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Flights of an entrepreneur

Scientific director will leave FAPESP to create a new project in the private sector

MARCELO HONÓRIOAfter over ten years at the head of FAPESP’s Scientific Directorate, José Fernando Perez, 59 years old, a physicist and the chair professor in mathematical physics at the University of São Paulo, announced at a meeting of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees on August 11 last, his decision to leave the post, to dedicate himself to a personal project, unconnected with the academic environment, at the beginning of 2005. He is structuring Perez Research and Development, a company focused on the creation of new technology based companies. “I intend to make a contribution that, I believe, will be important for the country”, he said. “It’s a dream I’ve had for some years. I’m going to turn 60. If I don’t do this now, I won’t do it any more.”

Perez was planning to leave the post in 2002, but he postponed the decision, due to the currency crisis in that year, which had a significant impact on FAPESP’s programs. He is the seventh scientific director in the institution’s history, a post that was occupied successively by Warwick Kerr, William Saad Hossne, Alberto Carvalho da Silva, Oscar Sala, Ruy Carlos de Camargo Vieira and Flávio Fava de Moraes. In the message he read to the trustees, the scientific director drew up a balance of his almost 11 years of office (he is in his fourth mandate), a period in which FAPESP’s routine was strongly marked by the dynamism, enthusiasm and entrepreneurial spirit that are characteristic of Perez’s personality.

“With the stimulus and approval of the Board of Trustees and the collaboration of his partners from the Executive Board, a wide range of programs and initiatives was implemented, with the Foundation coming to play a more active role in identifying opportunities and challenges for the development of the research system in the state, always in close collaboration with the scientific community”, he said. “We managed to overcome the antiquated dichotomous view that puts spontaneous research in opposition to induced research.”

The cycle of achievements included such efforts as the introduction of technological innovation programs with a direct participation of companies, the formation of research networks such as the one that served as a basis for FAPESP’s Genome Program, led by the pioneering project for sequencing Xylella fastidiosa, launched in 1997, which completely changed the panorama of research in molecular biology in the country; an ambitious program for restoring and modernizing the infrastructure of the state’s research institutions; and the advent of the Research, Innovation and Diffusion Centers (Cepids), among various others, including the transformation Pesquisa FAPESP into a magazine prepared for the Brazilian publishing market, with sales in newsstands and by subscription.

Perez’s decision has created an unprecedented situation for FAPESP – the simultaneous vacancy of two important posts of command. Besides the Scientific Directorate, the function of director president of the Executive Board fell vacant in April, with the death of Francisco Romeu Landi. The two posts are the choice of the governor of the state, on the basis of triple lists that will be drawn up by the Board of Trustees, advised by a Search and Selection Committee, presided by Carlos Vogt, FAPESP’s president, and made up of trustees Hermann Wever, Marcos Macari and Vahan Agopyan.

By September 30, the committee will examine suggestions of possible candidates with a very well defined profile. They should be professionals with a national and international reputation, with experience in managing scientific and technological research; qualified to lead complex decision making processes, and eager to raise the quality of science, education and culture in São Paulo and in Brazil. More information about the process for choosing the future scientific director and director president can also be found on the website

Well defined profile
Communiqué for the Scientific Community of the State of São Paulo about the creation of triple lists for the functions of Scientific Director and Director President of the Executive Board, to be sent to the Most Excellent Governor of the State.

FAPESP – State of São Paulo Research Foundation is starting a process for choosing the new Scientific Director and the new Director President of the Executive Board. To do so, a Search and Selection Committee was designated, by the Board of Trustees, that should propose criteria and forward suggestions of name to the Board, aiming at the creation, in an ordinary meeting on November 10, 2004, of the respective triple lists, to be sent to the Most Excellent Governor of the State. Presided by the president of FAPESP and of its Board of Trustees, Prof. Carlos Vogt, the Committee also has as its members Trustees Dr. Hermann Heinemann Wever, Prof. Marcos Macari and Prof. Vahan Agopyan. The candidates should be born or naturalized Brazilians. The following requirements are regarded as indispensable characteristics for candidacy:

– Being a professional of a high national and international reputation, with experience in managing scientific and technological research
– Being fit to lead complex decision-taking processes that involve research, development and innovation, and that imply, in their objectives, the scientific and cultural production of the State of São Paulo.
– To be informed about the major international programs and projects in the various areas of knowledge.
– To demonstrate an aspiration for raising continuously the quality of science, education and culture in the State of São Paulo and in the country.
– To have demonstrated the individual and institutional capacity for obtaining and managing resources for cultural, scientific and technological research.

The indications of candidates should be sent by September 30, 2004, by means of a form available on FAPESP’s website (, accompanied by a curriculum vitae of the candidate and a text of up to five pages, describing his view of the future for FAPESP and the summary of his management project. The selective process will include, for those short-listed, an interview with the candidates, at a place, date and time to be previously communicated by the Board of Trustees.

São Paulo, August 19, 2004

Carlos Vogt