FAPESP and the Sustainable Development Goals

Amazon+10 Initiative and CNPq issue new call to support scientific expeditions in the region

Amazon+10 Initiative and CNPq issue new call to support scientific expeditions in the region

Projects will be supported for up to 36 months (photo: Léo Ramos Chaves/Pesquisa FAPESP)

Published on 10/03/2023

Agência FAPESP* – Research funding agencies (FAPs) in 19 Brazilian states and the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq), an arm of the Ministry for Science, Technology and Innovation (MCTI), will allocate BRL 59.2 million to fund multidisciplinary scientific expeditions in the Amazon lasting up to 36 months. A call for proposals was issued on September 28. It was the second call issued by the Amazon+10 Initiative, which is led by the National Council of State Research Foundations (CONFAP) and is now also partnering with CNPq. 

Scientific expedition proposals submitted under this call must focus on extending knowledge of sociobiodiversity in the Amazon, collecting data, biological and mineral specimens, and seeking objects that embody present and past popular and Indigenous culture. Furthermore, they must match one or more of the priority research areas described in the detailed call document.

According to CNPq President Ricardo Galvão, conservation of the Amazon Rainforest and sustainable, non-predatory development of the economy depend significantly on scientific knowledge of the region. “Amazon+10 will provide funding for scientific projects in the region and enable local researchers to collaborate with colleagues from other states. CNPq is proud to be part of this initiative, which will certainly bring the region huge scientific and technological benefits,” he said.

“FAPESP participated actively in organizing the Amazon+10 Initiative, which is currently backed by FAPs in 25 Brazilian states. In the first call, researchers based in São Paulo state joined colleagues in other states to develop a large proportion of the projects under way in the region. The second call will expand collaborative research still further in search of solutions for a region that is vital for Brazil and the rest of the world,” said FAPESP president Marco Antonio Zago.  

Meeting in Santarém

The Amazon+10 Initiative’s second call was announced on the first day of the CONSECTI & CONFAP National Forum, held in Santarém, Pará state. CONSECTI is the National Council of State Departments of Science, Technology and Innovation (ST&I). “This is the first time ever that 25 FAPs have joined forces to implement a program, demonstrating the importance of the solutions we aim to develop. CONSECTI intends to participate more actively in decision-making, especially in pursuit of innovative solutions that genuinely transform the region and produce results with positive socio-economic impacts,” said Silvio Bulhões, President of CONSECTI.

“This time we want to participate more significantly in the Amazon+10 Initiative,” said Dalila Andrade Oliveira, Director of CNPq’s Department of Institutional and International Cooperation and Innovation (DCOI). “We constructed this call jointly with the FAPs and with CONFAP, and we want it to express CNPq’s awareness of the importance of this agenda, which now includes the Amazon question.”

Although the Amazon Rainforest is one of the largest and most intact forests in the world, it is also one of the least well-known in biological terms. Its vast size, diversity and limited accessibility make documenting its biodiversity extremely challenging.

According to an article by the Synergize Consortium published in July in the journal Current Biology, 40% of the Amazon’s total area has been overlooked by scientific researchers, mainly owing to the high cost of conducting research in the region (read more at agencia.fapesp.br/49973). For this reason, any proposal submitted in this call must have a budget of at least BRL 400,000 (now about USD 78,000). The Synergize Consortium is part of CNPq’s Center for Synthesis in Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (Sinbiose).

Besides the limited area covered, the research produced to date is taxonomically biased. Most of the available data refers to plants and birds. The amount of data available on butterflies, for example, is small, and highly diverse groups such as fungi and bacteria are practically unknown. The call is intended to help fill these gaps. In addition, the material collected will be cataloged and archived by institutions in the Amazon region in order to ensure that this heritage is conserved there. 

Proposals must have principal investigators from at least two of the 19 states whose FAPs are participating in the call, and one PI must be affiliated with an institution in Legal Amazonia, a nine-state area created by Brazilian federal law in 1953 to promote special environmental protection and development policies for the Amazon biome.

Proposals must also have a research team that includes at least one individual considered PIQCT, the Portuguese-language acronym for Indigenous Peoples, Quilombos and Traditional Communities, as these groups have traditional knowledge about the territory to be studied.

In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, slaves who managed to escape their owners set up settlements called quilombos (“war camps”) hidden in the remote interior. Some of these communities have survived, and are now winning title to their land, which they are proud to protect. 

“This initiative is an important step forward. Legal Amazonia has often received researchers from other parts of Brazil or other countries, while projects have often involved no researchers from the region or only backseat roles for local researchers. The first call was already an advance on that, and so is the second one, emphasizing partnership and collaborative research to take into account what Amazonians think and what they have,” said Márcia Perales, President of the State Funding Agency of Amazonas (FAPEAM).

According to Allan Kardec, Mato Grosso State Secretary of Science, Technology and Innovation, joint construction of actions for the initiative makes all the difference to the outcomes. “We’ve had the opportunity to take part in preparing this call. We’ve discussed it, expressed our opinion and had our technical staff go through it to make sure they understand it. We were listened to and able to sow a seed of regionalism. We’re very happy with the result,” he said.

“This project began with a broad discussion and is a multi-author initiative that puts the region in a leadership role, ensuring its needs are met and local particularities are taken into consideration,” said Marcel do Nascimento Botelho, President of the State Funding Agency of Pará (FAPESPA).

Of the BRL 59,250,000 allocated to this call, BRL 30 million will be contributed by CNPq exclusively for researchers formally affiliated with institutions in the nine states of Legal Amazonia (Acre, Amapá, Amazonas, Maranhão, Mato Grosso, Pará, Rondônia, Roraima and Tocantins). 

“CNPq’s participation on an equal footing is in line with something we’ve wanted since we first thought of the initiative, which is that all third-party funds involved should be invested in the North region of Brazil. CNPq is allocating a matching amount to the FAPs of Legal Amazonia, and that’s outstanding because it will fund a very large number of researchers in the region,” said Carlos Américo Pacheco, CEO of FAPESP.

Brazilian and foreign institutions have until December 31, 2023, to sign up to scientific expedition proposals. The deadline for proposal submission is April 29, 2024.

The Amazon+10 Initiative supports collaborative research projects oriented to biodiversity conservation, adaptation to climate change, protection of traditional peoples and communities, urban challenges and the bioeconomy as contributions to economic development policy for the Amazon region. Thirty-nine projects were selected in the first call, issued in June 2022.

Studies supported by the Initiative should increase scientific knowledge of the region and, in conjunction with relevant actors for public policy formulation, attract public and private investment that benefits the population consistently and in the long run.

*Last updated November 22, 2023.


Source: https://agencia.fapesp.br/49901