Brazil - Research and Innovation

Different actors are involved in conducting innovation research and development in Brazil. The government, through public universities, technological institutes, agencies that promote research and recently also through Embrapii (Brazilian Company for Industrial Research and Innovation), is the main one. Incubators, technology parks, private investors and companies are also part of the Brazilian scenario of innovation, as are systems like the National Service of Industrial Apprenticeship (Senai) and the Brazilian Micro and Small Business Support Service (Sebrae).

Research conducted in Brazil is concentrated in universities and other federal or state institutions. There are currently 301 public institutions of higher education in the country (besides 2090 private ones), with 111 universities (beyond 84 private), 10 university centers (and 130 private centers), 140 colleges (and 1876 private ones), besides 40 federal institutes of education in science and technology. These agencies have at least 667 active centers of on-site support, such as libraries, tutoring rooms, computer labs, distance tutoring and learning laboratories.

The priority research areas in Brazil are divided into three blocks. In the first, relevant areas "for Brazilian competitiveness" appear: aerospace, agriculture, biotechnology, defense, energy, pharmaceuticals and health, nanotechnology, nuclear energy, oil and gas, as well as information and communication technologies.

In the second are topics related to "natural resources and the environment": the Antarctic, biodiversity, marine biotechnology, natural disasters, meteorology, climatology and hydrology, climate change, oceans and coastal areas, water resources and mineral resources.

The subjects of the research focused on "social development" appear in the third block: digital inclusion, social and productive inclusion, popularization of ST&I (Science, Technology and Innovation) and the improvement of science education, as well as social and assistive technologies.

To stimulate innovation in the country, the government has established in 2004 the National Policy of Science, Technology and Innovation. Its goal is to transform the sector into a strategic component for the economic and social development of Brazil, contributing so that its benefits are fairly distributed to all of the society.

Laws that encourage the development of innovation are also in force in the country. The Technological Innovation Act (2004) was made to stimulate: the creation of specialized and cooperative environments in innovation, the participation of scientific and technological institutions (STI) in the sector, innovation in business, the independent inventor and the creation of investment funds for innovation.

Brazil, however, is among the last in the group of emerging countries when the subject is the production of innovation. The latest data from the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovations and Communications (MCTIC) indicates that, in 2013, only 1.6% of the GDP, equivalent to R$ 85.6 billion was invested in science and technology. From this amount, R$ 63.7 billion was invested in Research and Development (R&D) Most of the funding is public, adding up to about R$ 36.8 billion. Private and state-owned companies invested R$ 26.5 billion.

In 2014, nearly 3450 patent applications were filed at the National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI). According to MCTI data from February 2014, in 2011, 35.7% of the companies had already implemented product or process innovations in activities of industry, of the electricity and gas sectors, and of services.