April 22, 2013
Yuri Takkteyev – Foreign Affairs, 04/21/2013
How did a programming language from the global South manage to make it into one of the world’s most popular web sites? Lua’s story, as it turns out, tells a lot about the globalization of software development and the difficulties faced by innovators in developing countries.
I first heard of Lua eight years ago, when I traveled to Rio de Janeiro to interview software engineers for a research project that was recently published as a book, Coding Places. While in Rio, I met “Rodrigo,” who worked on a free and open-source web platform. He surprised me by telling me that the project was based on a new programming language, Lua, developed by a small team at Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio), where Rodrigo had been a student.
June 21, 2012
Matthew Stepp – The Energy Collective, 06/21/2012
For advocates of all things “green”, the Rio+20 Summit is supposed to charter a new path forward for the world to address its biggest challenges: reduce greenhouse gas emissions, eradicate poverty, end hunger, limit environmental destruction and increase access to clean water. But like recent climate change negotiations, the conference will result in little more than vague frameworks for future discussions and promises that will surely get broken. Instead, if the world wants to truly spur sustainable development, innovation must become the centerpiece of negotiations.
But before that can happen, international negotiators need a wakeup call: It’s time to stop pretending that ill-equipped and divisive policy tools will solve our global challenges. We’re a planet of seven billion people growing to 9 billion by midcentury. We’re a 60 trillion dollar global economy that must continue to grow to move billions from poverty. The threat of dangerous global climate change looms larger with each passing year. And over a billion people still don’t have access to energy, clean or dirty, say nothing about a lack of abundant food and clean water. In other words, we need consumption to grow while drastically reducing that consumption’s impact on the environment. Of course this is no simple task, but it is possible. Yet so far international negotiators are bringing the policy equivalent of a knife to a grenade fight.
Let’s just look at one area of sustainable development under negotiation to see why: reducing global greenhouse gas emissions by building a green economy. The fundamental goal is transitioning the global energy system from fossil fuels to clean energy. The dominant policies discussed at Rio+20 aimed at doing just that include subsidizing existing energy and adaptation technologies through a Green Climate Fund or other financing mechanisms and setting voluntary sustainability and development goals. Here’s the problem: these solutions will either fail to reduce overall growth of emissions and will only marginally increase clean energy adoption.
May 25, 2012
Fox Business/Dow Jones Newswires, 05/24/2012
RIO DE JANEIRO – General Electric Co. (GE) said Thursday it will invest 500 million reais ($245.5 million) in a research-and-development center in Rio de Janeiro.
The center, which should be operational in the second half of 2013 and employ 400, will focus on development of biofuels, alternative-energy systems, intelligent systems and systems integration, particularly in the logistics area, said Ken Herd, GE’s global research center head in Brazil, at a ceremony.
Mark Little, a GE vice president, said the center also will develop subsea technologies together with clients including Petroleo Brasileiro SA (PBR, PETR4.BR), Statoil ASA (STO, STL.OS) and OGX (OGXPY, OGXP3.BR).
January 2, 2012
Governor Deval Patrick and Governor Geraldo Alckmin – Metro West/GateHouse News Service, 01/02/2012
As governors, we’ve come to realize that the global economy waits for no one. You either get on the bus or get left behind. In the case of Massachusetts and São Paulo, we not only want to be on the bus; we want to drive it. In that spirit, we see opportunities to strengthen and grow the relationship between our states.
Brazil has become one of the most important international partners for Massachusetts. In 2010, bilateral trade between Massachusetts and Brazil topped $475 million — representing more than $396 million in exports from Massachusetts to Brazil and more than $80 million in exports from Brazil to Massachusetts.
This year, Massachusetts exports to Brazil are already up 31 percent. The state of São Paulo is responsible for 33 percent of Brazil’s GDP and is a natural business hub for Massachusetts. Massachusetts is home to one of the largest Brazilian populations in America, a community whose highly entrepreneurial nature contributes in significant ways to the local economy.
August 9, 2011
Yahoo Finance/AP, 07/28/2011
Brazil says the planned production of tablet computers will help spur technological innovation in Latin America’s biggest country.
Brazil has signed agreements with at least 10 companies that make tablets. One of them is with Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn, which is expected to start producing Apple Inc.’s iPads later this year in Brazil.
Science and Technology Minister Aloizio Mercadante said Thursday that the tablet production should lead to the production of touch-screen monitors and semiconductors.
July 18, 2011
The plan, according to Brazil’s leader is aimed towards the increase of local production and battles foreign protectionism. Emphasis will be put on productive development based on technological innovation and strengthening Brazil’s position in world trade.
