Nanotechnology research networks in Brazil
Structure, evolution, and policy concerns1
1. Introduction There is a growing body of literature related to scientific collaborations and, since more recently, focused on the network analysis of scientific co-authorships. In particular, the analysis of social networks of scientists has gained lots of attention and offered important insights to understand scientific collaborations (Newman, 2001a, 2001b). Meanwhile, the study of inter-institutional and inter-country levels of collaboration has remained relatively less explored, focusing on aspects like the nature of collaborations (Katz & Martin, 1997), the rationale for research collaboration (Hagedoorn et al., 2000; Heinze & Kuhlmann, 2008) , the intra-institutional organization of collaboration (Adams et al., 2005), the interinstitutional organization of collaborations (Corley et al., 2006; Schummer, 2004), and, at the intercountry level, the structure of international collaborations (Gomez et al., 1999). In general, the network analysis approach has been less prevalent in the analysis of inter-institutional and inter-country scientific collaborations than in the analysis of scientists’ networks. When exploring the literature of scientific collaborations through the lenses of policy implications for developing countries, our knowledge lessens to some extent. In general, there is an agreement regarding the importance of international scientific collaborations for those countries (Corder et al., 2002; Gomez et al., 1999) which, typically, have less developed S&T systems and more priorities related to social or economic development, making international collaboration an opportunity to, essentially, source knowledge and resources. However, there are some new exceptions. Brazil, like a few other transition economies, has followed an impressive development path in recent years. Between 2000 and 2007, this South American giant has grown 43 percent in terms of GDP per capita and 51 percent in terms of total GDP to reach $1,800 billion.2 Its total S&T expenditure is half-and-half split between industry and public funding and still totaling only about 1 percent of the GDP, but making this country the leader in science and technology in Latin America and the 15th largest producer of scientific publications in the world. Remarkably, the rise in research output has outpaced the patenting activity, what suggests weaknesses in the commercialization of knowledge (Bound, 2008; Hill, 2007).
Work in progress, presented at the Workshop on Original Policy Research (WOPR), School of Public Policy, Georgia Institute of Technology. 2 PPP values according to World Bank country data.
In terms of scientific research output, Brazil has increased its visibility in global networks and productivity (Meneghini, 1996; Packer & Meneghini, 2006). Moreover, international collaboration increased the impact of Brazilian publications (Leta & Chaimovich, 2002; Meneghini, 1996) and has been considered, with some caveats, as instrument of economic policy and geopolitics (da Silva, 2007). Specifically in terms of nanotechnology, increasing research has raised some questions about the magnitude and distribution of the potential benefits of this new technology (Invernizzi, 2007) and about the potential strategies that this country may pursue based on scientific collaborations (Kay & Shapira, 2008). In Latin America, Brazil has been a leader in nanotechnology research and the first country to implement public programs to support its development. Interestingly, the federal government nanotechnology policy has displayed a network approach since its origin, to promote research, integrate efforts, and increase cooperation within the country and internationally. That inspires the analysis pursued here and grows the expectations to contribute the literature concerned with inter-institutional research collaborations and their policy implications, based on the analysis of the Brazilian network of nanotechnology research, its recent evolution, and the potential implications for policy-making.
2. Nanotechnology research policy in Brazil According to research publications, nanotechnology research in Brazil began in the early 1990s and started growing significantly towards the end of that decade, without the support of any specific program or policy (Kay & Shapira, 2008). Nanotechnology policy effectively started in 2001, when the federal government decided to articulate a coordinated development of nanotechnology through the implementation of programs that can take advantage of the existing infrastructure within a strategy of long-term development of nanosciences (MCT, 2002). The first step was supporting four proposals of institutional, multidisciplinary networks recommended by CNPq3 aimed at promoting research in specific areas of nanotechnology (Table 1). The main goal of this initiative was to promote the creation and consolidation of integrated cooperative networks of basic and applied research, including the participation of industry (MCT, 2002). That initial step was followed by the creation of four research institutes under a broader program of S&T development (PADCT) and the direct support to government institutions undertaking nanotechnology research through “sectoral funds,” a development tool that has been proven successful in Brazil to promote R&D and university-industry collaboration (Bound, 2008). More recently, the Rede BrasilNano program has supported the creation of ten new research networks, adding in this case a
Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq) is a government agency created in 1951 whose mission is to promote and stimulate the scientific and technological development of the country and contribute to the formulation of national S&T policy.
