Flying higher

Boletim CISB

The exchange of academic knowledge between Brazil and Sweden gained a new and important chapter. Last May, the Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC) and Linköping University (LiU) signed yet another partnership marked by the profound exchange of technologies, experiences, and practices with the promise of contributing extensively to research, especially in the aviation sector.

In Brazil, the project also involved the CERTI Foundation (Foundation for research, development, and technology services), FAPESC, and Embraer. On the Swedish side, the partners are Saab, the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), and Mälardalen University. The estimated duration of this partnership is one year and six months.

One of the advantages of this enterprise is the possibility of saving time and resources with testing. The researchers of both universities can benefit from the best in each country to carry out their experiments. "Sweden has internationally renowned laboratories with highly specific equipment and techniques. This infrastructure is very expensive and there is no point trying to replicate it in Brazil," says Amir de Oliveira, assistant professor of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the UFSC.

Background

The relationships are long-standing. The first agreement between the two universities was signed in 2012. The universities strengthened the bond after 2013 when the Brazilian government decided to acquire 36 Gripen fighter planes manufactured by Saab. It was at this time that professor Petter Krus, of LiU, and his team started to visit Brazil and establish a fruitful network of contacts that has since produced constant developments.

"In general, I believe that we in Sweden have a broader network than Brazilian researchers,” said Kruss, before mentioning the geographical distance of Brazil from the great world powers as one of the reasons for this phenomenon. The professor is an advocate of scientific collaboration and believes that the participation of several people in the construction of knowledge is crucial to enhance the quality of research.

The relationship between the institutions is long-standing and dates back to the inauguration of CISB itself, in May 2011. Alessandra Holmo, managing director of CISB, says that the foundation, "allowed the creation of a solid network of researchers between actors of Brazil and Sweden". Sérgio Gargioni, president of FAPESC, adds that the new partnership intensified after encounters between researchers of both countries when the Swedes came to Brazil in May 2016 to attend the CAPES seminar.  Finally, in February this year, a mission of CONFAP, then headed by Gargioni, visited Sweden to participate in an event with multiple research funding institutions, including Vinnova. On that occasion, the delegation visited LiU. "From then on, we were more eager to advance this cooperation,” he says.

Exchange of knowledge

For professor Oliveira, Brazilian schools still have a lot to learn from the Swedish education institutions. "What I appreciate most in the Swedish way of working is the objectivity in the triple helix relationship (university, industry, government). They have a very well-structured way of taking science to the final application," he says. He also believes that the ability of Brazilian researchers to overcome problems and "produce even in adverse conditions," can be an interesting lesson for the Swedes.

Petter Krus stresses that the exchange is immensely beneficial for both sides. "When you know another country and its people, it's very stimulating. It generates more ideas and creates the motivation to work harder," he says. "In addition, working in other environments encourages people to leave their comfort zone and act in new areas," he adds.

Sérgio Gargioni, of FAPESC, highlights the technological structure of FAPESC, Santa Catarina, and mentions the high levels of knowledge, especially in the fields of mechanical engineering, electronics and controls, as well as pneumatic and digital systems. "This technological collaboration already exists within the Gripen project and we have a lot more to offer," he adds. He believes the partnership will contribute to the experience of universities with companies, and enable UFSC to offer important solutions in the field of aeronautics.