BRICS lay out science, tech priorities

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The science and technology ministers of the BRICS countries - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - want to deepen the joint development of tech and innovation solutions, particularly in the fields of cloud computing, renewable energies and preventive health care.

That's according to the Brazilian science, tech, innovation and communications ministry (MCTIC).

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The ministry's technologic development and innovation secretary, Álvaro Prata, represented the country at the 4th BRICS Science, Technology and Innovation Ministerial Meeting, which was held this week in Jaipur, India. India chairs the BRICS since February.

During India's chairmanship of the group, there has been joint knowledge creation in the areas of photonics, nanotechnology, biotechnology, energy, geospatial technology; natural disasters prevention; among others, the country's press information bureau reported.

According to the bureau, all member countries "resolved to intensify, diversify and institutionalize science, tech and innovation cooperation through the BRICS research & innovation initiative."

But India is also mulling to step up multilateral cooperation beyond purely academic goals and into more concrete actions. The idea is to move into things like product-making, rather than just public calls for research projects.

Prata, for his part, suggested that Brazil has had a minor participation in the BRICS science and tech talks and that it should, instead, play "a leading role."

Under the BRICS' ministerial design by thematic areas, Brazil is responsible for natural disasters prevention and mitigation; and polar and oceanic technologies.

The communications ministers of the five countries agreed in June last year to set a "permanent forum" for dialogue with regular meetings.


The science and tech ministerial meeting is also a precursor of the 8th BRICS summit that India is hosting in Goa on October 15-16. At the summit, Brazilian President Michel Temer will also hold bilateral talks with Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi.

Brazil is India's main trade partner in Latin America. In 2015, bilateral trade was US$7.9bn, down from a record volume of US$11.4bn in 2014.