University of Virginia - Latin America

Initiative in Societal Prosperity: Innovation, Research, and Education: (INSPIRELA)

Latin AmericaUVa has a distinguishing and substantial global presence. The Office of the Vice President for Research's INSPIRELA initiative seeks to create a UVa/Latin America science, technology and business-based "innovation ecosystem" based upon interdisciplinary partnerships with leading Latin American industries, academia, technological institutions and government. The initial focus is upon Brazil - largest Latin American economy, one-half of the overall population in Latin America, strong universities, and its government and industry are strongly supportive of innovation and entrepreneurship initiatives. In the coming year, INSPIRELA intends to expand its programs into other Latin American nations including Chile, Mexico, and Colombia.

Key UVa INSPIRELA-BR programs and initiatives are in public health and tropical diseases, biomedical engineering including devices and systems, advanced manufacturing systems and software, nanoelectronics and nanomedicine, sustainable and smart cities, energy systems, applications of scientific computing, Big Data, and medical and life sciences, including cancer and diabetes. An "innovation accelerator" will enable UVa startup companies to be mentored in best approaches to the Brazilian market, and for Brazilian startups to be mentored in the US market. The mentorship networks in Brazil and the US will inform these emerging companies of the alternative legal, financial, political, marketing and cultural aspects of developing their businesses internationally, knowledge of which is crucial to success in each other's markets.

INSPIRELA-BR initiated the development of a new international student exchange program between UVa McIntire Business School (ranked #2 in the US) and Brazil's #1-ranked business school, Fundação Getúlio Vargas (FGV-EAESP) in São Paulo. This is McIntire's first student exchange program in Latin America, and student exchanges are anticipated to begin in early 2015.

INSPIRELA-BR has developed a strong relationship with the Director of the Brazilian Ministry of Science and Technology's "Science without Borders" initiative, which seeks to place and fully support 100,000 science and technology students (undergraduate, graduate and postdoc levels) in leading academic institutions worldwide. INSPIRELA-BR is focused upon recruitment of best-qualified graduate students and postdocs in the sciences, engineering and medicine based upon Brazil's SWB initiative. Key to that effort is the development of research partnerships with the top universities and faculty in their disciplines in Brazil. UVa has recruited 12 postdoc and graduate SWB students from UFRJ, USP, CIMATEC, and UNICAMP thus far, as well as a graduate student in Politics.

Latin AmericaLatin America

INSPIRELA-BR has established or initiated opportunities for significant relationships in major business, academic and governmental centers across Brazil, as depicted on the map below:

Latin America

  1. Rio de Janeiro: Operador Nacional do Sistema Elétrico (ONS), the manager of Brazil's electrical grid; Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (risk and resilience analysis; applications of big data for security at the large events such as the 2016 Olympics); Sustainable Cities with UFRJ; FINEP (Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation, a major governmental source of support for Brazilian public-private innovation projects).
  2. São Paulo: University of São Paulo (Water quality, Big Data); Fundação Getúlio Vargas (FGV-EAESP); USP School of Medicine (cancer, STEM cell research; genetics and epigenetics, biomedical devices; assistive medical technologies); 3-dimensional bio- printing of organs of the body.
  3. Brasília: Ministry of Health (Information Technology); Ministry of Science and Technology (Secretary, and Director of Brazil's Science Without Borders initiative); CNPq (Brazilian government's National Science Foundation).
  4. Campinas: INOVA, the technology accelerator at the University of Campinas; Centro de Tecnologia da Informação Renato Ar- cher, the leading Brazilian government institute for information technology.
  5. Salvador: SENAI-CIMATEC, State of Bahia's industrial center of excellence in advanced manufacturing, alternative energy, micro- electronics, automotive, information, and environmental technologies.
  6. Forteleza: Federal University of Ceará, Tropical and Infectious Diseases.
  7. São Carlos: University of São Paulo – São Carlos: Nanoelectronics

Phil ParrishFor more information, contact Phil Parrish, Associate Vice President for Research