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President Lula reinstalls National Science and Technology Council

On September 11, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva reinstalled the National Science and Technology Council, an entity created in 1996 to advise the Presidency on the definition of policies for Science and Technology. The council has not met since March 2001. The first meeting took place right after the ceremony, and the second, on September 18. At this meeting, it was decided that the council is going to operate with five temporary thematic commissions: for Coordination; for Regional Development and Inclusion; for International Cooperation, Information and Prospects; for Interaction with Academic Circles and the Business Sector; and for Monitoring and Liaison.The full session of the council will meet every three months, and the commissions will have monthly meetings, always on the second Thursday of each month.

In a symbolic gesture, the president himself took on the coordination of the council, which will have as its secretary the Minister of Science and Technology, Roberto Amaral. “I want to give my contribution, not being a scientist, but being the president of the Republic, as being a sort of inducer for the council to recover the time lost”, said the president, on the day of the reinstallation. He promised to increase investments in science and technology to 2% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and to expand the number of doctors in activity in Brazil from 6,000 to 10,000. The president once again advocated the continuation of the Satellite Launch Vehicle program, after the explosion of the rocket in Alcântara that killed 21 technicians (see the article on page 16).

“Before the end of this government, we will be testing another SLV prototype”, he said. But he complained of the absence of women. “This council is like a gentlemen’s club”, he joked. On the same day, he signed a decree expanding its membership from 12 to 24 members: twelve ministers of state, eight representatives of the producers and users of Science and Technology, and four representatives of national teaching and research entities, amongst them one woman: Wrana Panizzi, rector of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS). José Fernando Perez, FAPESP’s scientific director, and Hermann Wever, the president of Siemens’ Board and a member of FAPESP’s board of trustees, are members of the council. Perez participates in the commissions for Regional Development and Inclusion and for Interaction between Universities and Companies. And Perez is a member of the commission for International Cooperation, Information and Prospects.