Performing Research and Publishing Findings: A Brazilian Perspective

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Brazil is a country with significant potential for research in several areas, and it is a recognized leader in generating scientific knowledge in Latin America. Brazil has greatly enriched its scientific community over the past 20 years and enhanced its profile in technological innovation. We have steadily increased the number of graduates with master's and doctoral degrees, international exchanges and partnerships, and improved public (state and federal) universities.1
Brazil is the only country in South America to spend more than 1% of its gross domestic product (GDP) on research development and innovation (RDI)2; we currently invest an average of 1.6% of annual GDP in research-related programs.1 The Brazilian investment in RDI represented 1.16% of GDP in 2010,2 2.1% of GDP in 2011, and 1.3% of GPD in 2016. Brazil's expenditures based on the GDP place us in the 30th position worldwide,3 and our gross spending rank us in the 100th position worldwide.4 To provide a fuller perspective, Brazil spent about R $25.6 billion (US $11.6 billion) on the Soccer World Cup event that occurred in 2016, whereas the annual investment in RDI was approximately R $59.4 billion (US $27 billion), including public and private investments.2
When comparing investment to GDP ratios for investment on research and development (R&D) globally, Brazil spends more than Mexico, Argentina, Chile, South Africa, and Russia. In contrast, we spend considerably less than China and South Korea. Our investment in R&D to GDP ratio is similar to those of member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD, an international cooperative comprising 35 countries mainly located in North America, Europe, Australia, and Japan) at 0.61% versus 0.69%. Nations in North America, Asia, and Europe account for 90% of RDI spending, most of which is provided by the private sector.5 Research funding in Brazil primarily focuses on creation and diffusion of innovations and solutions to improve competitiveness of Brazilian companies and better integrate our economy into the international market. Scholarships for training and qualification, and fellowships for postdoctoral fellows, visiting scholars, and other researchers, assist us in reaching this goal.6,7
In Brazil, more than 80% of scholarships are awarded to research support and the remaining 20% provide support for presenting findings at scientific congresses and publishing articles in the English language. In 2016, more than 100,000 graduate scholarships were awarded; 61.8% of them were federally funded. Researchers from the Southern and Southeastern states of Brazil received most of these scholarships, with 6 of 7 states receiving up to 25,000 scholarships per state.8 In contrast, researchers from 7 North and Northeast states received approximately 750 such scholarships.8 According to a recent survey, women have received more scholarships than men, especially for graduate and postdoctoral studies,6 which may favor the development of nursing research and practice in Brazil. Evidence suggests that Brazil has made considerable strides in achieving gender equality over the past 20 years.9
Currently, we have 10,852 graduate programs and 1240 (11.4%) are graded as excellent according to the Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES). I am proud to report that Brazil has 187 graduate programs in nursing, of which 67 (35.8%), 39 (20.9%), 46 (24.6%), and 35 (18.7%) are master's degrees, doctoral degrees, professional master's degrees, and master's/doctoral integrated programs, respectively; 2 (1%) received a maximum CAPES grade of 7.10
In the last decade, the number of researchers in Brazil increased from 77,649 in 2004 to 180,262 in 2014.1 Analysis of the Scopus database found that women in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, France, Denmark, Brazil, and European Union comprised more than 40% of researchers.
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