linking component between the program to develop nanotechnology and broader industry, technology, and trade policies (Invernizzi, 2007; MCT, 2006). These initiatives are combined under the umbrella of the National Program of Nanotechnology which, interestingly, includes goals like reaching one percent of the global markets for materials, products, and processes based on nanotechnology and exports of about $10 billion within 10 years (Goncalves da Silva, 2003). Another interesting and recent program is the joint initiative to create a nanotechnology research center with Argentina (CBANN) in 2005, explicitly following the model of a biotechnology center created in 1987 (Centro Argentino Brasileño de Biotecnologia (CABBIO), 2008) and other antecedents of bilateral cooperation with that country in areas like nuclear energy (de Oliveira, 1998). Among other activities, this center has organized workshops and schools of nanotechnology in both Argentina and Brazil with the participation of scholars from other countries. The most recent nanotechnology research initiative has been the creation of a research network by Petrobras, a very large state-owned oil company (Bound, 2008). An evaluation made by the federal government (Ministry of S&T) revealed that the research networks supported originally by the “Redes Nacionais de Nanotecnologia” program, have involved between 2001 and 2005 about 260 researchers, 90 research institutions (including 13 firms,) more than 990 publications, and 97 nanotechnology patents (MCT, 2006). That evaluation also pointed out the need of intensifying international collaborations since few of them are active, including the bilateral initiative with Argentina and collaborations with France, India, and South Africa, while other collaborations with, for example, the US and Japan, were demanding larger projects. Latest reports estimate about 2,200 authors undertaking nanotechnology research in all the networks (Bound, 2008). Overall, the total investment in different nanotechnology programs reached $100 million for the period 2001-2007 (MCT, 2006).
TABLE 1 Main programs related to nanotechnology in the last 10 years Program Edital CNPq 01/2001 “Redes Nacionais de Nanotecnologia” (2001-2003) Description Support to four nanotechnology projects in the areas of nanobiotechnology and its applications (NANOBIOTEC), nanostructured materials (NANOMAT), semiconductors (NANOSEMIMAT), and molecular nanotechnology and interfaces (RENAMI). Creation of research institutes like: Instituto do Milênio de Materiais Complexos, Instituto de Targets Mapping national competences for nanotechnology. Funding ($ million)a 5.0
Institutos do Milênio do PADCT (20012006)
Creation of nanotechnology research institutions within the “Programa de Apoio ao
Nanociências, Rede de Pesquisa em Sistema em Chip, Microssistemas e Nanoeletrônica, and Instituto Multidisciplinar de Materiais Poliméricos. Sectoral funds (20032006) 2004-2007 Program "Desenvolvimento da Nanociência e da Nanotecnologia" and creation of Rede BrasilNano (20042007) Centro BrasileiroArgentino de Nanotecnologia (CBANN) (2005) Support to strategic national laboratories like LNLS, INMETRO, and EMBRAPA.4 Support to ten nanotechnology projects in diverse nanotechnology areas5 to promote basic research, generation of patents, and new products and processes.
Desenvolvimiento Cientifico e Tecnologico” (PADCT.)
Generation of patents, products, and processes, support to basic research, cooperation between industry and other research institutions, and strengthening of existing infrastructure. Develop joint projects, raise human resources capacity, create interchange grants for researchers, organize activities like forums and conferences, and increase interactions with industry.
Creation of a center for cooperation in nanotechnology research between Brazil and Argentina.
Source: (Almeida, 2005; Bound, 2008; Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq), 2006; Goncalves da Silva, 2003; MCT, 2006). Notes: a. estímate in $ million.
