Brazil Restores Certainty to Higher Education Funding with New Science Program

The Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES), Brazil’s higher education body, recently announced a new international financing regime to replace the Sciences Without Borders (CSF) initiative. According to the PIE news, Mais Ciência, Mais Desenvolvimento (More Science, More Development), or MSMD, will grant more autonomy to universities by requiring institutions to form a coherent internationalization strategy together with international partners, while decreasing the federal involvement in the program.

MSMD’s three main goals are:

  1. to improve Brazilian internationalization;
  2. to enhance bilateral relationships with overseas partners; and
  3. to upskill graduate students so they can bring back their skills to Brazil.

While MSMD will not be released in full until July, CAPES has said that the new program will allow for foreign institutions to have more structured relationships with Brazilian universities, resulting in sustained inward and outward mobility programs.

At Brazil’s International Education Association’s Annual Conference, Connie McManus Pimentel, CAPES’ director of international relations, told delegates that the change will also entail targeted funding towards postgraduate students and early career researchers looking to research abroad.

MSMD’s predecessor, CSF, had a centralized structure in which decision making occurred at the federal level. Representatives of Brazil’s higher education institutions had voiced their reservations with this model. In an interview with the PIE news, Jose Celso Freire, president of Sao Paulo University and of Brazil’s International Education Association, said of CSF:

 “We’d like it to be a program where you have much more than only mobility but capacity building where a university that has a good international office, a global relations office…can create possibilities for others to develop cooperation, to understand about internationalization, to understand how they can develop research together.”

For the foreseeable future, MSMD will focus only on STEM fields because they are considered the most productive, important for Brazil at a point in time where the country’s economy is in a deep recession with high unemployment.

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