
research and providing funding to increase the quantity and scale.
While Brazil's scientific ties are stronger with the United States
than any other country, however, CAPES (the Brazilian Federal
Agency for Support and Evaluation of Graduate Education) President
Jorge Guimaraes informed Dr. Fedoroff that Brazil is increasing its
engagement through numerous education programs with countries such
as France, Germany, Portugal, Great Britain, Spain, Holland and
Sweden.

BRASILIA 00001414 002 OF 004


BARRIERS TO SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COOPERATION

5. (SBU) A common theme during Dr. Fedoroff's visit was the idea
of removing barriers to science cooperation. These barriers can
take many forms, ranging from bureaucratic hurdles - which have
been a consistent concern in joint biomedical research - to
research permissions, and visa processes and fees. Dr. Fedoroff
consistently relayed the message that given the strong level of
interest at a technical-level, both governments need to find ways
to remove unnecessary barriers that prevent researchers from being
able to work together. She suggested assembling funds from all
agencies into a common pool that would create a funding base for
S&T collaboration.

6. (SBU) Ambassador Hadil Vianna, the Director of the Department
of Science and Technology at the Ministry of External Relations,
made a comment that was telling about the Government of Brazil's
(GOB) view of government's central role in science and technology
cooperation. In response to a comment by Dr. Fedoroff about
removing barriers, he asked how the government would be able to
monitor and track all the international cooperation taking place in
the country if the government did not insert itself more into the
review process.

AGRICULTURAL BIOTECHNOLOGY AND FOOD SECURITY

7. (SBU) The topics of biotechnology and genetically modified
organisms (GMOs) figured prominently in Dr. Fedoroff's discussions
with counterparts from the GOB and the private sector. Per REFTEL
A, the GOB is becoming more accepting of the use of GMOs and the
importance of agricultural biotechnology. Dr. Fedoroff was quick
to point out that while the USG does have a functioning
science-based approach to regulating biotechnology and genetically
modified organisms, our system is not perfect. She praised
Brazil's efforts for having a single regulatory body to deal with
these issues. She also pointed out that in many ways the GOB's
approach and interest in GMOs is much more aligned with that of the
USG than with Europe. Given Brazil's cultural and linguistic ties
to some African nations, GMOs and agricultural biotechnology are
areas in which our two countries can work together to influence the
development of biotechnology policies and acceptance in Africa.
Private sector representatives highlighted the disconnect between
the private and public sectors. Due to difficulty, costs, and
timing of approvals for release, crop development is usually done
by private companies.

8. (SBU) Dr. Fedoroff repeatedly made the observation that the
world needs to urgently develop alternative crops, as well as to
make incremental changes in heat and drought resistance, in order
to address rapid forthcoming climate change. She also urged
scientists from both countries to think out of the box and develop
completely different methods of agriculture, like desert or saline
agriculture.

CLIMATE CHANGE

9. (SBU) The upcoming United Nations Framework Convention on
Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations that will take place in
Copenhagen in December have focused much of the recent
climate-related conversations on the creation of a post-Kyoto
agreement. However, in conversations with her Brazilian
counterparts, Dr. Fedoroff discussed the variety of technical-level
scientific cooperation on climate science that has taken place in
Brazil, as well as the potential for future cooperation in this
area.

BRASILIA 00001414 003 OF 004


TRILATERAL COOPERATION IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES

10. (SBU) The potential for the USG and the GOB to cooperate in
agriculture and biotechnology also led to consideration of possible
tri-lateral cooperation on food security in Africa and other
developing nations. The Brazilian Cooperation Agency (ABC) -
Brazil's USAID equivalent - has food security projects in a variety
of African nations, and the Brazilian Corporation for Agricultural
Research has established a variety of research facilities in Africa
as well. ABC and USAID have already begun to cooperate in some of
these areas, and the Brazilians have expressed interest in
continuing this trend. Dr. Fedoroff also met with the Minister of
Agriculture Reinhold Stephanes and emphasized the importance of
Brazil using its presence and experience in Africa to positively
influence acceptance of agricultural biotechnology.

11. (SBU) The Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (FIOCRUZ), Brazil's NIH
equivalent, is also interested in cooperating trilaterally in the
field of public health. FIOCRUZ expressed a desire to work with
USG technical agencies in order to support the development of
National Public Health Institutes in developing countries.

12. (SBU) Climate science, specifically with respect to remote
sensing and earth observation, is yet another area in which the USG
and the GOB could cooperate in providing assistance to third
countries. The Brazilians have developed an impressive capacity to
analyze and interpret satellite imagery as part of their program to
monitor Amazon deforestation. Combining this capacity with U.S.
expertise in imaging and analysis, our two countries could help
other developing nations to measure the impact of their
environmental policies on deforestation and other types of
environmental degradation. Per Professor Jose Goldemberg, a noted
expert on biofuels and climate change at the University of Sao
Paulo, the Ministry of External Relations does not fully grasp the
gravity of the challenges that lie ahead.

INNOVATION

13. (SBU) Much of the GOB, particularly technical agencies and the
Ministry of Science and Technology, places innovation near the top
of their agendas (see REFTEL B). As a result, many of Dr.
Fedoroff's meetings focused on how to better promote innovation in
Brazil. Many of her counterparts, including ones that have
previously questioned the link between innovation and intellectual
property rights, cited the difference between Brazilian
contributions to peer reviewed scientific articles (2% of worldwide
production) and Brazil's share of worldwide patents (0.2%) as a
demonstration of the problem that exists. Dr. Fedoroff pointed out
that innovation is a very large topic, and that perhaps more focus
was required on the one or two specific parts of the innovation
continuum that presented the largest challenge to Brazil. Members
of the academic community identified the lack of a solid legal
framework that incentivizes spin-offs and academic-private sector
partnerships; a lack of venture capital and angel funding; and a
lack of the recognition of the value of knowledge and intellectual
property rights as key problems that Brazil faces in this realm.
Director of Sao Paulo State's prominent scientific foundation
(FAPESP) Carlos Brito Cruz specifically suggested to Dr. Fedoroff
that the United States and Brazil look at ways to reduce
bureaucratic barriers to the scientific grant-making process to
encourage more collaboration on innovation.

14. (SBU) The President of the National Funder of Studies and
Projects (FINEP), Luiz Fernandes, talked with Dr. Fedoroff about
their recent focus on Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR)
programs as one way in which the GOB is trying to bridge this gap.
Dr. Fedoroff suggested that beyond governmental funding agencies,
it could be useful to engage some non-governmental groups, such as
the Kauffman Foundation, which have been very successful in helping
identify gaps in the innovation continuum and developing ideas for
how to address these gaps.

BRASILIA 00001414 004 OF 004


15. (U) This cable was cleared with Dr. Fedoroff and received
input from Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

KUBISKE
KUBISKE

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