Embrapii: a new way to innovate in Brazil

Enhancing the industrial competitiveness is one of the great Brazilian challenges today. To do this, innovation is a crucial factor and Embrapii (Brazilian Association for Research and Industrial Innovation) an important tool for this. Embrapii was created in 2013 as a Social Organization to permit the cooperation between research institutions (private or public) and industry.

They have signed a Management Contract with the Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovation and Communications (MCTIC) and the Ministry of Education (MEC). The two ministries share the responsibility of the financing.

The results have not been lacking; Until June 2019, 742 projects were supported for 529 companies and 159 intellectual property rights have been requested for.

Agility, flexibility and reduced risk

Embrapii way of work is very simple. The agency does not have its own research institute. It accredits existing units as Embrapii Units. Three criteria are used to select the best research units in Brazil; technical capacity, modern infrastructure and a known history of previous cooperation with the industry. Today, Embrapii has 42 accredited units in a large number of areas (listed below). After accreditation the unit receives funding from Embrapii, however, this resource can only be spent in projects with participation of the industry in the field of innovation. Thus, companies needing technological solutions with an emphasis on innovation can negotiate directly with the Embrapii units of their interest. There is no need for calls or other middle hands which is one of the strengths with the Embrapii-model.

The financing model is also beneficial for the industry; The cost of the project is normally covered with 1/3 by Embrapii and another 1/3 from the Research Institute (accredited as an Embrapii unit- and in-kind via infrastructure and personnel) leaving 1/3 to be paid by the company (which sometime can be more if found appropriate). This is a well-working model, where the risk for the industry, involved with innovation projects, is shared with the public sector.

Embrapii is also for SMEs

An agreement between Embrapii and Sebrae (Brazilian Micro and Small Enterprises’ Support Service) is also established to help small and micro entrepreneurs (SMEs) and Individual micro entrepreneurs (MEI) as they can also count on not-refundable resources for the development of industrial innovation projects. When contracting a project with the Embrapii Unit, the MEI or SME have the possibility to apply for financial support from Sebrae to complement the amount to be invested.

There are two modalities of supported projects:

  • Technological Development with the partnership of a single microenterprise, small business, individual micro entrepreneur or startups and an Embrapa Unit. The financial contribution from Sebrae can be up to 70% of the company’s counterpart in the project and limited to the amount of BRL 210,000 (USD 55.000)
  • Technological chaining with individual micro entrepreneurs, startups, micro and small companies and medium or large enterprises in the production chain. The financial contribution from Sebrae, per contracted project, can amount up to  80%  of the MEI/SME counterpart, limited to the amount of BRL 300,000 (USD 80.000) .The counterpart from the MEI/SME, can however, not be less than 10% of the total amount of the project.

Embrapii’s Units

The Units are divided in five areas all over Brazil. Every year more Units are accredited. 

  • Technological Solutions in Biotechnology:
    • Biopharmaceuticals and Drugs (CQMED/Unicamp Campinas – SP);
    • Agricultural pest biocontrollers (ESALQ/USP Piracicaba – SP);
    • Biophotonics and Instrumentation (IFSC/USP São Carlos – SP);
    • Biochemistry of Renewables (Embrapa Agroenergia Brasília – DF);
    • Environmental Biotechnologies: Bioremediation, Biomonitoring and Waste Recovery (REMA/UFSC Florianópolis – SC);
    • Development and Scheduling of Biotechnological Processes (IPT Bio São Paulo – SP);
    • Biomass Processing (CNPEM Campinas – SP).
  • Technological Solutions in Chemistry and Material:
    • Eco-efficient Construction Materials (POLI/USP São Paulo – SP);
    • Metallurgy and Materials (IFES Vitória – ES);
    • Polymers (Senai Polímeros São Leopoldo – RS);
    • Green Chemistry for Industrial Waste Recovery (TecnoGreen/Poli – USP São Paulo – SP);
    • High Performance Materials Technologies (IPT Mat São Paulo – SP);
    • Industrial Chemical Technology (INT Rio de Janeiro – RJ).
  • Technological Solutions in mechanics and manufacture:
    • Laser Manufacture (SENAI Joinville – SC);
    • Advanced Manufacturing (INDT Manaus – AM);
    • Integrated Manufacturing (Senai Cimatec Salvador – BA);
    • Refrigeration Technology (Polo/UFSC Florianópolis – SC);
    • Metal-Mechanical Technologies (FEMEC/UFU Uberlândia – MG)
  • Technological Solutions in applied technology:
    • Subsea Engineering (COPPE/UFRJ Rio de Janeiro – RJ);
    • Medical Equipment (IFBA Salvador – BA);
    • Monitoring and Instrumentation for the Environment (IF Fluminense Campos dos Goytacazes – RJ);
    • Pipeline Technology (LAMEF/ UFRGS Porto Alegre – RS);
  • Technological Solutions in Information and Communication Technology (ICT):
    • Digital Communications and Radio Frequency (INATEL Santa Rita do Sapucaí – MG);
    • Optical Communications (CPqD Campinas – SP);
    • Internet and Mobile Computing Equipment (Eldorado Campinas – SP);
    • Embedded Electronics (LACTEC Curitiba – PR);
    • Connected Products (CESAR Recife – PE);
    • Intelligent Automotive Systems (IFMG Formiga – MG);
    • Software for Cyber-Physical Systems (DCC/ UFMG Belo Horizonte – MG);
    • Embedded Systems and Digital Mobility (IFCE Fortaleza – CE);
    • Intelligent Systems (CERTI Florianópolis – SC);
    • Software and Automation (CEEI/ UFCG Campina Grande – PB);
    • Computational Engineering Solutions (TECGRAF PUC RJ Rio de Janeiro – RJ)

Read more about Embrapii here.