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new secretary

Focus on the energy matrix

Altenfelder Silva takes over the SCTDE, with plans to invest in research

The new secretary for Science, Technology and Economic Development of the State of São Paulo, Ruy Martins Altenfelder Silva, intends to run his Portfolio with a constant dialog with the universities, foundations and research institutes, and with the agents of production and labor. His plan is to expand “more and more the intersection between science and technology and economic development.” he states in an interview for Pesquisa FAPESP, one week after having taken office. Altenfelder Silva replaced the former secretary and federal deputy, José Anibal, who went back to the Chamber of Deputies, in Brasilia, and took on the national presidency of the PSDB (The Party of the Brazilian Social Democracy).

One of the main challenges of the new secretary will be to draw up, in partnership with other secretariats of the São Paulo state government, projects in the field of energy, to contribute to changes in the energy matrix. “Our intention is to take to the governor proposals for the development of projects in the field of the supply of energy, since the question of demand is already being well handled by the federal government, with the fantastic support of the population.” he explains. From the point of view of the supply of energy, he goes on, science and technology will have a predominant role, especially as far as new technologies are concerned as well as efforts to change the matrix, and the inclusion of new sources of energy in the market.

“The country can no longer remain so dependent on hydroelectricity.” he maintains. He disclosed that he has already started to make contacts with several universities and research institutes. “The good projects will be the first to be part of the plans of the government, not least because they already have a technical assessment by those responsible.” The secretary said that he is in a hurry to take the projects forward, since it is a matter of finding a solution for an urgent problem. “We have already started to make contact with the academic areas.” he reveals. The funds for financing the energy program, he explains, will be defined by Governor Geraldo Alckmin.

Just as in the other ones developed by the Secretariat, FAPESP’s should play a significant part in this program. He made the observation that all the projects sponsored by the Foundation, or those that are still being assessed prior to development, are perfectly in tune with the line of thought and actions of the São Paulo government. “At the same time that it develops research based on nationwide needs, seeking to enhance the presence of São Paulo among the international centers of excellence, FAPESP also guides its actions by sounding out what Brazilian companies really need.” He considers the Foundation “the pride of Brazilian science and technology, and one of the jewels in the crown, in its area.”

He stresses his respect for university autonomy – “a dogma” in his opinion -, which also presupposes the community and the Executive branch participating in projects of mutual interest. He guarantees that the Secretariat will be a strong ally of FAPESP in the actions that depend on the Executive branch, such as, for example, the speeding up of important projects, in particular, he once again stresses, those connected with the supply of energy.

Altenfelder Silva is the president of the Roberto Simonsen Institute, a center for advanced studies linked to the Federation of the Industries of the State of São Paulo (Fiesp) and to the Center of the Industries of the State of São Paulo (Ciesp), which carries out research in the areas of international relations, technologies, legal and social sciences, and problems linked to small and medium industries. To take on the Secretariat, he left behind his position as superintendent of the Bunge Foundation, which succeeded the Santista Foundation, which for 46 years has been responsible for the Moinho Santista Award.

He also left the presidency of the Brazilian Association of Business Communication, which gathers five thousand members and has as the focus for its activities strategic areas for results. In addition, he took leave from the vice-presidency of Ciesp. “I came from the private sector, but I know the academic world well.” he stated. He said that the main challenge of the job is to make the “agents of production and of labor work in deep harmony with those responsible for science and technology.”