International Advocacy Toolkit: Brazil

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Organizing Questions

  1. Which organization/s are significant sources of research funding? 

  2. What does the normal science funding/policy decision-making process look like?

  3. Which patient advocacy groups, if any, are active in the area?

  4. Are there existing national/regional organizations that work towards improving research funding/policy?

  5. How do scientists currently contribute to the existing funding/policy-making/advocacy process, if at all? 

  6. When are science funding/policy decisions made? 

  7. What kinds of opportunities exist for scientists to interact with funders and policymakers?

Which organization/s are significant sources of research funding? 

 National/Local Governments:

The most important one is the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) http://cnpq.br . It is part of the Ministry of Science and Technology – Federal Government. All states also have a local agency for research founding. In the state of São Paulo, the local agency (FAPESP) provides more resources than the Federal one.

 Industry/pharmaceutical companies:

Pharmaceutical companies provide some funding on specific topics but mostly linked to their specific interests.

 What does the normal science funding/policy decision-making process look like?

Peer review is the methodology of all agencies. For pharmaceutical companies, the decision is internal.

Which patient advocacy groups, if any, are active in the area?

Patient advocacy groups in Brazil are not common. There are some groups consisting of glaucoma patients and there are some others, but none of them are involved in promoting research and advocating for research funding.

Are there existing national/regional organizations that work towards improving research funding/policy?

Yes, National Council for Scientific and Technological Development and Financier of Studies and Projects (FINEP - http://www.finep.gov.br ). FINEP is specifically aimed at projects linked to industry and universities. There is also Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES) (http://www.capes.gov.br).  CAPES aims to drive research in Brazil, providing grants and evaluating the quality of research of each institution. 

How do scientists currently contribute to the existing funding/policy-making/advocacy process, if at all? 

Researchers from different universities are board members of all institutions (CNPq, FAPESP, CAPES, FINEP). 

When are science funding/policy decisions made? 

It depends on the institution. CNPq, for example has an annual calendar for specific topics chosen by the institution and also universal open topics. FAPESP does not have a defined schedule and proposals can be submit anytime during the year. 

What kinds of opportunities exist for scientists to interact with funders and policymakers?

  • Can scientists invite decision makers to their lab/institution to see their work firsthand?

Yes they could but it is not common practice.

  • Do the funding/policy organizations hold open meetings or solicit comments from the public that researchers can participate in?

Yes. The process is very democratic.

Contributors: Augusto Paranhos Jr (Federal University of Sao Paulo)