Susan Gaidos – Science Careers/AAAS, 01/13/2012
Brazil is hardly a scientific backwater. The Brazilian government became serious about science several decades ago, and as the Brazilian economy has expanded — especially over the last 10 or 12 years — the government has increased support for science even more. According to an article in Science, in 2010 Brazil had moved up to 13th in the list of countries with the most scientific publications. (In the most recent data, they seem to have dropped back to number 14.)
But all is not sun and sandy beaches: Scientists say Brazil has long suffered from an excess of bureaucracy. Quoted in another article in Science, from 2004, Stevens Kastrup Rehen, a professor at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, says, “To give you an idea of how bureaucratic the process is, an electrophoresis apparatus that I ordered as an undergraduate was held up by customs until the end of my Ph.D.”
Another problem — hardly unique to Brazil — is an uneven geographic distribution in the support for science, and the economic and social benefits that come from it. Brazil’s scientific wealth is concentrated in the south and southwest, especially in the two big cities, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.