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Letter from the Editor | 262

Health, population, and diversity

Large urban centers like São Paulo are often attractive due to greater employment opportunities, cultural events, and a diverse range of people, but they also present a series of obstacles to healthy living, including traffic, pollution, and a lack of green spaces. We need to find ways of transforming urban areas into environments that are less harmful to the health of the local population.

Science has helped identify these problems and their effects, as well as the potential impact certain measures can have—even simple ones—as described in this issue’s cover story. Most of the actions needed to improve health in major cities rely on the local government and are up against other priorities for public policymakers and budgets. A change in policy is needed and resources must be allocated to preventive healthcare measures, supported by the results of scientific studies on urban issues.

The population and its reproductive behavior is one of the areas being studied by a central figure in the field of Brazilian demography: Elza Berquó. In an interview with Neldson Marcolin, the managing editor of Pesquisa FAPESP, 92-year-old mathematician Berquó spoke about her extensive research career, from her observation of declining birth rates in São Paulo—and later, throughout Brazil—in the mid-1960s to her current focus on suicide among young people (page 30). As one of the founders of the Brazilian Center for Analysis and Planning (CEBRAP), creator of the Population Studies Center at the University of Campinas (NEPO, which today bears her name), and a former professor at the University of São Paulo’s School of Public Health, Berquó’s history is intertwined with Brazil’s, which has been enriched by her analysis and research.

The article on page 38 shows that crowdfunding, which is more widespread in the fields of technology and culture, is starting to take off in research, with donors investing money in projects presented online. Still in its nascent stages, this funding method is not expected to replace traditional sources of support, but it could act as a complement at a time when science investments in Brazil are on the decline. It is also a way of bringing the public closer to science.

This month, the journal consists of a smaller, 68-page edition, accompanied by a special 36-page supplement on the 20-year history of the FAPESP Technological Innovation in Small Businesses program (PIPE). Established in 1997, the program was unprecedented in Brazil, providing resources to help develop science and technology (S&T) research at small businesses in the state of São Paulo. The principle was that by promoting these companies as places of research, the program would strengthen relationships between S&T institutions and businesses, making them more competitive. This special edition tells the story of PIPE and similar programs in other countries, as well as how it contributed to the construction of a new ecosystem and a precursor to the innovation support instruments that have since been established in Brazil.

On behalf of Pesquisa FAPESP, I wish our readers a happy new year.