On Monday, June 22, the Associated Centers to the Brazilian Association for Synchrotron Light Technology (ABTLuS) received the visit of a Cuban delegation composed of government representatives and entrepreneurs. The visitors came to Brazil to learn how our major research centers and technological enterprises are managed and also to prospect business opportunities in areas such as information technology, communications and energy.
The committee was received by the ABTLuS director, Michal Gartenkraut, and by the director of the Bioethanol Science and Technology Center (CTBE), Marco Aurélio Pinheiro Lima. Among other topics, the directors presented to the Cubans the operation concept recently implanted for the research centers operated by ABTLuS. Since May of this year, ABTLuS actuates as a scientific “holding” that administrates three different centers on its campus in Campinas, São Paulo. Each center has a directory, resources and independent objectives but all centers take advantage of the same administrative solutions and infrastructure provided by the Social Organization that operates them. In addition to these benefits, the proximity of the Associated Centers also offers promising scientific collaborations.
The visitors were shown the structure and the research programs of the Associated Center dedicated to the ethanol extracted from a plant widely used in Cuba: sugarcane. Next year, when its installations are ready, CTBE will work on the deepening of scientific and technological questions concerning Brazilian ethanol, such as the development of technologies that will allow the increase of productivity without expanding the area planted with sugarcane. After the presentations, the Cuban delegation visited the Brazilian Synchrotron Light Source, the first built in the Southern Hemisphere and, until today, the only one in Latin America.
The feasibility of scientific cooperation between ABTLuS and the Cuban scientific community was a subject brought up several times. “We know that Brazil is one of the few countries of Latin America that has a good program of technological development. We would like to know in what way Cuba could take advantage of facilities like these we see here”, questioned the vice-minister of the Cuban Ministry of Information and Communications, Alberto Rodrigues Arufe.
The answer to this question is that researchers from anywhere in the world can submit research proposals to LNLS, CTBE (with operation foreseen for 2010) and to the Center for Structural Molecular Biology (CeBiME), which actuates mainly on the elucidation of the 3D structures of proteins. Once the proposal is approved by a committee external to the institutions, the researcher can use all of the infrastructure of the laboratories and perform his experiments without charge, only observing that the result of the research needs to be made public, returning to society the investment made. Cooperation with the industrial sector are also possible.
This is not the first time that representatives of the Cuban government visit the ABTLuS Associated Centers in 2009. In March, the vice-minister of Higher Education of that country, Eduardo Cruz González, was here. Like him, members of public and private institutions from countries such as Germany, South Africa, France and Peru are part of the list of those who have visited the institution in the last few months. As one of the defenders of the creation of LNLS and having visited the Laboratory in 1990, the winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics, Carlo Rubbia, returned to the Brazilian Synchrotron in June of this year. The activities of the other centers were presented to him during his visit, especially those related to Bioethanol.
The ABTLuS Associated Centers regularly receive groups of students on Tuesdays. Special visits (scientific or economic missions) can be scheduled for any day of the week. The e-mail for scheduling is email@example.com.