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Brazil without Borders

Science without Borders, the Brazilian Scientific Mobility Undergraduate Programme, will enter its second phase in 2015 and, according to Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, it will continue towards providing 100 000 more scholarships for Brazilian students who want to study abroad. The first four-year phase of the programme had a budget of around EUR 1 billion, out of which around three quarters were funded by the state. More than 80 000 scholarships have been granted so far with the expected number of over 100 000 to be reached by the end of this year.   

Among more than 40 participating host countries, the US as the top study destination with more than 26 000 Brazilian students, stands far above the UK and Canada, who come second and third, respectively, with 9 500 and 7 000 students studying at their universities. 

The Science without Borders programme has so far focused on STEM fields in undergraduate higher education offering students an opportunity to study abroad for up to 12 months, including an internship. After the mobility period, the awarded students are expected to return to the country and complete studies. The change to be expected as of 2015 is a broader scope of beneficiaries since the government is planning to include graduate students in the pool of possible grantees. Another novelty may be a stronger focus on Asia, compared to the so far main targets towards the US and Europe.  Still, STEM fields will remain at the core of the programme. And not without a reason. 

Science without Borders is just a piece - a large one, though - of the internationalisation-innovation puzzle of Brazil. The newly established National Programme of Knowledge Platforms (Programa Nacional de Plataformas do Conhecimento - PNPC) aims to develop within the next decade up to 20 public-private partnerships to serve as knowledge platforms for scientific and technological innovation. The framework of this new programme looks at successful policies and practices worldwide in order to best deal with global competition and get to the forefront of the innovation race. 

And it seems that Brazilians are very ambitious in this plan. According to the National Education Plan adopted in May, the country plans to increase its investment in education from current 5.7% of GDP, which is quite close to the OECD average of 5.8%. The minimum target investment to be reached by 2019 is 7% all the way up to 10% by 2024. The plan also outlines 20 broad educational targets to be achieved in the next 10 years, from fighting illiteracy to increasing access and provision of basic education to increasing the enrolment numbers in all education areas. 

Science without Borders (Portuguese)