At least formally, the common denominator in Brazil nanotechnology programs has been the cooperative component, aimed at integrating efforts and leveraging existing resources through networks of research institutions, approach that is in line with the trend already observed worldwide in scientific research, which is increasing inter-institutional and international scientific collaborations. Nanotechnology research is uniquely related to that trend, particularly in areas like Physics or Materials Science where expensive equipment and data collection are needed (Meneghini, 1996; Schummer, 2004). A network analysis approach seems adequate and even interesting having data for a 10-year timeframe. This analysis allows testing a hypothesis of increasing inter-institutional cooperation and institutional involvement from different types of institutions in nanotechnology networks during that timeframe, seeking to answer, first of all, the question of how nanotechnology research networks look and evolve in this country and, secondly, what the implications for policy are.
LNLS stands for Associação Brasileira de Tecnologia Luz Síncroton, INMETRO for Instituto Nacional de Metrologia (under the Ministry of Development, Industry, and Trade,) and EMBRAPA for Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária (under the Ministry of Agriculture.) 5 Areas of nanostructured optical materials and nanobiofotonics application; nanobiotechnology; nanotubes properties; development of nanotechnology for the production of cosmetics and dermatologic products; diffusion of the scanning probe microscopy technique; nanostructured materials based on natural polysaccharides; development of nanostructured coatings; development of numeric methods for nanostructures modelling; and, development of biocomposites and biocompatible magnetic fluids.
3. Data and methods The empirical analyses presented in this paper draw on global databases of nanotechnology publications developed at Georgia Institute of Technology, using the definition of nanotechnology and methods described in (Porter et al., 2007). A two-stage modularized Boolean approach to defining nanotechnology combined with expert panel review was used to operationalize a definition of nanotechnology and develop publication and patent datasets for the 1998 to 2007 time period. This approach identified more than 400,000 records in the Web of Science’s Science Citation Index (WOSSCI) in this same timeframe. A subdataset was created for Brazil, comprising records for 6,670 publications where at least one author affiliation is located in that country. Different dimensions of the data are analyzed. For the purpose of the analysis, the set of national and international research institutions and their collaborations (i.e. co-authorships) are considered a research network. There are a few antecedents of analysis of evolution of research networks at the institutional level. Some inspiration for defining the methodology of analysis was found in prior research works applying and suggesting methodologies for network analysis (Iori et al., 2005; Magnien et al., 2005; Newman, 2001a). In this work, an approach based on comparing different measures for each year during the period 1998-2007 is explored. The main advantages of this approach are its simplicity and the possibility of doing a relatively detailed analysis using the available data. The main drawback is that the analyzed network cannot be considered static when looking at specific years due to the very dynamics of the collaborative research activity. For instance, it may be the case that, although some collaborative research takes place during a specific year, its output is only reflected in publications after some time as the process of cooperation and publication evolves. The approach used here cannot distinguish such situations of active collaboration without publications in specific years, for which other complementary methods can be used in future research. As far as the purpose of this work, all conclusions are based on trends emerging along the entire 1998-2007 period considering that caveat. The network analysis approach required creating two main matrices from the nanotechnology research publications dataset for each year: the adjacency matrix and the weighted connectivity matrix. The elements aij of the adjacency matrix indicate whether there is a co-authorship between institutions i and j (or between countries i and j.) The elements wij of the weighted connectivity matrix represent the total number of articles co-authored between institutions i and j (or between countries i and j.) These matrices define non-directed graphs when analyzing this research network, i.e. the links representing coauthorships are bi-directional or aij = aji and wij = wji.
4. Main findings Clearly Brazil is increasing its research output in nanotechnology and involving a higher number of national and international research institutions (Figure 1). During the period 1998-2007 Brazil has had average annual increases of 17 percent in its total research output. The total number of research institutions and authors involved in nanotechnology has also grown steadily since 1998 as well as the total number of links (collaborations) since 2000.
FIGURE 1 Main statistics of the Brazil nanotechnology research network.
