Representatives from the University of Aberdeen have been in Brazil this week, as part of a delegation led by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.
UK Minister for Universities and Skills, David Willetts and Professor Steve Smith, Vice Chancellor of the University of Exeter and President of Universities UK, were also in the group, examining how academic links between Brazil and the UK can be developed.
The visit has included meetings in Sao Paulo and Brasilia attended by Professor Albert Rodger, Vice-Principal for External Affairs. These have focused on exploring how the higher education sector can develop a scholarship programme between the UK and Brazil, and contribute to the strengthening of relationships in sectors including energy, food and healthcare, exploring opportunities to share knowledge between the two countries.
A parallel programme has also taken place focusing on developing growing research links between UK universities, Brazilian universities and industry, and the Brazilian power and oil and gas sectors. With the importance of Aberdeen as the UK centre for the oil and gas industry, the development of knowledge exchange programmes and research links with other important international energy centres is of strategic importance. Brazil is an especially important international partner, globally being the largest investor in research and development for oil and gas. Meetings in Rio de Janeiro attended by Professor Ben Kneller (Geosciences), Professor Celso Grebogi (Institute for Complex Systems and Mathematical Biology) and Mr Emre Ursenmez (School of Law), were addressed by the President of Petrobras Sergio Gabrielli, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, and UK Minister for Trade and Investment Lord Green.
The University of Aberdeen’s objectives for the visit have been to re-emphasise the importance of Brazil as an academic and business partner; strengthen links with Petrobras, the wider Brazilian energy sector and other important government, industry and academic partners in Brazil; establish better links with the Brazilian education sector and industry to develop opportunities for scholarship, researcher exchange and collaborative research programmes; and to strengthen links with existing partner Universities in Brazil and develop new partnerships
Professor Rodger said: “With the importance of Aberdeen as the UK centre for the oil and gas industry the development of knowledge exchange and research programmes with other important international energy centres is of strategic importance. The University has already established close links with key Brazilian organisations in that sector with the support of UK government agencies. It is our strategy to develop broad-based long-lasting partnerships in Brazil that strengthen and develop relationships in sectors including energy, food and healthcare, and explore opportunities to share knowledge and ideas between the UK and Brazil to significant mutual advantage.”