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Increasing INternational Science, Technology and Innovation COoperation between BRAzil and the European Union

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - INCOBRA (Increasing INternational Science, Technology and Innovation COoperation between BRAzil and the European Union)

Reporting period: 2017-08-01 to 2019-01-31

Brazil (BR) is a global emerging economy, Latin American industrial and economic leader and a key international player in the science, technology and innovation (STI) field, being on the upfront of certain research and innovation (R&I) areas, such as off shore oil & gas exploration, biofuels, among others. Considering this relevance of the country in the international scene, the European Union (EU) considers BR as a privileged partner and a target country to deploy R&I activities in cooperation. By working together with BR, the EU intends to trigger collaborative scientific and technological initiatives of mutual benefit and interest, to take the lead in specific R&I areas and to tackle common societal challenges. The EU R&I funding programme - Horizon 2020 (H2020) - has a strong international cooperation component. In this context, it privileges the deployment of collaborative R&I activities with targeted countries - as is the case of BR.

That is the overall background context of INCOBRA – Increasing STI International Cooperation between BR and EU. INCOBRA intended to support the development of collaborative R&I activities between BR and EU, particularly in the context of H2020, by contributing to focusing, increasing and enhancing such bilateral STI collaboration. In order to achieve such general and specific goals, INCOBRA brings together 14 organisations from BR and EU, under the coordination of SPI, representing different BR states and different EU member states as well as different types of organisations, such as companies, universities, research centres, associations, networks and funding agencies.

On the focusing dimension, INCOBRA helped to deepen the cooperation on areas which are priority for BR-EU bilateral STI cooperation. The identified areas comprised: green energy, sustainable use of bioresources, food security and adaptation of agriculture to climate change, advanced manufacturing and nanomaterials and smart cities and smart systems. For each of these areas an Action Plan and Roadmap were designed and served as input for the Joint Steering Committee on Science Tecnology and Innovation in the process of outlining the EC Roadmap for R&I Cooperation with Brazil of October 2017.

On the increasing dimension, INCOBRA supported 5 bilateral R&I cooperation networks, which comprised R&I actors from both regions. These networks intended to align the research agenda of the partners involved and to identify funding opportunities to apply their joint research and innovation projects. These networks were BMMO (on marine research), NIUMAR (on smart cities), STI-net (on health), NANO NOC MAT (on nanotechnology) and PEARL (on space).

The increasing dimension also comprised capacity building activities, which intended to enhance knowledge, skills and capabilities of the Brazilian scientific and technology community towards H2020, bridging the gap of an effective participation of the country in the programme. In this context, a set of 13 Info Days were organized at local and regional level in Brazil, an online course comprising 7 modules was deployed and an H2020 handbook was released. All of them were held in Portuguese.

Finally, through the enhancing dimension, INCOBRA focused its efforts in working with research and innovation funding agencies from Brazil and EU members states and in trying to overcome obstacles and barriers for true joint innovation funding schemes. Throughout the project implementation it was possible to realize that this overarching goal was too ambitious to achieve during the project lifetime. Efforts were then shift to introducing Brazilian and European innovation funding agencies to each other and in stimulating the mutual sharing of experiences in terms of planning, operation and evaluation of funding schemes.
Throughout the 3 years of project lifetime, INCOBRA managed to achieve relevant results and to provide key contributions to the progress of BR-EU R&I cooperation.

Firstly, it is important to underline that INCOBRA's capacity building approach and materials - namely the Info Days, H2020 Handbook and H2020 Online Course - will continue to be implemented after the project lifetime. Through the work of the Sustainability Committee, it was ensured that these results will be duly transferred to ENRICH in Brazil (CEBRABIC project) and will be duly used in the context of this centre's services and activities.

Through its activities, events and support, INCOBRA also contributed to achieving some crucial results in terms of linking EU and BR R&I actors, in getting EU and BR innovation funding agencies closer and in fostering Brazilian participation in H2020. The most relevant results are summarized below:
- the Brazilian Innovation Funding Agency (FINEP - partner of INCOBRA) joined the new Administrative Arrangement to cofund Brazilian participation in H2020;
- CONFAP, FAPESP and FINEP - all partners of INCOBRA - have joined/are negotiating to join European Joint Programming Initiatives (JPI) as observers - namely JPI Water, JPI Oceans, JPI Urban Europe and JPI More Years Better Lifes;
- At least 2 JPI calls had the cofund of Brazilian participation through CONFAP and FAPESP - JPI Water call in 2017 and JPI Oceans call in 2018 - during the project lifetime;
- Through the efforts and engagement of the BR and EU innovation funding agencies partners of INCOBRA - FFG, FAPESP and FINEP - an EUREKA Global Stars call was launched in 2018;
- Multiple H2020 topics had consortium applicants which counted with Brazilian organizations in the partnership. Such organizations and their respective staff were supported by INCOBRA during the project lifetime (either through the bilateral networks, the Inof Days or the Online Course). H2020 topics considered in here include LC-CLA-01-2018; BG-08-2019; SU-SPACEEGNSS-3-2019, among others.

In terms of dissemination and communication, the following performance indicators shall be highlighted:
- More than 60 events organized - including workshops, training camps, info days, info sessions, webinars, online sessions, among others;
- More than 35 pieces of information released to specific target groups or to the general public - among press releaeses, facthseets and newsletters;
- More than 1.000 followers of INCOBRA in social media and more than 20.000 visitors in the project website;
INCOBRA provided key contribution to move the BR-EU R&I cooperation forward in several aspects:

- the Brazilian scientific, technological and business community is much more familiar with Horizon 2020, having received a practical, hands-on knowledge of the programme and being now in a much more privileged position to participate in proposals and to engage in partnerships;
- Mutual understanding and cooperation among BR and EU innovation funding agencies progressed during the project lifetime. Some results were already achieved within INCOBRA's duration, as previously mentioned. In the upcoming months and years, it is expected that Brazilian cofunding of European and European Member States research and innovation programmes is strengthened;
- as a consequence of both items above, conditions are created for Brazil to make the best value of the upcoming European research and innovation funding programme - Horizon Europe - and to timely plan its involvement, cofunding and participation in the programme and their calls, focusing efforts on topics of more importance to the BR-EU R&I cooperation.
INCOBRA - focusing, increasing and enhancing BR-EU R&I cooperation