1,200 1,000 4,500 4,000 3,000 2,500 2,000 1,500 1,000 500 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 Nodes (All inst.) Nodes (Brazil inst.) Articles Authors 160 47 270 204 68 377 212 75 387 277 92 538 299 100 704 337 115 674 376 115 802 419 145 864 545 152 586 185 3,500
Nodes and Articles
800 600 400 200 0
Links (collaborations) 1,873 1,686 1,601 1,748 1,724 1,740 1,909 1,936 2,213 2,287 746 1,091 1,152 1,582 1,830 1,931 2,343 2,770 3,687 3,823
Furthermore, the increasing number of authors and research institutions per article reveals increasing collaboration within nanotechnology research networks (Figure 2). For instance, while in 1998 about 33 percent of research articles were authored by single institutions, in 2007 only slightly more than 20 percent were the output of single institutions. Meanwhile, in the same period, the percentage of articles co-authored by three different research institutions increased from 16 percent to 27 percent. The increasing number of authors per article also implies increasing collaboration, although this is an increase that may take place within the same research institution. From a network analysis perspective it is interesting to know whether there is an increasingly distributed research activity in nanotechnology. The research output of the top 20 research institutions reveals how they continue concentrating the major part of the total nanotechnology research in terms of publications, characteristic that is not unique to nanotechnology but to all scientific output in Brazil (Bound, 2008; Packer & Meneghini, 2006). As of 2007, the top 5 research institutions were co-authors in -6-
Links and Authors
60 percent of the published articles, while the next 15 research institutions were co-authors in 55 percent of them. On the other hand, research institutions that are not among those top 20 are increasing their participation in the total research output, from about 15 percent in 1998 to almost 50 percent in 2007 (Figure 3).6
FIGURE 2 Different measures of collaboration per article Authors per article
100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% 100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0%
Institutions per article
100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0%
Countries per article
6 or more
5 or more
5 or more
FIGURE 3 Institutional participation in total nanotechnology research output for top Brazil research institutions
80.0% 70.0% 60.0% 50.0% 40.0% 30.0% 20.0% 10.0% 0.0%
FIGURE 4 Participation of different types of research institutions in nanotechnology research in Brazil
100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% 3.0%
Academy and government
2.0% 1.5% 1.0% 0.5% 0.0%
Brazil nanotechnology research is dominated primarily by universities, followed by government research centers at the national and state level. The participation of both types of institutions has been
These percentages do not add up to 100 percent due to collaborations.
Industry and others
relatively stable in the period 1998-2007, with universities co-authoring more than 90 percent of the articles and government institutions slightly more than 10 percent. There is also a slow but steady increase for industry and other type of institutions (independent foundations, hospitals, etc.), which overall have still a relatively low participation in the total research output (co-authoring only about 4 percent of articles) (Figure 4). The number of different institutions that collaborate with each research institution (i.e. its number of connections) is popular measure that characterizes the structure of networks. This number is defined as the degree centrality of the node in network analysis (in this case, a non-directed network), given by the formula: =
where aij represents the existence of a co-authorship between institutions i and j and V(i) represent the set of neighbors of (those who collaborated with) the institution i. The normalized degree centrality is equal to di divided by the total number of nodes (i.e. institutions) in the network minus 1. Both measures of degree are calculated based on the adjacency matrices. The mean degree for nanotechnology research institutions in Brazil increased from almost 5 in 1998 to 6 in 2007 but its standard deviation has doubled. This is a typical characteristic of most realworld growing networks, where the distribution of the degree is heterogeneous and its mean is not representative (Magnien et al., 2005). Typically, there are two different groups of nodes (institutions): a large group of small-degree nodes and a small group of large-degree nodes. In terms of the nanotechnology network analyzed here this implies that, although there is an increase in the number of research institutions involved in nanotechnology (as observed before,) the most connected, as expected, are still the few largest research institutions. Accordingly, the distribution function of the normalized degree seems to follow a power law (inverted in Figure 5) where there are many research institutions with low degree and a fat tail consisting of a small number of institutions with a relatively high degree. This concentration of links around institutions with the highest research output is also predicted by an OLS regression (Figure 6).
