How to approve international cooperation projects? Let’s learn from the two successful cases from the 2020 Vinnova-Embrapii call

Cooperating with other countries is not always easy, especially when language and distance are important limiting factors. However, it is always good to show success cases to prove that yes, cooperation exists and is possible. We talked with the...

Cooperating with other countries is not always easy, especially when language and distance are important limiting factors. However, it is always good to show success cases to prove that yes, cooperation exists and is possible. We talked with the Swedish and Brazilian researchers of the approved projects of the last bilateral call Vinnova/Embrapii.

Coincidentally, the Swedish researchers had already had contact with Brazil on other occasions. “The fact of knowing Brazil previously helped the approach, since colleagues introduced me to future partners and so teams were being built” summarized Saeed Chelgani of Luleå tekniska universitet (LTU). Ewellyn Capanema from Rise had an ongoing project with Brazil and Senai and Embrapii institute became a natural partner.

From the Brazilian side, Victoria Santos of Senai CETIQT explains that this call was particularly “easy” because the Swedish partner, Rise, was already known for a long time since this was the third project carried out together. The first project was the most complicated, but it all started with a visit from a Rise delegation during the Innovation Weeks held by the Swedish Embassy. The interesting factor this time was that two Senai-Embrapii institutions became partners and entered a project together.  

Marathon or sprint?

How long did it take to find all the partners and write the project? In Luleå’s project everything was relatively fast because they already had a project in common and there was already the willingness to develop a new project. In total it took them three months to write the project.

In the second case it was a bit more time consuming because it took them two months to set a team in Sweden (Industrial and research institute), after that they had discussions with possible industrial partners in Brazil and this took about two months. The tuning of the project and writing took another month. Total of about five months for the whole process.

Preparation of the draft

After the publication of the call, LTU gathered information from all partners during online meetings and phone discussions. Finally, they wrote the first draft and each partner added their own inputs and modified the proposal.

For the other project, Rise prepared the backbone and assigned specific parts for different partners or experts to fill out. “Many meetings happened to discuss tasks, costs and edit the text” explained Ewellyn Capanema.

Important tips:

  • Participate in events like Innovation Weeks www.inovacaosueciabrasil.com.br;    
  • Find institutions with the same potential in both countries;
  • Schedule meetings frequently;
  • Patience and willingness to understand others
  • Always record conversations
  • Use online platforms for communication and information sharing (Project place for example)
  • Have the project ready 30 days before the deadline to have time to refine and adjust.

Challenges:

  • Different submission rules depending on the institution;
  • Finding industrial partners;
  • Time Zone;
  • Coordination

International Innovation Initiative from Vinnova

To start the year properly we could not miss the Vinnova´s Sweden Brazil Innovation Initiative event. The first Digital information meeting of 2021 was under the responsibility of Regina Summer and was divided in two parts.

In a first moment, participants were updated on the cooperation situation, possibilities of financing and networking opportunities in 2021. The presentations were held by OSI Brasilia, with Jacob Paulsen followed by Business Sweden at Brazil with Andreas Rentner, PRV and INPI (Brazilian Institute of Industrial Proprieties), Naturvårdsverket with Elisabet Kock, RISE with Michael Salter, Swedish Mining Innovation (SIP), Bioinnovation (SIP), among others.

In a second moment, subgroups were formed to discuss the action plans in the areas: smart cities, health, mining or bioeconomy.

But the most important is that new calls are expected in 2021 so stay tuned for fresh news soon! Follow us on www.sbii.org

Ana Carolina Bussacos & Jacob Paulsen