West Virginia University will host a Brazilian delegation in late October to discuss potential research partnerships, laying the foundation for potential collaboration in the areas of business, science and innovation.

A group of representatives from WVU including deans, faculty and researchers will meet with a delegation from the São Paulo Research Foundation Oct. 24. In its 50th year, the foundation funds research, scientific and technological development. In 2011, it invested $516 million in higher education and research institutions.

Faculty from several WVU colleges will make presentations to show current research. At the same time, WVU will host an exhibition entitled “Brazilian Nature: Mystery and Destiny” consisting of 37 displays that illustrate Brazil’s flora and biological wealth.

“We are trying to establish a unique collaborative agenda in research for new innovation,” said Dr. “Jose “Zito Sartarelli, Milan Puskar Dean, WVU College of Business and Economics. “This is one of a series of four roundtables, the others having been held in Toronto, São Paulo and Washington, D.C. We hope our initial meeting will lead to a partnership model with specific action plans for the future.”

Sartarelli initiated the visit through his contacts in São Paulo, where he earned his undergraduate degree. He is a dual citizen of the U.S. and Brazil and maintains strong academic and business relationships there.

“This event reflects WVU’s commitment in two specific areas of the University’s strategic plan,” Sartarelli said. “These areas include goals to excel in research, creative activity and innovation, as well as to advance international activity and global engagement.”

In the United States, São Paulo Research Foundation has strong academic and industry connections. Academic partners include Columbia University, MIT, North Carolina State University, University of Michigan and University of Southern California. The organization has industry partners that include companies such as Agilent, Boeing and Microsoft Research. Recently, the foundation supported research initiatives in bio-energy, global climate change, biodiversity, information technology and genomics.

“Scientists share a common language, the language of rationality,” said Celso Lafer, president of the São Paulo Research Foundation. “They have a common aim related to the enlargement and expansion of frontiers of knowledge. Science unites scientists and, thus, favors cooperation.”

“These initial talks are expected to generate mutually beneficial ways for us work together,” saId Dr. Michael Lastinger, associate provost for international academic affairs, in the WVU Office of International Programs. “The potential for collaboration is immense for our research faculty.”

Leading the São Paulo delegation is Paulo Sotero, director, Brazil Institute, Wilson Center, and Carlos Brito Cruz, scientific director of the foundation. Others in the visiting delegation from the foundation are Carlos Lins da Silva, Heitor Shimizu, Marcelo Meletti, Marina Madeira and Luiz Fernando Cunha.

Michael Darden will represent the Brazil Institute, centered at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. The institute develops forums focusing on Brazil’s trade and economic development, international relations, public policy, science and the environment and political affairs.

The Wilson Center facilitated the exhibit of Brazil’s natural flora to the WVU campus for display at the Erickson Alumni Center Oct. 18-24 and at the WVU Mountainlair from Oct. 26 through Nov. 3.

The São Paulo Research Foundation provides fellowships for graduate and undergraduate students; and approximately 55 percent of its budget goes into exploratory and fundamental academic research. The balance goes toward application-oriented research. Research activities are undertaken through partnerships involving small businesses, academic researchers and industry.

The foundation works closely with the scientific community in the state of São Paulo. With a population of 40 million people, São Paulo represents one-fifth of Brazil’s population. São Paulo also generates over one-third of Brazil’s Gross National Production.

During the year, the foundation invites researchers and scientists to submit proposals for peer review, and the agency then helps to shape research projects. The foundation’s investment in applied research has grown in recent years in order to foster new scientific and technological developments. For details, visit http://www.fapesp.br/en/

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CONTACT: Dr. Michael Lastinger
michael.lastinger@mail.wvu.edu or 304.293.6955, ext. 4