FIGURE 5 Normalized degree centrality distribution for nodes in Brazil nanotechnology research network
FIGURE 6 Relation between degree and research output for Brazil nanotechnology research institutions
Probability Density Function
Normalized degree centrality
0.90 0.80 0.70 0.60 0.50 0.40 0.30 0.20 1 6 11 16 21 26 31 36
1998 2001 2004 2007
45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 0
R² = 0.8516
Normalized Degree Centrality
Publications per year
Using weighted connectivity matrices it is possible to assess the concentration of more dense patterns of collaboration (i.e. those involving more co-authored articles) around some institutions. The strength of nodes is defined by the formula: =
where wij represents the number of articles co-authored between institutions i and j and V(i) represent the set of neighbors of (those who collaborated with) the institution i. This analysis of the strength of the nodes in the network shows a relative increase in the strength of top institutions when comparing for example 1998 with 2007 (Figure 7) which reflects their increasing number of research partners and a stable or increasing research output. Once again, the predominant role of the largest institutions is evident. Another measure that helps in understanding the structure of this research network is the clustering coefficient. It is a measure of the density of connections around a node or, in other words, the proportion of nearest neighbors of a node that are linked to each other (Iori et al., 2005). The coefficient is defined by the formula: = 2 ( − 1) 0≤ ≤1
Normalized clustering coefficients are used here to account for a changing network and allow comparisons within the 1998-2007 timeframe. In a completely connected network coefficients are equal to 1. As shown in Figure 8, the nanotechnology network has median coefficients that are very low and decreasing, which indicates decreasing interconnectedness in the network in that timeframe. This may be explained by increasing number of institutions with low number of co-authored publications.
FIGURE 7 Strength of nodes (research institutions) in the Brazil nanotechnology research network Probability Density Function
1.00 0.90 0.80 0.70 0.60 0.50 0.40 0.30 0.20 1 10 100 1000
FIGURE 8 Median clustering coefficient for nodes in the Brazil nanotechnology research network
0.040 0.035 0.030
1998 2001 2004 2007
0.025 0.020 0.015 0.010 0.005 0.000
The share of international collaborations has not increased substantially if looked in terms of the number of countries co-authoring research articles, although it changed its composition. While the share of articles co-authored internationally with institutions of other country (i.e. Brazil and a second country) decreased slightly from 28 to 25 percent in the period 1998-2007, the share of articles co-authored by three different countries (one of them Brazil) raised from 6 to 8 percent in the same period. This growing trend in multilateral collaborations is not a unique characteristic of nanotechnology, since it has been identified for other Latin American countries and scientific fields (Gomez et al., 1999). Overall, the effect is marginally negative, with a decreasing share of internationally co-authored articles from 37 to 35 percent of the total nanotechnology research output. That share is still similar and somewhat higher than the 30 percent found by prior research analyzing all scientific collaborations of Brazil with other countries (Leta & Chaimovich, 2002). The most important partners in research have been USA, France, and Germany, which have increased their collaborations with Brazil in the period 1998-2007. In the region, there are increasing regional collaborations with Argentina and relatively stable collaborations with Chile. Meanwhile, collaborations with other neighbor countries like Cuba and Colombia decreased when comparing 1998 with 2007. Looking at the European countries within the list of top 15 international collaborators, it is observed an increase in articles co-authored with European countries except with Italy and Belgium, which have had a decreasing role in collaborations though they are still important research partners (Table 2). Interestingly, collaborations with Japan reached a 9 percent high in 2003 and decreased to less than 5 percent in 2007. At an aggregate level, international collaborations are concentrated primarily in Europe (77 percent) and North America (27 percent) with a participation of Latin American countries (averaging
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16 percent for the 1998-2007 timeframe.) Collaborations with Asian countries decreased from 18 percent in 1998 to 7 percent in 2007 (Figure 9).
