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University Research and Graduate Education in Brazil

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Brazil University Research and Graduate Education

University Research and Graduate Education
Most of Brazil's research and development activities take place in its main public universities. There are about 1.5 million higher education students, around 10 percent of the age cohort, distributed in federal (21.1 percent), state (12.7 percent), municipal (5.1 percent), and private institutions (61.1 percent). There are about 15,000 active scientists and researchers in Brazil, and about 1,000 graduate programs in most fields of knowledge.

Research in universities usually is associated with graduate education, although relatively few university professors hold a doctoral degree. These professors are concentrated in the São Paulo State system, which is responsible for more than 50 percent of the doctoral degrees granted, and in some of the best federal universities.

Most academics in public institutions have full-time contracts, and their salaries are equivalent to those obtained in private schools. The assumption is that they should combine teaching with research, but in practice few have the necessary training for research work. The universities provide physical space and salaries for research, but little else; the researcher, or the research group, has to seek out support money and research grants. In most cases, the researcher applies for grants from the CNPq and FAPESP or from some private foundation in Brazil or abroad. Equipment and library holdings in the universities usually are obtained through special grants and projects from Finep or from occasional programs run by the government, in some cases with resources from the World Bank or the Inter-American Development Bank (see Glossary). Researchers can also enter into cooperative research projects with public and private corporations, or with the government itself. Unicamp (Campinas State University), for instance, had an important cooperative agreement with Telebrás, Brazil's communications holding; and the Coppe (Coordinating Board of Postgraduate Programs in Engineering) has worked with Petrobrás in the development of technologies for deep-sea oil drilling. The Federal University of Santa Catarina is well known for its Institute of Mechanical Engineering (Instituto de Engenharia Mecánica--IEM) and has a large portfolio of research and development contracts with private institutions. The more entrepreneurial and competent departments and institutes obtain resources that enable them to work according to high standards of efficiency. Others, in the same institution, may not have the means to purchase a computer or even to renew journal subscriptions.

Data as of April 1997





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