Country Listing

Brazil Table of Contents


National Council for Scientific and Technological Development

The National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecológico--CNPq) is a complex structure with about 2,500 employees. It runs an extensive program of fellowships and research grants; several special programs, such as the National Program for Human Resource Training for Technological Development (Programa Nacional de Capacitação de Recursos Humanos para o Desenvolvimento Tecnológico--RHAE) and the Program for Competitiveness and Technological Diffusion (Programa de Apoio à Competividade e Difusão Tecnológica--PCDT); and integrated programs, such as those on endemic diseases, virology, genetics, agricultural development, and humid and semiarid tropical regions. Fellowships and research grants are provided under peer-review evaluations, whereas most of the resources for the special programs, when available, are managed directly by the administration.

The CNPq also has several research institutes of its own: those in Rio de Janeiro include the Brazilian Center for Physics Research (Centro Brasileiro de Pesquisas Físicas--CBPF), the Mineral Technology Center (Centro de Tecnologia Mineral--Cetem), the Institute of Pure and Applied Mathematics (Instituto de Matemática Pura e Aplicada--IMPA), the National Observatory (Observatório Nacional--ON), the Museum of Astronomy and Related Sciences (Museu de Astronomia e Ciências Afins--MAST), and the National Computer Science Laboratory (Laboratório Nacional de Computação Científica--LNCC). Others include the Brazilian Institute of Scientific and Technological Information (Instituto Brasileiro de Informação em Ciência e Tecnologia--IBICT) in Brasília, the National Astrophysics Laboratory (Laboratório Nacional de Astrofísica--LNA) in Itajuba (Minas Gerais), the Emílio Goeldi Museum of Pará (Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi--MPEG) in Belém, and the National Syncrotron Light Laboratory (Laboratório Nacional de Luz Síncrotron--LNLS) in Campinas. These institutes vary in quality and size, and many of them have their own graduate education programs. The minister of science and technology appoints the president and directors of the CNPq, and a twenty-member Deliberative Council (Conselho Deliberativo), which includes numerous scientists, supervises it.

The activities of the CNPq are divided formally into fellowships and grants, research, information, and dissemination activities. The CNPq spent about US$350 million in all its activities in 1990, and US$371 million in 1991. About 70 percent of the total is used for development, 10 percent for research, and 20 percent for administrative and other expenses. Eighty-one percent of development funds go to fellowships. Most of the fellowships are given to a small number of undergraduate and M.A.-degree students, reflecting the limited demand that exists for advanced degrees (see table 32, Appendix).

The Funding Authority for Studies and Projects

The second main agency in the Ministry of Science and Technology is the Funding Authority for Studies and Projects (Financiadora de Estudos e Projetos--Finep). The minister of science and technology appoints the president and directors of the Finep, without any external peer review. The Finep traditionally has worked along two different lines: it administers the FNDCT, and it serves as a specialized bank that makes loans to the private sector for technological development and innovation. In practice, the Finep's activity in the early 1990s was limited mostly to loan contracts for research and development projects in industry. However, because of the economic recession and market interest rates, there were few takers (see table 33, Appendix).

Data as of April 1997