TABLE 2 International collaborations: shares (percentages) of internationally co-authored nanotechnology research articles (top 15 countries)a Country USA France Germany Spain England Japan Italy Argentina Canada Portugal Cuba Russia Chile Belgium Colombia Share of other countries Total intl. collaboration (articles) Share of total research output (%) 1998 20.8 10.9 10.9 5.0 6.9 2.0 11.9 3.0 5.0 1.0 4.0 10.9 0.0 5.9 5.0 31.7 101 37.4 1999 24.4 13.4 11.8 10.2 3.9 0.8 7.9 3.1 2.4 3.1 5.5 3.9 3.1 4.7 2.4 16.5 127 33.7 2000 29.6 15.6 11.9 6.7 5.9 7.4 5.2 2.2 3.0 1.5 8.1 5.9 2.2 0.7 1.5 16.3 135 34.9 2001 23.2 14.1 15.8 8.5 6.8 6.8 5.6 4.0 3.4 4.5 2.8 3.4 2.3 2.8 1.1 18.6 177 32.9 2002 27.3 13.1 8.8 7.7 3.5 6.9 4.2 4.2 6.9 1.9 4.6 3.8 5.4 3.5 1.9 16.5 260 36.9 2003 23.1 16.1 11.6 5.4 7.0 8.7 3.3 5.0 3.7 4.1 2.5 2.9 4.1 1.7 1.2 20.7 242 35.9 2004 27.0 14.3 10.6 2.7 3.1 5.8 6.8 4.8 5.8 5.1 3.8 4.1 2.0 2.0 1.4 26.6 293 36.5 2005 29.7 18.4 12.6 4.4 5.5 6.1 6.1 5.8 5.1 3.4 3.1 2.0 3.4 3.1 1.0 23.5 293 33.9 2006 25.9 15.7 14.0 7.2 7.2 6.9 5.5 4.7 3.3 6.1 4.7 1.9 4.7 2.5 3.6 27.0 363 36.9 2007 23.7 14.7 16.6 9.2 8.9 4.7 5.8 6.3 3.7 4.5 2.1 2.6 3.7 2.9 2.6 27.9 380 35.5
Source: own data. a. total shares may exceed 100 percent because some articles are the result of collaboration with more than one country.
FIGURE 9 Share of co-authorships with different regions worldwide
90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% North America Europe Asia Latin America Africa Japan
Other analyses of how different areas contribute nanotechnology research have found that the majority of research output worldwide is concentrated in a handful of areas like Physics, Materials Science, and Chemistry, pattern that Brazil also follows in general (Glanzel et al., 2003; Meyer &
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Persson, 1998) (Table 3). It is not completely clear in the data how nanotechnology research relates to the so called “bioenvironmental model” of research of Brazil, characterized by concentrations of research publications in Agriculture, Biology, and Earth and Space Sciences (Bound, 2008). For instance, there may be links between some of the top 15 nanotechnology areas and that research model, like between Materials Science / Engineering and Space Sciences and between Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and Biology. Yet the relations with Agriculture and Earth Sciences are not clear when considering the top 15 nanotechnology areas. However, there is also an increasing share of the more than 90 remaining nanotechnology areas that do include, for example, Energy & Fuels, Environmental Sciences, Biotechnology & Applied Microbiology, and Agriculture. Those 90 secondary areas increased their share from about 12 to more than 22 percent of the total nanotechnology research output in the period 19982007.
TABLE 3 Share (percentages) and total research articles in the top 15 nanotechnology research areasa Subject area Physics Materials Science Chemistry Engineering Polymer Science Electrochemistry Nanoscience & Nanotech. Dentistry Instruments & Instrum. Metallurgy & Metal. Eng. Pharmacology & Pharmacy Crystallography Biochemistry & Mol. Biol. Optics Nuclear Science & Tech. Other areas 1998 65.2 19.6 12.2 7.4 4.4 2.6 0.0 0.7 2.2 1.5 0.4 0.7 0.7 4.1 4.1 12.2 1999 49.9 30.8 11.7 5.6 9.5 2.7 0.0 0.8 1.9 1.1 1.3 1.6 1.1 0.5 1.6 15.1 2000 45.0 27.1 17.1 8.5 5.4 2.1 0.0 1.6 0.8 0.8 2.1 1.6 1.0 1.8 0.3 14.5 2001 45.2 31.4 18.4 3.2 8.4 3.5 0.0 1.7 3.3 1.5 1.1 1.3 0.7 0.2 3.5 13.0 2002 44.7 22.9 20.5 5.5 6.8 2.4 0.0 1.4 1.4 2.3 0.6 3.7 0.7 0.9 1.3 9.7 2003 35.9 25.1 22.0 10.4 8.2 4.0 0.0 3.1 1.9 1.6 1.0 2.7 1.6 1.0 1.3 10.1 2004 41.4 32.4 24.2 6.0 5.2 3.7 0.0 2.5 1.6 2.6 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 0.9 16.0 2005 37.5 25.2 23.0 9.5 6.9 3.0 0.0 3.1 1.5 2.1 1.7 0.7 1.3 1.5 0.7 15.2 2006 45.6 24.7 26.4 6.1 5.8 5.6 6.3 2.5 1.4 1.0 1.8 1.0 1.5 1.2 0.9 20.8 2007 37.3 27.8 26.1 6.4 5.2 4.9 7.2 2.6 1.9 1.9 2.8 0.9 2.1 1.7 1.4 22.3 Total 2,842 1,792 1,466 459 432 252 139 151 117 115 102 99 87 85 92 1,054
Source: own data. a. total shares may exceed 100 percent because some articles are assigned to more than one research area.
