A survey released during the National Council of Research Support Institutions (Confap) forum, at the end of March, showed that Amazonas is the state that invests the most in training masters and doctors.
To talk about what this situation represents, the importance of the science and the challenges to be overcome, A CRITICA interviewed the Director of the Research Support Foundation Amazonas (Fapeam), Marcia Perales. Check it out below.
name: Marcia Perales Mendes Silva
studies: Social Work (Ufam), Master’s Degree in Social Work (PUC-SP), Doctorate in Social Work (PUC-SP) and Postdoctoral in Social Policy (UNB)
expertise: Director-Chairman of Fapeam. She was also Dean of the Federal University of Amazonas (Ufam) from 2009 to 2017.
A survey released during the National Council of Research Support Institutions (Confap) forum indicated that Amazonas is the first among the states to invest the most in training masters and physicians. Was this a highlight on the part of Fapeam?
We have in the state multi-year plan for 2023 a specific line, a structural program called Science, Technology and Innovation. Related to this programme, we have Fapeam’s action lines, which are always aligned with the 2030 Agenda, with the Sustainable Development Goals. Among the very important things that have been mentioned is the importance of technical and scientific training and its installation in the country to help and contribute to our economic, social and environmental development. So this is part of the policy. In 2019, Governor Wilson Lima repositioned the CT&I region, designating this region as a structural, strategic, and core area for Amazonas development.
Along with that came some conditions. Public policy must be funded and that has been one of the things that the government has ensured for the last four years. In this funding, since the training of highly qualified human resources is very important for the development of the country, we give priority, among a range of measures, to the training of researchers in the scope of master’s and doctoral degrees. This made us fund scholarships, but not only that. Besides these graduate programs, today there are 78 courses in the strict sense, and this is where we work.
Where are these investments directed and how can researchers apply for these grants?
We have different formats. We have an ongoing streaming program called “Supporting Institutions in the State of Amazonas”. We have general notes to invest heavily in basic research, but also heavily in applied research, which is defining research. For example, I want to work in the field of bioeconomics. When I do my advertising, I choose this field as one of the priorities. In the case of encouraging scholarships and assisting master’s and doctoral students, we have a cooperation agreement with all public education and research institutions. We have this convention, we have selection criteria.
All courses are public, and this is the first criterion. Secondly, that these courses are recognized by the agency that organizes and assesses at the national level, Capes. We prioritize excellence courses. Courses in integration or newly created, we offer another remedy, trying to support this range, because here we still have many graduate courses in the narrow sense of the third and fourth grades. They need a special look. This makes us establish, in the system of innovation, a relationship of partnership, of joint construction, so that we can have this reinforcement in the Amazonas.
Can you cite examples from the research that has received these investments in recent years?
I’d rather not name it, because it seems like I’m prioritizing something. Since we’re supporting over 10,000 projects between 2019 and 2022, it’s a little complicated. But when asked how these investments will develop in the quality of life of society, we [falamos que] We created this portfolio with researchers, launched by the governor, and it’s very interesting, because it brings in specific information. What is the impact of the research on the environmental, scientific, economic, social and technological level. And this is a build that has been made, and this is available on our page (fapeam.am.gov.br) not only for the scientific community, but for any citizen or investor.
Many of the forums I’ve been called in to talk about ST&I on Amazon, they want to know what research is in the first sector, in health. We try to work with all areas of knowledge, specifically to give visibility to several areas. In this portfolio, we have an excerpt from these researches. It was invested, who participated, coordinated, what was the goal, methodology and practical results of the operation.
How can the study, conducted by researchers associated with Fapeam, contribute to the formulation of public policy?
This is one of the main goals, because when you design public policies in different areas, you need detailed and reliable information. So there is this direct relationship. There’s also a relationship, when you evaluate public policies, we make public notice of that, because it’s a process of investment and development of research and results and evaluation of the institution itself in the way that resource is made available. One of the things that makes us happier when they give you notice is, for example, the SUS startups, which aim to solve problems in the health field.
The inside of Amazonas suffers from specific problems, like Internet difficulty, which can affect everything from signing up for general notifications to the search itself. How does Fapeam adapt to this reality to reach these researchers?
The 2023 PPA is a beacon, and it has the outlines of the government, with a particular view of the interior of the country. We cannot treat what is different differently. The interior has a very different reality from the capital. Therefore, Fapeam needs, before triggering the notice, to listen, to know, to diagnose, to be in constant dialogue with research institutions, and always to invest in basic research. No development organization should fail to do so, because this is where it is born.
But we also need some answers that basic research may not be giving us as soon as we would like. Declarative research, applied, they bring these answers. When we look inward, we think we need some specific action. So, we launched the Painter Program to support the countryside in the CT&I area. Then we launched Painter + and now Painter Infra. So maybe with that, it’s better to understand that it’s not just support for the researcher, but the creation of a research infrastructure in these places.
We reached 62 municipalities through Fapeam and it was always a directive from the prefect, but in different forms. I also have a Science at School program and we divide it by region so that all schools have the opportunity and in this project Seduc and Semed are our partners, so that boys and girls have the possibility to see the world in a different way.
You mentioned bioeconomy in previous answers. How is Fapeam, a development corporation in the state with the largest portion of the Amazon rainforest, promoting this topic?
Bioeconomics has been the goal of public notices so that researchers feel encouraged to research in this area. In the portfolio that we’ve launched, we have many product outcomes that are transformative and optimized in nature to improve people’s lives. Some are patented, but some are not. In the field of CT&I, in order to conduct research in this area, you encourage the provision of resources so that these researchers have the necessary support. We work this way and the researchers understand that very well.
From an investment standpoint, what are Fapeam’s next steps? Are there new projects on the horizon?
I met with the researchers and told them that Fapeam turns 20 in May, and that it’s a consolidated enterprise, but it’s expanding. Credibility is one of the most important things in a research support organization. She must be respected and trusted and must show her managerial skills. We are working to enhance this. We have some classic programs, we did not create them and we want to preserve them, because they are important, regardless of the period in which they were created, such as the Scientific Adaptation Program, the Science Popularization Program, which is one of the biggest challenges, to make this information reach the community.
But we need to go a long way in this regard, because science is usually associated with academia, but then you ask yourself, who has never gone to the pharmacy to buy medicine? What’s on the shelf is the search. Reaching other results not only in health, in agriculture, for example, is fundamental for us to advance with respect to this belief in science. Science is the great driving force behind society’s transformations and productive, technological and educational transformations, and it must be worked on to improve people’s lives, as it is good for humanity.
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