Brazil produces large quantities of biological raw materials such as the biofuel ethanol. This makes it a partner of German bioeconomics research. The two countries work together on many scientific topics and focus on environment and sustainability research. Brazil is Germany’s most important partner in education and research cooperation in Latin America.


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Funding the cooperation with Brazil

Within the framework of the bilateral cooperation in research, technology and innovation, the research cooperation between Germany and Brazil is supported by various funding instruments.

Alongside national funding institutions such as CNPq, CAPES and FINEP, the Brazilian research funding landscape also includes research sponsors at state level such as FAPESP in São Paulo, for example. Germany is collaborating with all of the institutions mentioned above.

The DAAD and the DFG also offer specific funding programmes with Brazilian partners.

Political framework

In recent years, Brazil has expanded its role in shaping regional and global policies. The country has also stabilised economically and today is the seventh largest economy in the world. Its relationship with Germany has a broad foundation. Around 1,600 German companies reside in Brazil and generate around 16% of the industrial gross domestic product. Greater São Paulo is the world’s largest German industrial location outside Germany.

Ties with developing Latin American nations on matters of research, technology and education are being systematically strengthened by the German government. The 'Action plan of the German-Brazilian Strategic Partnership' highlights the Science and Technology Cooperation (STC) as an important pillar of the relationship between the countries.

The STC with Brazil is based on the framework agreement revised in 1996 on research and technological development. Key themes of the cooperation programme are agreed at the meetings of the joint committee on a three-yearly basis. The last meeting took place in Brazil in September 2013.

The aims of the Brazilian research policy are defined in the National Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation 2012 – 2015. Amongst other things, innovation in companies is encouraged as well as a stronger role for R&D in the social development of the country. The research strategy has a particular focus on the fields of nano- and biotechnology, information technology, health research, energy and agriculture. The Brazilian government is investing around $21 billion as part of the four-year programme, with a further $10 billion expected to be financed by state enterprises and states.

Focus of the German-Brazilian cooperation

The key themes for the cooperation programme are determined by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) at the committee meetings in discussion with the Brazilian Foreign Ministry (MRE) and jointly with the Brazilian partner Ministries MCTI (science, technology and innovation) and MEC (education). The STC with Brazil focuses on the fields of environment, climate and sustainability, aerospace technology, life sciences and bioeconomics, and also cooperation in university education.

As part of the Brazilian government’s scholarship programme Brazil Scientific Mobility Program (formerly: 'Science without Borders'), over 6,000 additional Brazilian students and scientists came to Germany on a study and research placement.

During the Year of Science, which took place in Brazil between 2013 and 2014 under the slogan 'Germany+Brazil 2013-2014 - Where Ideas Connect', Germany presented itself as a competent partner in many different social areas. The BMBF was a project partner and sponsored scientific activities with over €1 million in total. Important events took place, particularly in the fields of bioeconomy, sustainability research, environmental technologies, climate protection, and also innovation and medical technology.

Germany and Brazil jointly research climate and resource protection

 The BMBF has sponsored the construction of the atmosphere observation tower ATTO (Amazonian Tall Tower Observation Facility) in the heart of Brazil’s Amazon region with EUR 4.5 million. The tower is 325 metres high and was built under difficult conditions in the rainforest. A great expense that should pay off in the long term. German and Brazilian scientists will use the highly sensitive measuring equipment to observe the relationship between the climate, atmospheric chemistry and the rainforest. The findings will enable us to better predict developments of our climate in the future.

With the programme 'Sustainable land management', Germany is supporting several German-Brazilian projects, which promote responsible treatment of natural resources such as water and the rainforest. German and Brazilian researchers are jointly fighting water shortage in the dry North-East of Brazil and are developing methods for reusing waste water. The project 'Integrated eco-technologies - INTECRAL' is developing concepts aimed at supporting the rural population in the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro to achieve long-term food security based on sustainable agriculture.

Research for a bio-based economy

Large quantities of renewable raw materials such as sugar cane, soya or wood are grown in Brazil. Brazil’s many years of experience in manufacturing and using ethanol as a biofuel are important for Germany.

A workshop on 'Value created from biological resources' in São Paulo and a fact-finding mission funded by the International Bureau (IB) were starting points for a German-Brazilian initiative in bioeconomics. The IB supported the BMBF in identifying topics and partners to internationalise the strategy 'Bioeconomics 2030' in Brazil. Since 2014, the German Federal Ministry of Research has funded four projects with Brazil in the context of the funding programme 'Bioeconomy International'. The two countries want to expand their collaboration in this area further.