The geography of nanotechnology research in Brazil shows how South-Eastern states concentrate most of the total research output (Figure 10). Sao Paulo is the leading state in both S&T (Packer & Meneghini, 2006) and nanotechnology in particular. This is the most developed state, contributing about 30 percent of the country’s GDP and 45 percent of the total public funding for science and technology (Bound, 2008; Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatstica (IBGE), 2007). Almost 30 percent of all Brazil research institutions in the dataset are located in this state, authoring or co-authoring about 65 percent of the total research output in the period 1998-2007 (a proportion of research output higher than
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the average for all sciences.) Using the same benchmarks, Rio de Janeiro is the second state, concentrating almost 13 percent of the institutions and authoring or co-authoring about 14 percent of the nanotechnology research articles in that period.
FIGURE 10 States share of nanotechnology research output in Brazil (period 1998-2007)
Piaui Acre Rondonia Mato Grosso Tocantins Bahia
Rio Grande do Norte Paraiba Pernambuco Alagoas Sergipe
GoiasDistrito Federal brazil layer PUBS
0-3 4 - 12 13 - 39 40 - 127 128 - 270 271 - 496 497 - 941 942 - 4360
Mato Grosso do Sul Sao Paulo Parana Santa Catarina Rio Grande do Sul
Minas Gerais Espirito Santo Rio de Janeiro
The growth of the nanotechnology research network in Brazil is perceived when it is visualized based on co-authorship data for different periods. Figure 11 shows how the network has recently evolved comparing four selected years. The structure of the network cannot be distinguished as clear as different network measures have shown, but it is noticeable the increasing number of institutions (Brazilian institutions in darker color) and co-authorships (links.) Increasing international collaborations (represented by links to nodes in light grey) are also observed, most of them with nodes that appear barely connected in the periphery of the graphs. This indicates that there are several international institutions that share, individually, a few co-authorships with Brazilian partners, represented in the graph by low numbers of thin links. Although there are research collaborations with international institutions that yielded several co-authored articles, the majority of strong inter-institutional collaborations are held within the country (not clearly appreciated in the core of the network graphs.) - 13 -
FIGURE 11 Brazil nanotechnology research network evolution (Brazil institutions in darker color; links represent co; co authorships; total number of research institutions, national and international, in parentheses) parentheses 1998 (N=160) 2001 (N=277)
5. Policy implications Overall, the data show that the nanotechnology network in Brazil has evolved in the sense that is growing in terms of nodes and links and changing slightly its structure reducing international collaborations In collaborations. other words, collaborations between national research institutions have increased their number, as demonstrated by increasing number of authors and institutions per publication. The extensive participation of universities in the research output is not surprising when comparing with prior research research, but the share of government institutions and industry are about a half and a quarter, respectively, of the average share found worldwide in top nanotechnology journals (Schummer, 2004). The role of de
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government laboratories have grown considerably between 1998 and 2007. Programs like “Institutos do Milênio” or the sectoral funds may have encouraged that increasing share in recent years, not only for the institutions directly targeted but also for other government laboratories at the state level. Meanwhile, the industry role in research appears reasonable considering that Brazil is still a transition economy, but there may be other more important factors responsible for this, including: low patenting level that suggests weaknesses in system of commercialization of knowledge (Bound, 2008; Kay & Shapira, 2008), an inward-looking industry innovation system (Bound, 2008), and the poor returns to private investment in new technology, which have augmented the doubts about the future of Brazilian technological development in the past (Pinheiro-Machado & de Oliveira, 2001). Therefore, industrial nanotechnology research appears as a potential target of future programs, primarily through the reform or improvement of the current intellectual property system and increasing support of university-industry collaborations in the context of international projects. In the future, an increasing role of industry research will be an indicator of successful network policies and an important base for potential commercialization of research findings. The data reveal that place still matters in nanotechnology research in Brazil, something that is directly