Heriot-Watt University signs MOUs with Brazilian education institutes

Research collaboration between Scotland and Brazil will be boosted this month when a team from Heriot-Watt University visits three of Brazil's leading universities.

A delegation of professors, including Heriot-Watt University's Principal Steve Chapman will visit campuses in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Campinas to explore the immense research potential in Brazil that holds major interest for Scottish institutions.

There is huge opportunity for Heriot-Watt to develop research collaborations with universities and industry in Brazil

Professor Alan Miller, Deputy Principal for Research and Knowledge Transfer

Brazil is investing heavily in science and technology. An emphasis in Brazil on research that improves society in terms of developing businesses, developing new energy sources, and improving health and the environment, is well matched to Heriot-Watt's expertise.

The Heriot-Watt professors include specialists in a range of disciplines, including engineering, geoscience, marine science, physics, chemistry, and computer science with applications in manufacturing, communications, robotics, energy, environment and health. The group includes Dr Patricia A Vargas (Robotics), a graduate from the University of Campinas (UNICAMP) in Sao Paulo and Professor Patrick Corbett (Oil and Gas), who has just completed a two-year posting to Brazil at UFRJ.

Memoranda of Understanding

During the visit, Principal Steve Chapman will sign Memoranda of Understanding with the University of Rio de Janeiro and the Sao Paulo Research Foundation. The agreements will open the way for increased co-operation in research between Scotland and Brazil.

The Heriot-Watt team will join academics from UNICAMP, University of Sao Paulo (USP) and Mackenzie University along with industry representatives at a workshop to explore research partnerships in the energy, health, food, environment and industrial sectors.

International research partnerships

Dr Patricia A. Vargas said: "This visit will help to build the reputation of one of Scotland's leading universities by making personal contacts that are so important in securing effective international research partnerships."

Professor Patrick Corbett's time in Brazil helped to establish research activity in a specialist oil and gas area: reservoir characterisation of carbonate reservoirs. He believes significant research co-operation initiatives will emerge in the coming year. He said: "Brazil is a country that wants to grow its educational system along with an international research base and Heriot-Watt's willingness to engage on the ground can help make a difference."

Professor Alan Miller, Heriot-Watt's Deputy Principal for Research and Knowledge Transfer said: "I was most impressed with the quality of research that I viewed during my first visit to Brazil in August 2013, and feel that there is huge opportunity for Heriot-Watt to develop research collaborations with universities and industry in Brazil; the senior managers that I have met in Brazil have been very encouraging in the creation of links via the joint workshop hosted by UNICAMP in Campinas."

The Heriot-Watt delegation will be in Brazil from April 6 to April 12.