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Reinforces support

The New Frontiers Program will expand traineeships abroad

FAPESP launched the New Frontiers Program in order to support long-term traineeships of researchers at centers of excellence abroad, in areas of knowledge as yet not consolidated here in the State of São Paulo. By this means the Foundation wants to widen its Post Doctoral Scholarship policy, defined in 2001. By way of the New Frontiers, annually up to twenty scholarships will be conceded – for a period of twelve months and to an annual value of US$ 25,000.00 – to researchers who have obtained their doctorate degree within a ten year period and have a firm employment link with São Paulo research institutions. Since 2001 the research scholarships for studying abroad have had a maximum duration of five months.

These new scholarships do not include supplementary benefits for couples with children and could be complemented by other means of support eventually obtained through foreign agencies and institutions. The annual cost of the program is budgeted at US$ 500,000.00. Decisive criteria for the concession of such grants will be the quality of the research project, the relevance for implanting the investigated area within the state of São Paulo, the degree of excellence of the center at which the trainee will work and the scientific and academic background of the candidate. Only requests from the applicants whose institutions commit themselves, expressively and formally, to concede leave of absence during the traineeship period and that guarantee continuity in the line of research, will be analyzed.

Centers of excellence
The New Frontiers Program makes the Post Doctoral Scholarship policy adopted by FAPESP in 2001 more flexible, with the objective of giving the researcher’s formation and quality training and to multiply the centers of excellence in the state. The intention was to stimulate the insertion of recently qualified doctors into São Paulo research groups and to give incentive for carrying out improvement traineeships abroad, linked to the development of research projects in Sao Paulo. Consequently, FAPESP increased the value of the post doctoral scholarships in Brazil and extended the concession period from two to three years, and in some cases even up to four.

Scholarships linked to thematic projects at the Research, Innovation and Diffusion Centers (Cepid), programs such as the Young Investigator, Genome and Biota were given priority. The result was that the number of post doctoral scholarships jumped from 546 in 2000, to 845 during 2003, and are concentrated within the excellence groups. Taking into consideration the importance of the exchange rate for the young doctors within research groups abroad, FAPESP has not stopped financing research traineeships abroad that are of short and medium duration.Nevertheless, the São Paulo scientific community began to ask for traineeship support abroad of longer duration, in the frontier areas of science as yet not well implanted in the state. In order to attend to this request, the New Frontiers Program was initiated.