LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

A mirror of Brazilian research

Pesquisa FAPESP is a very young magazine. It is just three years old in its present format. Or, if e include in its history the house organ Notícias FAPESP – from which this magazine stemmed – seven years old. But, albeit young, it is already one of the most important scientific publications in Brazil. The reason for this is that Pesquisa FAPESP offers to its readership, every month, a novel and consistent view of what is the best research carried out in this country, besides an outlook of the political decisions that have been sustaining its scientific and technological development. Its ultimate goal is to mirror the creative capacity, competence and endurance to overcome challenges of the Brazilian scientific community. And precisely for these characteristics Pesquisa FAPESP has become – in very little time – a reference for those who wish to discover more about the scientific production in Brazil, and for those who need to show the results of this production to the society and the media.

This first special issue in English Pesquisa FAPESP, with 72 pages and a small print run of a thousand copies (whereas the monthly issues in Portuguese, with 96 pages, reach 42 thousand copies), targets the scientific institutions, the media and governmental organs linked to science and technology around the world. This issue brings an assortment of some of the many stories produced by our team between March and November of 2002 and we expect that through this sampling the reader will have a balanced view of the knowledge produced in Brazil. There is an on-line version of the monthly magazine (www.revistapesquisa.fapesp.br) in English and in Spanish. That version provides deeper insight into the research effort in our country.

To wrap it up, a few words about FAPESP – the institution that has created and is responsible for the magazine Pesquisa FAPESP. This acronym stands for São Paulo State Research Foundation, one of the main agencies of science support in Brazil, which has completed forty years of existence in 2002. Intrinsically linked to the history and expansion of scientific research in a state that accounts for nearly 50% of the Brazilian scientific production, this foundation  – linked to the state government  – oversees resources that correspond to 1% of the state tax revenues. The Foundation directs this money to research, in all fields of knowledge and technology, the merit of purposals being assessed by peers of the national scientific community itself. In special circunstances, reference is made to international advisors; an example is provided by the genetic sequencing of the bacterium  Xylella fastidiosa, concluded in 2000. The diffusional scientifc knowledge is part of FAPESP’s institutional mission and Pesquisa FAPESP is the means it has chosen to achieve its goal.