The foundations of the system

The activity of research, in order to get results and to be competitive, does not depend only on the competence of the researcher and of the efficiency of the equipment. These, evidently, are pre-supposed fundamentals, but which do not do away with the need for installations with an adequate infra-structure: for example, an electrical circuit and water pipes, benches, and a controlled climatic environment. Apparently common things, but which make up the foundations of the system and for which, until the arrival of the Infrastructure Program, there had been no recourses.

“To form the tripod essential to research, composed of scholarships, project assistance and infrastructure, the last one was missing.” It is the opinion of the researcher José Antonio Visintin, of the Veterinary and Zootechnology School of the São Paulo University, on the program and and the has the agreement of the researcher Mayana Zatz of the Biosciences Institute of USP. “The perception by FAPESP that it was not enough just to invest in research activity and to leave the infrastructure of the laboratories as the responsibility of the universities and institutions, was very gratifying”, she adds.

The necessities were immense. The lack of working conditions, as it was possible to be observed in the reports and in the statements of the researchers and in the demand itself for resources from the program, These demands are shown in the tables, which also bring an overall view encompassing laboratories in all of the areas of knowledge. During the first tender, or Infra I, the demands of the researchers were directed towards two sectors: General Infra, which was made up of the laboratories in general, except the Research Animal Breeding Units, which constituted a special sector. In the following tenders, Infra II, III and IV, the two sectors were united in one only.

In order to get a picture of the situation of the laboratories before the program and to inform on the first impacts that were coming up with the recovery of the research environments, researchers from different institutions and various parts of the state were interviewed in the areas of Agrarian and Veterinary Sciences, Biology, Health, Physics, Chemistry, Engineering and Arts and Human Sciences. Many others didn’t get to be heard; after all, for the laboratory recovery program resources for 2,356 projects were liberated. Many others told their stories, but don’t have their names mentioned through the absolute impossibility of contemplating all of them within the limits of a news story. These statements, nonetheless, were fundamental for identifying the researchers’ previous working conditions and add color to the emotions of the first impacts after the laboratory restorations.

This supplement brings together reports on laboratories in the areas of Agrarian and Veterinary Sciences, Biology and Health. The next one will deal with the areas of Physics, Chemistry, Engineering and Arts and Human Sciences. Also, though it is still a little early to effectively analyze the impacts of the Infrastructure Program on scientific production, the reports leave no doubts that they truly have begun to appear.