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Stimulus for science

Conrado Wessel Award changes format and wins support from FAPESP

FAPESP is going to take part in the commission for organizing and assessing the candidates for the Conrado Wessel Foundation Award in the areas of science and literature, conferred on personalities or entities prominent in the areas of literature, medicine and science. The cooperation agreement between the foundations was approved by FAPESP’s Board of Trustees and signed in December of last year. “The awards and the prize-giving for scientific and technological deeds are also important players in the dynamics of the evolution of the spiral of scientific culture. They are institutions that, like others, perform a fundamental role in the process of motivating society towards knowledge”, says FAPESP’s president, Carlos Vogt.

Created two years ago, the Conrado Wessel Foundation Award is divided into six categories: medicine, general science, and sciences applied to the environment, the countryside and the sea, and literature. The best in each one of these categories will receive an award in the amount of US$ 50,000 and an icon signed by the sculptor Vlavianos. In its first edition, last year – and in partnership with the Secretariat for Education -, the awards in the areas of science were distributed by means of a competition in the schools of the public network. “This year, we decided to adopt a new format, and we looked for support from important entities like FAPESP, our right arm”, says José Moscogliatto Caricatti, the financial director of the Conrado Wessel Foundation.

The candidates for the awards in the areas of the sciences will be nominated by 46 universities, amongst them the University of São Paulo (USP), the State University of Campinas (Unicamp), the São Paulo State University (Unesp) and the Technological Institute of Aeronautics (ITA). Each one of these universities has the deadline of March 5 to indicate at least one name or entity per area.

The list with the names of those indicated will be submitted to the assessment of a jury made up of seven members, representing FAPESP, the Brazilian Society for the Progress of Science (SBPC), the Brazilian Academy of Science (ABC), the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq), the Coordination for Perfecting Higher Level Personnel (Capes), the ministry for the area and the foundation. The awards will be handed over on May 20, the date on which the Conrado Wessel Foundation completes ten years.

FAPESP is also going to take part in the organization and selection of the award for literature. Last year, the Conrado Wessel Foundation invited literary critics to select from amongst the 94 competitors the three best unpublished authors. The prize was the publication of the work, with a print run of 2,000 copies, and the right to a night of autographs at the Brazilian House Museum, in São Paulo. This year, the awards will go to authors with works published in the last five years. They will likewise be indicated by the universities and selected by a jury that will also have representatives from the Brazilian Academy of Literature. The awards will be distributed on the same date. “The expectation is that the quality of the awards granted each year will strengthen the interest for cultural, scientific and technological themes”, Vogt points out.