“We will consistently fight protectionist practices, unlawful, fraudulent on world trade, affecting directly our products” said President Rousseff in Porto Alegre, during a ceremony at which new authorities of Rio Grande do Sul industries federation (Fiergs) took office.
The president remarked that the new plan is to be launched August 2nd and targets commercial tensions with Europe and the United States. “The Brazilian government is determined to act boldly and with no time to loose” Rousseff underlined.
June 30, 2011
The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) today issued the annual Worldview Bio-Innovation Scorecard produced by Scientific American to attendees of the Worldview 2011: Scientific American’s Regional Bio-Innovation Scorecard Super Session. The panel session is part of the 2011 BIO International Convention, taking place this week in Washington, D.C. at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.
The Worldview Bio-Innovation Scorecard illustrates various nations’ strengths in such categories as work force availability, education and intellectual property protection, and what countries still need to improve their capacity for creating biotech innovation locally. In addition, this year’s report highlights the biotechnology advancements of the BRIC Nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China) and profiles three “game changers” from Brazil, India and China who, in the face of incredible odds, advanced their county’s life science sector.
“It’s fascinating to see the countries that have challenging environments in terms of innovation capacity, show consistent growth within our index,” said Jeremy Abbate, Publishing Director of Scientific American Worldview. “Some of the most notable gains come from Portugal and Spain. They have consistently climbed in their overall innovation score since we began this special report in 2009.”
March 17, 2011
Brazil’s determination to boost innovation and productivity of local companies is being realized by the Financing Agency for Studies and Projects (FINEP), which helps fund the research and development of new enterprises in the country.
Glauco Arbix, president of the biggest agency in South America that promotes innovation, highlighted FINEP’s important role in helping carry out new initiatives on Tuesday.
“It is difficult to find an agency like ours in the world. FINEP’s range of activities is very large. The three legs of our activities are repayable loans, non-refundable loans (for universities), and economic subsidy for companies,” he told Xinhua.
February 10, 2011
Michael Darden – Brazil Institute, 02/10/2011
Sugarcane Ethanol. Photo: Sweet Alternative
From what was once a sleepy colony to its tumultuous experimentation with bureaucratic-authoritarian regimes, Brazil has now grown into what is today the eighth largest economy in the world and is projected to become the fourth largest by 2040. Driven in part by the enormous appetite for commodity goods by China and India, Brazil owes much of its current economic and social success to political will and growing domestic demand.
As it stands now, Brazil is home to some of the world’s largest companies: Vale, which produces iron ore; beverage giant AB InBev, which recently purchased Anheuser-Busch; and oil giant Petrobras, which is leading the way in deep-sea drilling and exploration. These titans of industry have become the face of a Brazil that is expanding its political and economical footprint across the globe. While these corporations are the face of corporate Brazil, they do not tell the whole story of Brazilian innovation.
Brazil’s improving state of innovation can best be illustrated through a number of case studies. Brazil is now the lead exporter of poultry, sugarcane, and ethanol, with agriculture making it a breadbasket for the world, with the agricultural sector expanding 365 percent between 1996 and 2006, quite the turn around for a country that was a net-importer of food 30 years ago. The explosion of farming is largely due to Embrapa, the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation, who have transformed unfit cerrado (savannah) into thriving farmlands because of innovative technology and long-term development initiatives. Read the rest of this entry »
February 10, 2011
Andrew Downie – The Chronicle of Higher Education, 02/06/2011
Top engineering graduates in Brazil can take a 15-month course in aeronautics sponsored by Embraer, one of the world's largest commercial-jet manufacturers, which was among the first Brazilian companies to develop close links with academe. Photo: Lalo de Almeida/The Chronicle
When the world’s second-biggest mining company said last year that it would open three state-of-the-art research centers in Brazil, it marked the most visible development yet in the changing relationship between business and academe there.
Acknowledging that Brazil has struggled to produce innovative thinkers and internationally known research, the company, Vale, said it would spend $400-million on the three-campus Vale Technology Institute, employing hundreds of university-level researchers and providing research opportunities to students in fields including mining, sustainable development, and renewable energy.
The mining giant’s big step is one of a series of investments by Brazilian businesses to support advanced research and, in some cases, improve the quality of academic programs in the country’s universities. Some firms are providing training and education in cooperation with universities. Others are spending directly on higher education or working to design university courses. Still more are offering grants to academic researchers in relevant fields, such as mining and oil production.