São Paulo – Universities, government institutions that promote research, employees and the scientific community are protesting Governor Romeo Zema’s (Novo) intervention in the Minas Gerais Research Support Foundation (Fapemig). By decree issued on October 26, Zima withdraws the independence of the body that promotes scientific research, which is one of the most important bodies in the country.
Under the decree, the Council is chaired by an employee of the Economic Development Secretariat (Headquarters), who combines his duties in the Secretariat itself with those of the Chairman of the Board of Trustees. The President and Director of Science, Technology and Innovation at Fapemig are now appointed directly by the Governor, and no longer serve a fixed term. The Board of Trustees will also lose its original function of discussing the agency’s manual, work plan, annual budget, and any changes thereto.
In a joint memorandum, Brazilian Society for the Advancement of Science (SBPC) and Brazilian Academy of Sciences (ABC) It states that “the interference of the State Government of Minas Gerais in the autonomy of Fabimage is serious, which has ceased to be a state body and has become a governmental body, without any autonomy, with the ability of the governor to appoint and dismiss its directors, who will no longer have a fixed term.”
Remember, the most successful research support institutions in Brazil are those that meet two requirements:
- empowered leaders, ensuring that decisions and concessions are made on the basis of merit rather than political expediency;
- Guaranteeing resources at a fixed percentage of revenues or from the state budget.
Zima decree illegal, SBPC and ABC warn
Entities are still warning of the illegality of Romeo Zema’s decree. A previous government decree, No. 48333, dated December 2021, stipulates that any reform of the statute requires “a demonstration by all holders of bodies and entities with jurisdictions related to the subject matter of the proposed law, with considerations of the merit, suitability and opportunity” of the proposal.
“Since no such consultations have taken place, the recently issued decree is illegal and should be repealed. But what is more serious is that the changes introduced now contradict the good management of the science, technology and innovation system, which requires medium- and long-term programs and projects, which do not depend on momentary conditions.” and occasional governments. “It is what protects knowledge from surprises and petty interests, and protects years of important efforts and investments,” say the main Brazilian scientific bodies.
The Forum of Public Higher Education Institutions of Minas Gerais (FORIPS) also criticized the Zima Decree, the most important research funding agency in the state, for opening the way to partisan political activities, and ignoring the necessary participation of those who, in fact, do science. In the country,” says an excerpt from the entity’s memorandum.
Entities refer to rules that the government does not adhere to
Respecting the tripartite list of the President and Director of Science, Technology and Innovation, maintaining the current rules for determining the Chairman of the Board of Trustees and the current Statutes guarantee the necessary conditions for the science policy of the State of Minas Gerais. Its support institution, independently, as a state project in favor of a policy of agitation
Scientific research and innovation independent of political constraints and party arrangements.”
Hey National Council of Research Support Institutions (Confap) stated that, with this action, the Minas Gerais state government “goes against good management practices and what the actors of the National Science, Technology and Innovation System and Confap advocate, since the democratic mandate, through the recommendation of peers, without a doubt, generates stability and more Of security in the continuous implementation of public science, technology and innovation policies.
In 2022, Fapemig’s budget was more than R$455 millionWhich has been invested in the field of Science, Technology and Innovation (ST&I) in the state. This made it possible to launch 17 calls for funding opportunities in various fields, in addition to reactivating partnerships and programs such as scientific vanguard grants for young people.
Written by: Seda de Oliveira – Edited by: Helder Lima
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