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Research exchange between Canada, Brazil strengthened

Five research projects have been chosen to receive joint funding under an innovative research exchange agreement between the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP), Western University and the University of Toronto, the partners announced.

The announcement, made in São Paulo, was the culmination of a call for proposals driven by an innovative memorandum of understanding (MOU) that was launched by the three institutions in July 2011. The aim of the agreement is to promote international scientific and scholarly research exchanges between Canada and Brazil.

The program awards successful Canadian applicants up to $10,000 (CDN) per year for two years to cover travel and living allowances in the State of São Paulo. Researchers associated with universities in São Paulo will receive the same amount to cover air travel to Canada plus health insurance and living expenses.

A total of five teams were funded and will work on the following projects:

* São Paulo-Ontario Soil and Water Remediation Consortium; to be conducted by Western, U of T and the University of São Paulo (USP);

* Community of Practice: a methodology to improve Occupational Therapy Practice; to be conducted by Western and USP; and,

* Probing the Physical Characteristics of the Disks Surrounding the Stars; to be conducted by Western and USP;

* Assessment in Individuals with Lung Disease: From structures to function; to be conducted by U of T and USP;

* Antidepressant-like Effects of Deep Brain Stimulation in Rats and the Hypothalamic, Pituitary, Adrenal Axis; to be conducted by U of T and the Federal University of São Paulo (UNIFESP). 

Western President Amit Chakma said the Brazilian partnership provides an innovative model for international academic exchanges that can produce mutual benefits for both countries and beyond.

“FAPESP is enabling the brightest minds to bridge the distances between them so they can collaborate more effectively in solving problems of global consequence,” Chakma said. “It’s an example I hope others will follow, and we are thrilled to see Western researchers from several disciplines have this opportunity to engage more closely with Brazilian colleagues.”

University of Toronto President David Naylor added the funding for these five proposals paves the way for future collaborations, including potentially large-scale joint activities that flow out of the projects.

“I’m very pleased with the results from this initial call for proposals,” Naylor said. “The winning proposals bring together top scientists and researchers from São Paulo, Western and the University of Toronto to work together on a diverse range of pressing scientific challenges. I am confident they will spark future collaboration and joint research opportunities.”

“FAPESP is happy with this collaboration which fits our strategy for intensifying international connections,” said professor Brito Cruz, FAPESP scientific director. “The selected projects represent world-class research that will have higher impact and faster development because they join efforts by top-level researchers at Toronto, Western and in the State of São Paulo, Brazil.”

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