Brazilian Congressional Study Missions on Innovation
In April 2011, the Brazil Institute organized and hosted the first annual Brazilian Congressional Study Mission on Innovation, in partnership with Brazil’s Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association (Interfarma). Through seminars with experts in academia, government, and industry, the first congressional mission aimed to facilitate interaction between members of the Brazilian Congress and the leading innovative minds in science and technology with the goal of promoting a better understanding of policies and best practices that foster innovation. As one congressman remarked at the end of the first mission, “These talks opened my mind to the complex issues of innovation.”
The success of the first mission has led to an ongoing collaboration between the Brazil Institute and Interfarma centered on an annual study mission for members of the Brazilian Congress, hosted at various U.S. and U.K. institutions of higher education and research. To date, over fifty federal deputies and senators, including majority and minority leaders and presidents of parliamentary committees with jurisdiction over areas that are relevant to innovation, have participated in these study missions at the Wilson Center, the United States Department of State, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the London King’s College Brazil Institute, and the Institute of the Americas at the University of California San Diego.
Learn more about each Congressional Study Mission on Innovation
1st Congressional Study Mission (2011)
In April 2011, eighteen members of the Chamber of Deputies and the Federal Senate took part in the First Brazilian Congressional Study Mission. Legislators attended a series of conferences on fostering innovation and best practices in R&D, hosted at the Wilson Center and the Department of State in Washington, DC, and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA.
2nd Congressional Study Mission (2012)
The Second Brazilian Congressional Study Mission, with eleven senators and federal deputies in attendance, occurred in April 2012 in Europe. It opened with a seminar hosted by the King’s College London Brazil Institute, focused on the commercialization and application of new technologies and processes available in the market. Panel discussions included innovation in the United Kingdom and the international politics of intellectual property. For more details, click here.
3rd Congressional Study Mission (2013)
The Third Mission, with seven senators and federal deputies in attendance, took place at the Institute of the Americas at the University of California-San Diego. Legislators participated in panels discussing a range of issues, including how to take innovation from the lab to the marketplace and the relationship between innovation and universities. They also visited several R&D centers in San Diego and Los Angeles, including the Scripps Research Institute, to gain a sense for how best practices can be implemented in real laboratories. For more details, click here.
4th Congressional Study Mission (2015)
The Fourth Congressional Study Mission took place at the Institute of the Americas at the University of California-San Diego and at the Wilson Center in Washington, DC. The senators and deputies on the mission attended discussions on a number of issues critical to pharmaceutical innovation, including on clinical trials, genetic testing, and the passage of the U.S. Rare Diseases and Orphan Drug Act. Legislators also visited two pharmaceutical labs to view best practices in action: the Janssen Research & Development Center in San Deigo, and the AstraZeneca Research & Development Center in Maryland. For more details, click here.
5th Congressional Study Mission (2016)
In the fifth installment, in partnership with Interfarma, Google Brasil and the Institute of the Americas at UC-San Diego, the delegation returned to California to learn about the innovation hubs of Sillicon Valley. Legislators participated in panels on the relationship between business and academic research; tech transfer and intellectual property; innovation as a public good; and using technology in elementary education, among other topics. Mission members also visited Google headquarters and the R&D labs of Genetech, Bayer (including touring Bayer’s CoLaborator, a start-up incubator), and Abbot Laboratories. For more details, click here.
6th Congressional Study Mission (2017)
The Sixth Mission took place in April 2017, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA and the Wilson Center in Washington, DC. For more details, click here.
The Brazilian Congress at the Frontier of Innovation
In 2014, the Brazil Institute published The Brazilian Congress at the Frontier of Innovation, showcasing a selection of lectures from the 2011-2013 study missions as well as testimonials of researchers and entrepreneurial scientists on the importance of innovation in science and technology. In
Novos Caminhos para a Inovação
In 2018, the Brazil Institute and Interfarma published a second report, titled Novos Caminhos para a Inovação (New Paths for Innovation in Brazil), highlighting lessons and key recommendations drawn from the 2015-2017 study missions.
Since its founding in 2006, the Brazil Institute has served as a highly respected and credible source of research and debate on key issues of bilateral concern between Brazil and the United States. The primary role of the Brazil Institute—the only country-specific policy institution focused on Brazil in Washington—is to foster understanding of Brazil’s complex reality and to support more consequential relations between Brazilian and U.S. institutions in the public and private sectors, as well as in academia and between citizens. Read more