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The leadership of public R&D institutions and the difficulties of the private sector at the Brazilian innovation system.

In June 2020, the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) was praised by the American company Clarivate Analytics for being the Brazilian university with the highest number of patents filed between 2010 and 2019 at the Brazilian Patent and Trademark Office (BPTO). Said Institution was also mentioned as leader in the ranking of the best patent applicants in Brazil between 2014 and 2019, wherein the University of Campinas (Unicamp), University of São Paulo (USP), Federal University of Paraíba (UFPB), Petrobras and Federal University of Campina Grande (UFCG) were highlighted as well.

Upon receiving the award, UFMG’s President Mrs. Sandra Regina Almeida pointed out the capability of UFMG for producing original and innovative knowledge, but she emphasized that a patent is not a guarantee of trading the corresponding product. The University now intends that the technology reaches the market, through technology transfer and licensing agreements.

Whilst the leadership of Brazilian public institutions and the excellence of their researchers are recognized in the aforesaid rankings, the weak contribution of private companies is also notorious: considering the same data from 2014 to 2019, the private sector only appeared after the 7th place. The Brazilian National Confederation of Industry’s President Mr. Robson de Andrade stated, in a report drafted by World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), that investors have difficulties to identify good innovation projects. Moreover, there are few venture capital funds in Brazil; and high risks concerning innovation projects are added to the country social and economic uncertainties, which inhibit the bank system to invest in said projects. In this case, he considers that a better government effort to provide credit to companies is needed, as well as bigger investments to buy technologies capable of stimulating technological development.

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