The GRC is an association of more than 60 public research funding agencies on all continents. Its annual meeting took place in Panama on May 31-June 03, 2022. (photo: GRC)
Published on 06/08/2022
Agência FAPESP – As of September, FAPESP will host the Executive Secretariat of the Global Research Council (GRC), a virtual organization comprising the heads of more than 60 science and engineering funding agencies from countries on all continents. The announcement was made on May 31 on the first day of the GRC’s Annual Meeting, which was held for four days in Panama. The GRC was established in 2012. Its first Executive Secretary was from the United States National Science Foundation (NSF), followed by representatives of the German Research Foundation (DFG) and United Kingdom Research and Innovation (UKRI).
“Our membership of the GRC is part of our internationalization strategy. Being chosen as the home of the Executive Secretariat reflects FAPESP’s prestige among funding agencies worldwide and will certainly enhance our contribution to global affairs,” said Marco Antonio Zago, President of FAPESP.
The Executive Secretariat is one of the GRC’s three decision-making bodies, alongside the Governing Board and Executive Support Group. Its main role is to mediate relations between the Governing Board and member funding agencies, organize the communication structure, and foster interaction among all instances of the organization.
“Under UKRI, the Executive Secretariat’s activities increased considerably, and it played a more active part in formulating the GRC’s policies,” said Luiz Eugênio Mello, Scientific Director of FAPESP.
Meanwhile, the GRC has plans for significant expansion of its activities and strategies. “In recent years a vision has been constructed according to which the GRC is a forum with great potential to create multilateral mechanisms for funding research and innovation,” said Euclides de Mesquita Neto, deputy chair of FAPESP’s Adjunct Panel for Special Programs and Research Collaboration. He will be the GRC’s Executive Secretary for a five-year term starting in September and will be assisted by Carolina Oliveira Martins Costa, who serves at FAPESP as an advisor on research collaboration.
The prospect of an increase in multilateral funding was on the agenda of the GRC’s Annual Meeting, as were two side events. On May 30 the Executive Support Group discussed opportunities for research to contribute to sustainable development in the Amazon. This event was hosted by FAPESP and the Dutch Research Council (NWO). Organization of the event was led by Anita Hardon (NWO) and Luiz Eugênio Mello (FAPESP), with contributions from Carlos Américo Pacheco, CEO of FAPESP, and Odir Delagostin, President of Brazil’s National Council of State Research Foundations (CONFAP).
“The goal of this event was to connect funding agencies that support or plan to support research in the Amazon region, and to urge them to implement ways of encouraging researchers to submit projects that have to do with sustainable development there, include local actors in their definition of the research, provide input for public policy and evidence-based private investment decisions, take local knowledge into account, and contribute to the region’s research infrastructure,” Mello said.
The other side event discussed the challenges of setting up a multilateral research fund, which will also benefit from participation by FAPESP’s Scientific Director.
The GRC’s next Annual Meeting will be held in the Netherlands and will be co-hosted by FAPESP and NWO. As co-host, FAPESP will sit on the GRC’s Governing Board in 2022-23, represented by its Scientific Director.
FAPESP has been a member of the GRC since 2012 and of the Executive Support Group since 2017. In 2019 it hosted the 8th Annual Meeting in São Paulo, partnering with DFG and Argentina’s National Council for Scientific and Technological Research (CONICET). In 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, FAPESP co-hosted a series of science webinars with Argentina’s CONICET, Paraguay’s National Council for Science and Technology (CONACYT), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the US National Science Foundation (NSF).
“The GRC is central to FAPESP’s internationalization strategy,” Mello said. “Celso Lafer, a former President of FAPESP with ample experience of international affairs as a former Brazilian foreign minister, and Carlos Henrique de Brito Cruz, who was FAPESP’s Scientific Director between April 2005 and April 2020, took key steps to enable us to achieve these results and this important recognition. For FAPESP, the GRC is not government policy but state policy.”