Budget Cuts and A Lack of Political Leadership Hinder Innovation in Brazil

Reduction of public investments in science and technology is shot in the foot, says expert

Eduardo Sombini

Experts say that innovation is suffering in Brazil because of budget cuts, and the lack of political leadership to treat this area as a priority for Brazil.

“Brazil has built a national innovation system, with entities, agencies, universities, companies - and the plan is very dynamic. But it fails in implementation. It is no use having a super-advanced and modern agency if resources are cut. We are experiencing a kind of blackout, ” said Glauco Arbix, a professor of sociology at USP, in a debate at the Innovation in Brazil seminar, held by Folha on Wednesday (28) in São Paulo.

Glauco Arbix, talking in a debate at the Innovation in Brazil seminar, held by Folha Keiny Andrade/Folhapress

The Ceará State Government, the Secretariat of Metropolitan Transportation of the State of São Paulo and the Coca-Cola Brazil Institute supported the event.

Arbix argued that cooperation between public and private organizations is essential to join efforts for innovation in the country. He thinks, however, that today Brazil suffers from a lack of political leadership to sustain investments in these activities.

“Many authorities, instead of aggregating, separate. Universities are essential for innovation worldwide, and here in Brazil they are being exposed, humiliated, trampled, with cut funds,” he said. In his view, these situations make it difficult to qualify the workforce and increase the productivity of the Brazilian economy.

Ricardo Kahn, professor at Fundação Vanzolini, stressed that the Brazilian workforce needs to be more familiar with the universe of entrepreneurship and innovation. He said that some everyday skills of innovative companies, such as the oral presentation of ideas, are less widespread than in other countries, citing the US as an example.

On the other hand, he said he noted a change in attitude among undergraduates and recent graduates, who treat startups as a more frequent aspiration than ten years ago. “Brazil is a difficult environment for any business, but it has a huge entrepreneurial capacity here. We see talent emerging from all sides,” he said.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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