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Integrated effort

FAPESP and federal government to finance bioenergy and climate change projects

MIGUEL BOYAYANA memorandum of intent signed by FAPESP, the Ministry of Science and Technology (MST) and CNPq, the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development establishes the enhancement of Pronex, the Aid Program for Excellence Centers to finance research projects in the bioenergy and global climate change areas in the State of São Paulo. The document was signed on April 16, in the presence of members of FAPESP’s Board of Governors, the Minister of Science and Technology, Sérgio Rezende, the CNPq director of horizontal and instrumental programs, José Roberto Drugowich de Felicio, FAPESP’s president, Celso Lafer, and the Foundation’s science director, Carlos Henrique de Brito Cruz.

The MST and FAPESP committed to providing R$ 40 million over four years for Pronex’s implementation. FAPESP will provide half of this amount to finance projects and CNPq will provide the other R$ 20 million for grants. A further R$ 30 million, from an agreement established in 2003 between FAPESP and CNPq, will be made available for this joint effort.

Sérgio Rezende said that both themes selected fit within the strategies of the Science, Technology and Innovation Action Plan that the federal government released in 2007. “The plan has four priorities and one of them, which targets research and development in strategic areas, the bioenergy and global climate change areas are extremely important,” said the minister. “In 2007, the MST identified that the State of São Paulo, which plays a significant part in all the research sectors, has an even more important role in these two specific areas, in which FAPESP was working in order to establishing mobilizing state programs. Thus, a substantial part of our national program will be in this state and it will be carried out jointly with FAPESP,” he said.

Celso Lafer, FAPESP’s president, mentioned the partnership’s importance. “Bioenergy is crucial for the country and for the State of São Paulo, whereas the concern with climate change is undoubtedly one of the most important themes in the Brazilian and international agenda. We are convinced that with the resources we will jointly provide, we will be able to improve knowledge in these areas and its practical application,” he said. “These are long-term and State concerns. Our effort is designed to provide this with an institutional background, for we believe this is a Brazilian interest that should be taken care of,” he summarized.

According to scientific director Carlos Henrique de Brito Cruz, the memorandum signals the commitment of FAPESP, MST and CNPq to financing both research areas. “The aim is to create relevant knowledge of worldwide importance in the areas of bioenergy and global climate change,” he highlighted. The scientific director mentioned that the protocol will lead to the articulation of MST projects with two programs organized by FAPESP, one on bioenergy and the other on climate changes, which are yet to be announced. “The MST organized a national research network on global climate change that will work together with the FAPESP program, and eventually with programs in other institutions in Brazil. Concurrently, we will discuss how FAPESP can contribute to the Research Center on Bioenergy that the MST is organizing,” said Brito Cruz.