Bolsonaro should sanction ban on cutting innovation funds

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The federal government is expected to sign a law this week, approved by the National Congress in December, which is considered essential to guarantee resources necessary for innovation and scientific and technological development in Brazil. Authored by Senator Izalci Lucas (PSDB-DF), the legislation prohibits the retention of funds destined to the National Fund for Scientific and Technological Development (FNDCT).

Created in 1969, the FNDCT raises funds from the industry and, managed by the public agency Finep, distributes this money to Brazilian research institutes and companies, mainly those of small and medium size, for the maintenance of research and development programs.

Senator Izalci Lucas’ proposal, now converted into law, prevents the restriction of resources allocated to science and technology. To this end, it provides for the FNDCT to be modified, even allowing it to obtain financial remuneration, and prohibiting the imposition of limits on the execution of its budgetary programming.

FNDCT fundraising and investments

In order to have an idea of ​​what FNDCT collects, Exame magazine estimates that these values ​​reached R $ 62.2 billion between 1999 and 2019. However, a large part of the funds was blocked by the Union to make cash in times of public accounts , as is currently the case. According to the National Confederation of Industry (CNI), in the last ten years alone, approximately R $ 25 billion has been retained.

Among the projects currently financed by the FNDCT is Sirius, a particle accelerator that is the only one in the world to analyze the structure and functioning of micro and nanoparticles, atoms, molecules and viruses. The installation is being developed in a rural area of ​​Campinas by Embraer and the Instituto Tecnológico de Aeronáutica, ITA.

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Even before the start of the pandemic, Brazil was already spending little on technological innovation compared to the international average. Of the nearly R $ 7 billion collected by the FNCT in 2020, only 13% are available for use, which represents a retention of R $ 4.6 billion in the federal government coffers.

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