Reopening our consulate in Belo Horizonte the 4th of March, our Office of Science and Innovation visited the state of In Minas Gerais (MG), a state known for its production of steel and iron, niobium reserves, as a global coffee producer, its global R&D Centers (Google for example) and being the first milk producer in Brazil among other important economic activities. In this post we will report on three interesting visits; the first Mining Hub of the world, Biominas (health area) and the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG).
During our visit to Minas Gerais we met the Vice Governor, Paulo Brant, who stressed the importance of Science and Innovation for the positive economic development of State. “Minas host the second largest startup center in the country as well as the first public accelerator in Brazil. Besides this, MG also has 12 Federal Universities, including the best Federal University of Brazil (Federal University of Minas Gerais – UFMG), the first mining hub of the world and a great Artificial Intelligence environment” explained Brant.
The Mining Hub was created with the purpose of being a direct channel for open innovation, industry trends and the relationship between mining companies, suppliers and technology-based initiatives. The environment aims to generate opportunities and connections for different actors in the mining chain, such as the mining companies themselves, as well as suppliers, startups, researchers and investors.
Mining companies launch challenges, within the six themes of the program, to prospect solutions in the ecosystem:
(1) Social Development
(2) Operational efficiency
(3) Alternative Energy Sources
(4) Water Management
(5) Waste and Waste Management
With online screenings and interviews, specialists from the companies responsible for the challenges select the most attractive projects to participate in the program. For one month, the selected projects work together with the Mining Hub team and the sponsor company to build a plan to implement the proof of concept (POC) of the solution. This phase is called Bootcamp. If the implementation plan is approved at the Bootcamp, the development of the project begins in partnership with the sponsor company. After five months, the results are calculated and shared with the other Mining Hub actors.
Biominas Brasil was founded in 1990 through the initiative of a group of companies, with the intention to develop the life sciences sector in the state of Minas Gerais. Originally with this purpose, working to stimulate the creation of new companies and supporting the existing ones, the institution expanded its field of expertise and geographic scope along the years. Currently, Biominas Brasil has a large portfolio of services and clients scattered around the country and abroad.
Biominas is also responsible for the BIO Latin America 2020 conference that will take place on September 1-2 in São Paulo. The event brings together high-level executives, industry leaders, policy makers, entrepreneurs, academics and investors to debate trends and latest challenges, involve innovative companies, conduct business meetings and discover new opportunities. The conference features also private, pre-arranged meetings between senior-level executives.
Federal University of Minas Gerais – UFMG
The Federal University of Minas Gerais is considered the best federal university in Brazil (some state-level university like university of Sao Paulo-USP have, however a higher ranking). UFMG has 77 undergraduate courses, 80 graduate programs, 600 laboratories, two university hospitals and sports centers. To increase international participation, the university has started offering more than 50 undergraduate courses in English and Spanish since 2018.
Also, the Summer School of Brazilian Studies was created last year for foreigners to study in Brazil. It is a two-week course (all in English) running in July with 60 hours of academic studies, including two field trips and an art festival. The contents are multidisciplinary, such as Brazilian history, geography, culture, law, society, politics, economy, foreign policy, cinema, art and of course the Portuguese language
Finally, UFMG has several partnerships with Swedish Universities like universities of Linköping, Jönköping, Umeå, Gothenburg and Uppsala and of course also KTH, the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. The researched themes are broad as: new materials and nanotechnology, chronic disease, sustainable cities and territories and human rights.
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Ana Carolina Bussacos & Jacob Paulsen