Latin American Initiative: INSPIREx-LA

Latin AmericaINSPIREx-LA supports UVA’s strategic globalization objective by its efforts to distinguish UVA in the Western Hemisphere, which are based upon interdisciplinary research partnerships and joint innovation initiatives, thereby establishing strategic relationships with Latin American research institutions and industry. Brazil’s strong universities, robust economy and democratic institutions create a substantial partnering opportunity and initial focus for INSPIREx-LA.

In conjunction with a representative for UVA in Brazil who was previously the President of Motorola-Brazil as well as a former faculty member at Federal University of University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), VPR and UVA faculty have traveled to Brazil to introduce UVA, its history, national and international rankings, comprehensiveness, and leading research activities in order to develop and foster strategic relationships with leading research universities, institutes, governmental ministries and industry. Based upon these visits and follow-up contacts, partnerships have been established with:

  • University of Sao Paulo (USP)
  • Cancer Center for the State of Sao Paulo (ICESP)
  • The Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) & its technology transition office
  • University of Campinas
  • University of Sao Paulo - Sao Carlos campus
  • Federal Center for Information Technology (CTI)
  • Brazilian Heart Institute
  • Ministry of Science’s National Council for Science and Technological Development (CNPq)
  • Ministry of Health
  • Ministry of External Relations (equivalent to US Dept of State)
  • Brazilian Aeronautical Technological Institute (ITA)
  • Fundacao Getulio Vargas (FGV), the preeminent Brazilian business school

A partnership in oncology has formed between the UVA Cancer Center, University Sao Paulo, and ICESP.  A nanoelectronics partnership between the UVA nanoSTAR Institute and USP-Sao Carlos has been initiated, and USP-Sao Carlos faculty have been to UVA to present a seminar and discuss opportunities for student and faculty exchange.  Initiatives in both additive manufacturing and US-Brazilian Women in Science and Innovation are being developed with CTI. A wireless health dialogue has been initiated with several universities and institutes.  A student exchange program has been developed between UVA McIntire School of Business and FGV, the #1 business school in Brazil. Videoteleconferencing has begun between UVA faculty and those in a number of Brazilian institutions, and will enable much more robust and lasting relationships to flourish. Additionally, there is significant focus upon Brazil’s Science Without Borders (SWB) program, which has the goal of placing up to 100,000 Brazilian science and technology students at all degree levels in universities abroad. Six SWB students are at UVA thus far, with a number of Ph.D. and postdoctoral students currently “in the SWB/UVA pipeline”. Dr. Phil Parrish, Associate VP Research and leader of the INSPIREx-LA, recently met with the Vice-President of CNPq, the Brazilian governmental agency leading the SWB program, to introduce UVA to him and to emphasize our strong interest in partnerships with leading Brazilian universities, their students and faculty across a spectrum of research and innovation opportunities. During a recent visit, Parrish also presented a webinar about UVA, its history, comprehensiveness, and leading areas of research and innovation to almost 200 students from across Brazil. It is anticipated that these and other measures will attract many more Brazilian students to UVA in the coming year.

As a result of a presentation by the US Ambassador to Brazil at a meeting attended at the US Department of State to encourage outreach by US universities to increase interest and numbers of Brazilian women in science, UVA is exploring a Brazil-US Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator, at the encouragement of State and NSF. A proposal is anticipated in the coming weeks.

Latin America