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Expansion Continues

FAPESP continues expanding, at a slower pace, its investment in scholarships

The investment of FAPESP in scholarships in the country continues growing, albeit at smaller rates than in previous years. This can be seen throughout 2001 and in relation to the previous year, taking as a base for comparison the concessions granted up until the month of August. There were in effect, on the 31st of that month, 9,291 scholarships in the country, as against 9,197 on the same date of the previous year. The positive variation of 1% may seem a little insignificant. However, it has happened over expansion levels highly expressive that have been accumulating since 1996.

In that year there were in effect 3,199 scholarships, which means an increase in the concessions of some 190.4% over the previous five years, as demonstrated in table N° 1. It is worth highlighting the expansion in the modality of the postgraduate scholarships. Those of postdoctorate registered from August of 1996 until August of 2001, an increase of 480.1%, passing from 106 effective scholarships to 615. The expansion of the doctorate scholarships, during the same period, was of 444.3% (their number rose from some 654 to 3,560) and those of masters scholarships was of 134%, going from 1,085 to 2,539.

According to José Fernando Perez, the scientific director of FAPESP, the explosion in the number of scholarships granted by the Foundation over the last few years reflects the growth in the postgraduation program and of the number of requests for scholarships. In the state of São Paulo, from 1995 until 2000, the growth in demand was entirely absorbed by FAPESP. This year, during the month of August and in comparison with the month of March, the number of scholarships in effect in the country, considering all modalities, increased by 2.7%.

Within the modality of postgraduation, the master’s scholarships had a reduction of 6.4% (falling from 2,711 to 2,539). The fall was compensated for by the increase in the number of post doctorates – 11.8%, going from 550 to 615 – and of doctorates – of 3.3%, going from 3,444 to 3,560, implying as well an increase in investment. After all, the annual value of the masters scholarships is of R$ 12,100 and of the doctorate of RS 24,900.

Anyhow, the expansion is well below the qualified demand. “FAPESP is continuing with its commitment of expressive and constant investment in scholarships, but, unfortunately, is not able to meet the demand “, Perez says. He hopes that this situation may change through a greater distribution of scholarship quotas by the Federal agencies for the state of São Paulo. While this does not take place, FAPESP is asking from its advisors an even more rigorous analysis of the requests for scholarships, in such a way that their opinion may contribute to an assessment of the excellence of the project.

The opinion must allow the comparative analysis of what is being submitted to be fairer and more rigorous. The Foundation is going to make every effort for the replies to the scholarship requests, whose application goes until the 30th of October, to be given during the month of February and not March, as previously planned. The growth in the number of scholarships to under-graduates must also be registered, a modality that, in the final analysis, makes possible a more efficient and better quality post graduation.