Science and Technology in Brazil: A New Policy for a Global
Simon Schwartzman, editor
de Janeiro: Fundação Getúlio Vargas, 1995 (vol 1). All texts included here are
first versions, before being edited for the printed volume.
Science and Tecnology in Brazil: new policy for a global
world , by Simon Schwartzman, Eduardo Krieger, Fernando Galembeck., Eduardo
Augusto Guimarães and Carlos Osmar Bertero.
Comments on "Science and Tecnology in Brazil", by Michael Gibbons.
and Technology in the new world order, by Geoges Ferné.
States science and technology policy: the effects of a changing international
environment, by Eugene B. Skolnikoff.
States science and technology policy: issues for the nineties, by Lewis
specialization and international integration of science in Brazil: changes
and comparisons with other Latin American countries and Israel, by Thomas Schott.
The papers included in this volume were prepared for a policy study on science
and technology in Brazil carried on between 1992 and 1993 by the Escola de Administração
de Empresas de São Paulo, Fundação Getúlio Vargas. The study was done at the
request of the Brazilian Ministry of Science and Technology, within the Program
for Scientific and Technological Development (Programa de Apoio ao Desenvolvimento
Científico e Tecnológico, PADCT II), with partial support from a sector loan
from the World Bank. A second volume includes papers written in Portuguese,
dealing with the institutional aspects of science and technology, and its economic
and social implications. The third volume brings together papers about specific
sectors of scientific and technological activities in Brazil. The coordination
team included Simon Schwartzman (Fundação Getúlio Vargas and Universidade de
São Paulo, general coordination), Moacyr Krieger (Instituto do Coração and the
Brazilian Academy of Sciences, biological sciences), Fernando Galembeck (University
of Campinas, physical sciences and engineering), Eduardo Augusto Guimarães (Federal
University of Rio de Janeiro, economic dimensions) and Carlos Bertero (Fundação
Getúlio Vargas, administrative and institutional aspects), with management support
from José Roberto Ferro (Federal University of São Carlos and Fundação Getúlio
After a brief period of rapid expansion, in the 1970's, the Brazilian scientific
and technological sector entered a time of instability and uncertainties in
the eighties, characterized by reduced and uncertain resources, successive institutional
reorganizations, and a general feeling of uneasiness about the role science
and technology was supposed to play in the country. In the eighties, the two
programs for scientific and technological development (PADCT I and PADCT II)
signed between the Brazilian government and the World Bank provided some degree
of resource stability to a few selected sectors, but did not replace the need
for a broader policy and a clearer perspective. This need became apparent in
the negotiations between the Brazilian government and international agencies,
such as the World Bank and the Interamerican Development Bank, for additional
loans to the science and technology sector. In consequence, three studies were
commissioned by the Brazilian government to evaluate and make suggestions for
the future. One, carried on within the Ministry of Science and Technology itself,
with support from the United Nations Development Program, looked more specifically
to the institutional aspects of the S&T sector. Another, led by Luciano
Coutinho at the Universidade de Campinas, also within the PADCT II program,
concentrated on technological innovation in the Brazilian productive sector.
The third was our study, aimed at an assessment of Brazil's scientific and technological
capabilities in the current national and international context, and the formulation
of a new perspective for the whole sector.
The conclusions, presented in the first chapter of this volume, do not represent
the official view of the Brazilian government. They are the sole responsibility
of the coordinating team and individual paper authors, and are presented to
the government and the public as suggestions and proposals for discussion. The
study was carried on without government interference and with complete freedom
for the participants to express their views and perspectives, and the same freedom
was granted to the authors of each commissioned paper. In March, 1994, the Fundação
Getúlio Vargas organized a seminar where participants of the three studies presented
their main conclusions to the Ministry of Science and Technology, government
officials and the public, and since then the wealth of materials produced are
being disseminated and brought under scrutiny.
The main assumption of our study is that science and technology should play
a strategic role in Brazil, given the need to improve productivity in the economy,
to deal with problems of poverty, education, health and environment degradation,
and to participate more fully in an integrated world economy and society. The
incorporation of technical knowledge in the productive process is necessary
not only to guarantee the competitiveness of Brazil's products in the international
market, but also to assure that the benefits of this activity are actually absorbed
by the country's broader population. Poverty, education, health and environment
are problems of exceeding complexity, which cannot be dealt with without the
benefit of specific technological innovations, and the proper understanding
of their broader causes, implications and consequences. But science and technology
are not just embodied in pieces of equipment, registered patents and technical
literature in bookshelves and computer disks. They exist, above all, in the
culture and daily practice of human beings, as part of their education and life
experiences. The more this culture and practical experiences spread in society,
the more society can benefit from them. This is why no science and technology
policy can be successful if it is not part of a much broader policy to expand,
improve and consolidate basic education, and to increase the general competence
of the productive system as a whole. This concern with the internal benefits
of science and technology is not in contradiction, but in fact requires, an
active integration in the international markets and networks for technological
products and scientific knowledge, through the elimination of barriers to technological
transfers and investment in the improvement of innovative capabilities and scientific
competence of individuals, firms and educational and research institutions.
The Brazilian scientific and technological system which took shape in the seventies
worked from a completely different set of assumptions. These assumptions, however,
have still not been fully revised, and still shape many current proposals and
ideas The following table, under the risk of oversimplification, compares the
assumptions of the past with the current perspectives on some key issues. The
full implications of this conceptual shift are spelled out in the papers now
being published, and are gradually being absorbed by Brazilian society. As they
do, they will add to the country's efforts to become a more competent, economically
viable and just society.
Rio de Janeiro, March 1995
1. Rio de Janeiro: Fundação Getúlio Vargas, 1995. All texts
included here are first versions, before being edited for the printed volume.