Fraunhofer signs agreement with FAPESP
On Tuesday (10/14) Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft signed a science and technology cooperation agreement with The State of São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) in Munich, Germany.
The document was signed by Frank Treppe, director of the Division of Corporate Strategy and International Relations at Fraunhofer, and Celso Lafer, FAPESP president during a visit by the delegation from the São Paulo Foundation. According to the text, collaborative efforts will focus on innovation-oriented applied research, of direct interest to Brazilian and German industry.
The meeting was held in parallel to activities related to FAPESP Week Munich, the symposium sponsored by FAPESP and the Bavarian University Center for Latin America (BayLAT), October 15-17, 2014.
"This agreement is part of FAPESP’s internationalization effort. We are very interested in promoting collaboration with Germany and are aware of the significance of Fraunhofer’s work in terms of applied science. FAPESP’s mission is to support basic as well as applied research in all fields of knowledge,” Lafer emphasized at the start of the visit.
Also in attendance from FAPESP were José Arana Varela, chief executive officer, Carlos Henrique de Brito Cruz, scientific director, Euclides Mesquita Neto, engineering coordinator, and Marilda Bottesi, special advisor for institutional and international affairs.
After welcoming the delegation, Treppe presented an overview of the activities conducted by Fraunhofer, which has more than 80 research units, including 60 Fraunhofer Institutes in Germany.
According to Treppe, most of the institution’s resources come from service contracts, either with industry or with public administration. Fraunhofer, a private non-profit organization, also receives resources from the German federal and state governments.
"Fraunhofer is the preferred partner for German industry and we work with approximately 6,000 companies a year, mostly small and medium-sized. Our mission is to provide research services and support to innovation in practically all fields related to applications," he said.
Although Fraunhofer’s focus is applied science, Treppe noted, the institution maintains direct links with academia and invests close to one third of its budget in basic research.
"If we want to have something innovative to offer industry, if we want to be at the forefront of what industry is doing, we need to engage in basic research and maintain a network of university collaboration,” Treppe said.
In an interview with Agência FAPESP, Treppe said that there was great potential for collaboration with São Paulo researchers in fields such as foods, biotechnology, bioengineering, production technology, and mechanical and software engineering.
"We already have some active centers in Brazil and a strong local partnership. FAPESP can expand this collaboration by encouraging regional companies to finance their innovation through collaborative projects with universities,” he said.
According to Brito Cruz, the visit was important for obtaining a better understanding of Fraunhofer’s structure and operations and getting a sense of how much the institution values basic research.
"Basic research offers the institution the ability to carry out innovative projects that really interest the industries and governments they are associated with. In São Paulo, we are seeing this type of initiative being carried out by Fraunhofer and we have high expectations with regard to this collaboration,” he said.
The State of São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) is one of the main funding agencies for scientific and technological research in the country. It is linked to the State of São Paulo's Secretariat for Higher Education.
Since 1962, with its autonomy guaranteed by law, FAPESP has been awarding funds for research and fellowships in all areas of knowledge, and finances other activities in support of study, exchanges and the dissemination of science and technology in São Paulo.