| Simon Schwartzman
- Senior Researcher
- Institute for Studies on Labor and Society
Dr. Schwartzman is Brazilian, and works at the Instituto de Estudos do Trabalho e Sociedade in Rio de Janeiro. In 1985, he was the rapporteur for the National Comission for the Reform of Higher Education in Brazil; in 1993-4, he coordinated the preparation of Science and technology in Brazil: A new policy for a global world (Rio de Janeiro, Fundação Getúlio Vargas, 1994), a policy study requested by the Ministry of Science and Technology. He was a professor sociology and political science at the Federal University of Minas Gerais, Instituto Universitário de Pesquisas do Rio de Janero (IUPERJ), Fundação Getúlio Vargas and the University of São Paulo. From May 1994 to December 1998, he was President of Brazil’s Institute of Geography and Statistics (Fundação IBGE). In 2004 he was the Robert F. Kennedy Visiting Professor of Latin American Studies at Harvard Univesity, assigned to the Department of Sociology. He is a member of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences.
International cooperation of universities, and the academic and the applied research agendas
Higher education institutions in most countries are responding to the new challenges of the knowledge society by forging stronger links between their research and education programs and the needs of society. They have to move away from more traditional academic practices, and deal with new and complex issues of applied research, intellectual property, new sources of financing, and a much broader and diversified set of external stakeholders.
The question I would like to examine in this project is to what extent these transformations, which are presumably taking place in the American universities, appear in the current cooperation projects between a major US institution and research teams or institutions in Latin America. In other words, is international cooperation helping to make scientific research more relevant for Latin American societies, or is it reinforcing the traditional patterns of academic isolation?
I intend to focus my attention in the current experiences of international cooperation between one major institution in the United States, Columbia University, and its partners in Latin America, with special emphasis on Brazil. I expect to identify and select a number of projects Columbia has or has had recently with universities in Latin America, and, through interviews with the persons responsible for the projects, to ascertain if and how they had to deal with the issues of academic and applied research, the selection of research topics, and related questions of assessment standards, intellectual property, institutional support, and others. I would like to see also to what extent the new information and communication technologies are changing the shape of these cooperation projects, making them more flexible and more horizontal in the ways communications and the exchange of knowledge and information takes place. Before and after my period in the US, I intend to work, first, in the identification of specific projects and then conduct interviews and data gathering in Brazil.
The fact that am narrowing my attention not only to a region, but also to a specific institution, does not mean that I will be just doing an isolated case study. On the contrary, I firmly belief that the subject of this project is relevant for higher education and research in all places, and that this in-depth approach could bring new and more complex perspectives to a subject which is often subject to too broaden and sweeping generalizations