In the last years, as a result of systematic funding, Brazil has achieved first-class performances in many areas of research and has emerged as an interesting cooperation partner for German science. With the appointment of liaison scientists and the expansion of cooperation agreements, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation, DFG) is providing a broader basis for scientific cooperation with Brazil.
The two DFG liaison scientists appointed at the start of November – Dr. Helmut Galle (University of São Paulo) and Dr. Carlos de Aurajo (University of Fortaleza) – represent the DFG at two of Brazil’s most important science and business centres and are contact persons for Brazilian and German DFG partners. Their task is to inform Brazilian scientists and academics, universities and non-university research institutions about the DFG and its funding programmes and about the German research landscape, to initiate cooperative contacts between scientists and research organisations in both countries and to support the exchange of scientists in both directions. Furthermore, they will keep the DFG informed about cooperation-relevant developments in Brazilian research policy. With the appointment of these two liaison scientists, the DFG is following its goal of intensifying international cooperation with those countries that demonstrate a particularly good basis for the development of scientific cooperation.
Cooperation between German and Brazilian universities has been especially prominent in the area of engineering sciences. The “Workshop for Strategic Planning of Basic Research Cooperation between Brazil and Germany in the Field of Production Engineering” took place in Florianopolis, from 26 to 30 November 2006, and was supported by the DFG, the Brazilian Research and Project Funding Body (FINEP) and the Liaison Office for Higher Education in Brazil (CAPES).
The long-standing cooperation between the DFG and its Brazilian partner organisations has already enabled quite a few joint research projects. For example, the German-Brazilian “Effectiveness of Legal Protection” research group, which started in 2004. In the coming years, with the aid of scientists from other Latin American and European countries, the group will compile a sample code for administrative legal protection. The scientific support and evaluation of a professional programme in Germany for around 30 Brazilian federal judges also serves the transfer of knowledge into practice and promotes debate on reform. Another project, on which researchers from the Technical University of Munich and the University of Porto Alegre are working together, is reconstructing the vegetation history of the Araucaria forest and grassland regions in southern Brazil. One of the research questions is whether all of the mosaic-like grasslands, scattered in the forests, have been caused by clearing or whether some of them have survived as natural relics from an earlier time.
Further information on the cooperation of the TU Munich and the University of Porto Alegre is available on the internet under www.wzw.tum.de/vegoek/forschun/natveg/brasil.htm, and on the “Effectiveness of Legal Protection” project under www.hfv-speyer.de/sommermann/Weiterbildung.htm.
Information on the international cooperation projects of the DFG can be found on the internet under www.dfg.de/internationales.
The contact person is Dr. Dietrich Halm from the Department for International Cooperation at the DFG, who is responsible for Latin America, Email: Dietrich.Halm@dfg.de, Tel. +49 228 885-2490.
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