RSC says 21st Century problems need world collaboration

19 June 2012

Closer collaboration is the ultimate way for scientists to combat the challenges of the 21st century, Dr Robert Parker will say today at the official opening of the Royal Society of Chemistry's Brazil office.

The RSC Chief Executive will tell an audience at the UK General Consulate in São Paulo that only by reacting to rapid change driven by globalisation can questions over climate change, securing sustainable energy supplies and human health be dealt with sooner.

Dr Parker will say in his speech: "Opening the RSC Brazil office reflects our ongoing commitment to bring together scientists from all corners of the world to pool our knowledge and share our research for the benefit of society.

"We are therefore reacting to the rapid change across science and industry that is being driven by globalisation. Only through stronger international collaboration will the challenges society faces in the 21st century become easier to solve."

RSC President Professor David Phillips signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the Sociedade Brazileira de Quimica (SBQ) and the Royal Society of Chemistry in Brazil two weeks ago.

Dr Parker will say today: "That agreement represented the next step in establishing an ever closer relationship between our societies that began in 2007 when the RSC and SBQ signed the International Cooperation Agreement.

"Since then our joint activities have grown, and there is lots more we want to do together."

With a base in São Paulo, the RSC intends to expand its programme of scientific meetings and events, foster research collaborations by developing network opportunities for researchers, engage with Brazilian chemists from academia and industry, and policymakers, to provide a wider range of job opportunities and training for future chemists, among other activities.

Professor Sir John Beddington, the UK Government Chief Scientific Adviser, said: "International collaboration is fundamental to excellent science. The opening of the RSC office in São Paulo marks an important step in the forging of a closer research relationship with Brazil, one of the world's most rapidly growing science nations."

Brazil has seen its share of the world's scientific papers rise from 1.7% to 2.7% between 2002 and 2008 and now produces 55% of the journal papers written in Latin America

Dr Parker said he was delighted at the rapid growth of science in Brazil over the last decade, but sad to hear the Brazilian government announced a significant cut of 22% in their science budget for 2012.

"Without sufficient government support, it will be more difficult to combat issues concerning energy, climate change, biodiversity and food - areas where Brazil is a world leader.

"Yet despite these tough times, São Paulo remains an inspiration for the rest of Latin America when it comes to scientific endeavour. There are many reasons to smile at the development of science in Brazil, but there are also many challenges ahead."

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