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Administrative management

Time for research

Scientists discuss how to cut the weight of bureaucracy

Researchers dedicated only to science, who do not have to spend time on the administration of research projects: this theme was at the forefront of the II Symposium on Project Management as applied to Scientific Research, held at the Albert Einstein Hospital in São Paulo on August 8 and 9. “In Brazil, values and ambitions are constantly growing, which is great because the science is better organized and more competitive. However, the size of the teams, often with researchers from several entities, and the complexity of the operation call for institutional support for the scientist, as is the case in the best foreign universities,” said professor Carlos Henrique de Brito Cruz, scientific director of FAPESP, at the symposium.

Running a project requires carrying out many activities, from filing receipts to managing intellectual property, and this takes up the researcher’s time. “He needs to do science, publish papers and supervise students. In order to do so a type of buffer is required against time spent on bureaucracy,” said Brito. “Today, there are researchers managing funds of around US$ 1 million.” Because of this, for three years FAPESP has been asking institutions for help similar to the Grant Management Offices at the good foreign universities. “At FAPESP we are interviewing directors of Cepid [Research, Innovation and Dissemination Center] project institutions, which may get as much as R$ 4 million from the Foundation. We want to ensure that in the institution there is a structure that protects the researcher from spending time on bureaucratic tasks. This support is a condition for FAPESP to grant the funding,” said Brito.

“We don’t learn about project management in our universities,” said professor Jorge Kalil, director of the Butantan Institute in his presentation. For Brito, project management should be conducted by people capable of understanding the rationale of science, a challenge that should also occupy business schools.