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Fact Sheet: U.S.-Brazil Science and Technology Cooperation

April 09, 2012

President Obama and President Rousseff recognize the importance of science, technology, and innovation to the well-being and economic strength of our countries. At the March 12-13, 2012, Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) on Science and Technology cooperation in Brasilia, the United States and Brazil deepened their already strong science and technology partnership. The two countries reaffirmed their shared commitment to collaboration in a wide range of disciplines, from studies of our oceans to outer space and from nanotechnology to natural disasters. Accomplishments of this bilateral partnership and activities planned for the years ahead include:

Understanding Oceans, Weather, and Climate Change

•      The United States and Brazil enjoy a growing partnership in space weather, Earth observations, advocacy for data sharing, participation in the International Space Environment Service, the training of scientists from Brazil at the U.S. National Weather Service, and collaboration on shark and billfish management. The JCM Ocean Science Working Group will, with possible engagement of private industry, continue its work on ocean technology and ocean and coastal zone management related to climate change and extreme weather events.

Strengthening Ecosystems Research

•      The United States and Brazil will cooperate on the Green Ocean Amazon 2014 experiment to better understand role of the tropics in the Earth's climate. Atmospheric and terrestrial ecosystem measures will be jointly analyzed through the U.S. Department of Energy's atmospheric and terrestrial process and modelling research components to advance our understanding and modelling of tropical systems.

Maximizing the Potential of Nanotechnology

•      Representatives from the Brazilian Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation; Brazilian National Institute of Metrology, Quality and Technology; and the U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative met on March 30, 2012, to discuss national strategies, research programs, and shared access to user facilities. Significant opportunities for collaboration, including undergraduate and graduate student exchanges, were identified between the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) Nanoscale Science and Engineering Centers and the Brazilian Nanotechnology Centers. The two countries have launched workshops on Converging Technologies, with the first held in São Paulo in October 2011 and a second to be held in Arlington, Virginia, in June 2012.

Managing and Monitoring Natural Disasters

•      The Disaster Management Working Group, representing 13 U.S. and nine Brazilian agencies, agreed to focus on observation assets (including new technology and remote sensing); modeling of floods, landslides, and drought; capacity building for special-event/incident-command protocols; and Geographic Information System tools for flood monitoring and public health surveillance.

Refining Measurement Standards for Biofuels

•      The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology and Brazil's National Institute of Metrology, Quality and Technology collaboratively developed the standards for bioethanol and biodiesel. They will expand their work on measurement standards and data needs for biofuels (including aviation biofuels and biomass), environmental science, smart grid, bioscience, and health.

Cultivating Policies for Innovation

•      The Working Group on Innovation and Policy will support short-term visits for Brazilian program managers to the NSF and other U.S. agencies; foster information-sharing about the regulatory framework for innovation; and, plan a multidisciplinary "Frontiers of Science and Engineering" workshop to be organized by the respective Academies of Science and Engineering with NSF as the lead agency. The U.S. Council on Competitiveness and other partners attended the "Partnership for the 21st Century" conference hosted by Brazil on April 9, 2012, to discuss collaborations in energy, education and leadership—areas crucial to lasting productivity and prosperity.

Enhancing Health at Home and Abroad

•      The U.S.-Brazil Working Group on Public Health continues its work related to: the Joint Action Plan To Eliminate Racial and Ethnic Discrimination and Promote Equality; polio-eradication and HIV/AIDS in Lusophone, Africa, and immunizations in Haiti; the hosting of doctoral and post-doctoral fellows through Brazil's "Science without Borders" program; influenza, HIV/AIDS programs, surveillance and prevention of non-communicable diseases; public health emergency preparedness and response; parallel funding of basic, clinical, and translational research; and the U.S.-Latin American Cancer Research Network.

Partnering for Education and Collaborative Research

•      President Obama's "100,000 Strong in the Americas" and Brazilian President Rousseff's "Science without Borders" initiatives—in collaboration with the U.S. Department of State's Fulbright Program—are supporting expanded academic and research partnerships, including teaching and applied research exchanges in the fields of science, technology, and innovation.

Applying New Technologies for the Military

•      In 2011 and 2012, the U.S. Office of Naval Research Global funded 10 grants in Brazil worth $609,000 to continue bilateral basic-research collaboration in areas such as nanotechnology, materials science; and ocean observation and modeling. The proposed Bilateral Master Data Information Exchange Agreement between the U.S. Department of Defense/Air Force and Brazil's Ministry of Defense is expected to deepen the two nations' strong partnership in energy security by supporting new work in biofuel production.

Deepening Our Understanding of the Earth and Space

•      In October 2011, during a visit to Brazil by the Administrator of NASA, the two countries signed agreements to cooperate on the Global Precipitation Measurement Mission and to study the Earth's ozone layer. In addition, in January 2012, the NASA Administrator hosted 45 Brazilian Youth Ambassadors at NASA Headquarters for an educational outreach presentation.

Advancing the Cause of Women in Science

•      At the JCM, the United States and Brazil outlined best practices for recruiting, retaining, and advancing women in science through enhanced participation by women and girls in exchange programs and by strengthening networks of women scientists to enhance collaboration and mentorship opportunities.

Improving Transportation Security

•      A pending Memorandum of Cooperation with Brazil's National Civil Aviation Agency and a Memorandum of Agreement with its Federal Police will support talks with the U.S. Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) on a technology qualification program and the possible establishment of a TSA Systems Integration Facility-equivalent for qualifying civil aviation security technologies.

Barack Obama, Fact Sheet: U.S.-Brazil Science and Technology Cooperation Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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