Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff signed into law on Monday the National Code of Science, Technology and Innovation, a measure designed to eliminate bureaucratic obstacles to scientific research and boost Brazil’s technology sector.
Brazil’s public institutions were barred by the Constitution of 1988 and a bevy of other laws from doing business with private entities without undergoing a burdensome procurement process. The new legislation nixes the procurement requirement for contracts related to innovative products and services provided by Brazilian companies, as well as for goods and services related to research and development activities.
The legislation also enables public institutions dedicated to science, development and technology to leverage the Differential Public Procurement Regime that was instituted to expedite public works related to the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics. Additionally, it allows governors and mayors across the country to establish local frameworks to facilitate public-private partnerships.
“We are providing transparency, ease and legal assurances to a collaborative process that is fundamental to economic growth, generation of jobs and income, and that promotes sustainable development,” said Rousseff at the bill signing ceremony, at which she also approved R$ 200 million ($49 million) in research grants over the next two years.
A boon for academia
The legislation also facilitates collaboration between industry and academia by allowing full-time staff at public universities and research institutions to work up to eight hours a week in consulting or R&D.
Helena Nader, president of the Brazilian Society for the Advancement of Science, told Exame Brazil is crossing a threshold by removing the barrier between public universities and private enterprise. Nader noted that many product candidates developed at public Brazilian institutions failed to reach the market due to legal hurdles. The new legislation “doesn’t mean we will see new products on the shelf tomorrow, but without this legislation the advancements the country needs in innovation would not be possible,” she said.
Paulo Mol, superintendent of the Euvaldo Lodi Institute, noted that while most researchers around the world are employed by industry, in Brazil 70% of them work in academia. “People think innovation [in Brazil] is hindered by lack of technology or infrastructure, but the best conduit to innovation is having human capital that is qualified to innovate,” he told ABr.
Photo by Marcelo Camargo/ABr