Researchers' Evaluation As to the Benefits and Constraints of the Interaction Among Their Laboratories and Firms in Brazil

Thursday, 2 July 2015: 4:00 PM-5:30 PM
TW1.3.04 (Tower One)
Lenita Maria Turchi, Institute for Applied Economic Research- Ipea, Brasilia, Brazil
Network G: Labor Markets, Education and Human Resources  

Researchers’ Evaluation  to the Benefits and Constraints of the Interaction among their Laboratories and Firms in Brazil

Lenita Turchi

The paper aims at taping researches’ perception of the benefits and constraints in stablishing partnership with the productive sector in Brazil. More specifically, it focuses on how researches in charge of coordinating the main public research laboratories evaluate the benefits and the difficulties to interact with firms connected to the main areas of knowledge developed in these research infrastructures.

The paper draws mainly in two set of data collected as follow: At first, in order to identify and characterize the main public research infrastructure in Brazil,  a survey was carried out with 1760 coordinators of public research laboratories throughout Brazil in 2013.This survey provided information such as: nature, size, value of equipment, operational cost for running the laboratories, number and qualification of the staff as well as the kind of services and the partnerships with firms and other institutions.

In the second stage, to complement the above-mentioned survey, interviews are being conducted with coordinators of the main laboratories that have reported to interact with the productive sector in the last five year. The focus of the interview is on researchers’ evaluation of the benefits and constraints to interact with firms either developing join projects or attending firms' demands through the research infrastructure of their institutions. The interview was designed to tap at the effects of the Brazilian regulatory mechanism over the public research institutions and the administrative procedures at the university in order to support interaction among universities and firms. 

The paper argues that although the scale of the research infrastructure plays a relevant role in its capability to interact with the productive sector, other factors have to be taken into account to better understand the university -industry relations. Among these aspects are the Brazilian legal framework that regulates the science and technology activities in public institutions, the assistance provided by the university to promote interaction as well as the logic underlying the academic system of rewards. 

Results of this study reveal the heterogeneity of the Brazilian public research infrastructure with laboratories varying in value, size, number and qualification of staff as well as their capability to attend demand out of the academic research conducted by Phd students. The level of university-industry interaction follows this pattern, that is to say some research infrastructures present none or very low levels of interaction and others, mainly the ones linked to the oil and gas industry, have a history of active partnerships with firms. The interviews, still in progress, will point out the benefits and difficulties faced by research coordinators whenever interacting with firms.