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The « Pontificia Universidade Católica » of Rio Grande do Sul



PUCRS connects with the universities of Europe

30/05/2012: Brazil

Knowledge of international models of innovation, research and health, the approach to and intensification of international co-operation, these are some of the things which the « Pontifícia Universidade Católica » of Rio Grande do Sul (PUCRS) has brought back from a work mission in Europe at the beginning of this year. The activities were conducted for 12 days by the Rector, Br Joaquim Clotet. A group of professors and scholars visited universities and research institutes in Germany, Sweden, Finland and England.

In Germany, the group visited the Centre of Excellence in Neuroscience and the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Tübingen, with which PUCRS is in partnership in the fields of research, conservation of nature and academic formation. Although existing relations are important, PUCRS is interested in further reinforcing co-operation and the exchange of knowledge.

At Stockholm, Sweden, the group visited two institutions with notable international rankings: the University of Uppsala and the et Karolinska  Institute, to talk about international co-operation and collaboration in the research field. In this matter, the principal point was spatial physiology and the model of institutional innovation and development from the point of view of organisation, international reference in the subject. At Uppsala, the group visited the Angström laboratory which possesses the largest sterilised room (space with special conditions of protection against agents of contamination) on the European continent, as well as the faculties of the sciences, technology and evolutionary biology. The participants discussed aspects relative to the structure of the university, the collection of funds, the Programme « Science without frontiers » and study and teaching in the field of Peace.

The team also went to Vinnova, an agency of innovation of the Swedish government, responsible for the  formulation of policies in the field of innovation and for scientific and technological parks. There was a presentation of the Swedish model of economic innovation and development and a discussion on the  actions issuing from the recent meetings of « Innovation Lab », an international event where guidelines of innovation for the public and private sectors are discussed. The activity has taken place in Sweden and in Brasil, at the headquarters of PUCRS, in November 2011.

The Finnish universities of Helsinki and Aalto were also on the mission’s itinerary. Apart from visits to the research laboratories and interdisciplinary teaching of Aalto, a new organizational model for the Finnish universities was presented, with the latter being administered by a private foundation but fully financed by public funds. During these meetings, the possibility was seen of co-operation in the fields of study in  Communication and Architecture, as well as the transfer of students at the level of licentiate and third  cycle. At the university of Tampere, the administrators of PUCRS were received by the vice-rector of internationalisation and 'chair' of Unesco in the field of global e-learning, Tapio Varis.

The delegation also had the possibility of becoming acquainted with the new structures of organisation of the University of Helsinki, carried out after the 2010 university reform in Finland, and the organisation of the institution’s students. There were also visits to the Library and the city campuses, the accent being especially on the fields of the environment and biology.

In England, the group was received by the rector of King´s College, London, Rick Trainor, with a view to renewing the agreement with PUCRS providing for promotion of common activities in the fields of research and student and teacher exchanges. One of the most active collaborations between the institutions is in the field of Medicine and Aerospatial  Physiology. Students and professors of the two universities do research and hold virtual conferences, stimulating  the interaction of the groups. Numerous publications appearing in scientific reviews of international status, as well as presentations at congresses, have come from these works. And finally, in the department of Women's Health  of the  St Thomas Hospital, the two parties talked about scientific and academic collaboration, in view of joint PhDs (collaboration between two or more institutions in a common study programme for the obtaining of a diploma) and third cycle diplomas, research and student and teacher exchanges.

The PUCRS delegation was composed of Jorge Audy, Vice-Rector of Research and Third Cycle, Draiton Gonzaga de Souza, director of the Faculty of Philosophy and Human Sciences, Betina Blochtein, director of the Institute of the Environment and Natural Resources, and by Professors Ricardo Papaléo (Faculty of Physics), Thais Russomano (Medecine) and Hermílio Pereira dos Santos (FFCH).

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