related to the discussion of the previous paragraph. It is remarkable the uneven participation of different regions or states, being the vast majority of the research activity concentrated in the South-East, particularly in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Minas Gerais, following the general pattern of S&T concentration in the country. A process of decentralization of the S&T activity has begun in recent years (Bound, 2008) and the nanotechnology network policy may contribute to some extent the aim of developing lagging states. That is a reasonable target, even within the limits of the current budget for nanotechnology. For this may be interesting to explore how many research institutions have capabilities to integrate nanotechnology research networks in those regions and what regional spillovers that activity may generate. Those institutions can be increasingly targeted in future network programs, coordinating nanotechnology research with other industry and local development plans. Potential targets may be, for example, the Northern states of Amazonas and Para, and the North-Eastern state of Maranaho, which concentrate about 9 percent of the country’s population, 5 percent of its GDP, but only 2 percent of the nanotechnology research output (Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatstica (IBGE), 2007). From an outward perspective, international collaborations are still critical because they increase the impact of Brazilian publications in science and grow recognition and international visibility for the country and the region (Leta & Chaimovich, 2002; Packer & Meneghini, 2006). Important variations in co-authorships with different world regions at an aggregate level are evidence of selective collaborations with European countries, in spite of still relatively strong collaborations with North America. This finding confirms to some extent more broader collaborations in S&T based on bilateral collaborations with countries like the US, France, Germany, and Japan (Bound, 2008). Overall, the data suggest that, although - 15 -
the set of international partners is diverse, Brazil is part of the group of countries with collaborations based on bilateral relations like those mentioned above, with an increasing share of trilateral relations (Meyer & Persson, 1998). In the long term, the decrease (today insignificant) of international coauthorships may be probably the consequence of the network effects through which Brazil successfully has sourced knowledge, ideas, and other resources to develop its own research capabilities and infrastructure. For that reason, a decrease in international collaborations or, more probably, a new change in their configuration may be expected and considered positive. However, the meaning of the observed patterns of international collaboration is not clear without further research, since different regions may be better allies for developing capabilities or sourcing resources in different nanotechnology areas that are not clearly related to specific regions or countries (Schummer, 2004). Collaborations with neighbor countries deserve some specific comments. Although the nanotechnology policy of Brazil has been grounded mostly in national research and collaboration with leading countries, it has been also to some extent built upon a research partnership with Argentina, the largest neighbor, through the Centro Brasileiro-Argentino de Nanotecnologia (CABNN), a virtual nanotechnology center bringing together research from groups working in both countries (Almeida, 2005). The trend of co-authorships with Argentina confirms that. This bilateral cooperation has antecedents in biotechnology (Centro Argentino Brasileño de Biotecnologia (CABBIO), 2008) and nuclear technology research (de Oliveira, 1998) and evolves towards a closer integration between the S&T systems of both countries and, potentially, with all the countries of the MERCOSUR (Corder et al., 2002).7 Furthermore, in the long-term, that regional partnership may be extended to other countries like Chile, another research partner, and become a leading initiative for integration and technological development in the region, something suggested by the author as a potential strategy for Brazil for nanotechnology development (Kay & Shapira, 2008). Since “Redes Nacionais de Nanotecnologia,” the first nanotechnology program implemented in 2001, the federal government has followed a network approach to leverage existing resources and increase the involvement of different actors. Interestingly but not surprisingly, the data reveal that the call for research projects to be funded by that first program included a majority of research institutions that have always dominated the scenario of nanotechnology research in Brazil (at least, during the 1998-2007 timeframe.) Most of the 36 institutions involved in that program have been universities and co-authored 87 percent of the total nanotechnology research output of Brazil in the period 1998-2007 (Table 4). This is in line with other findings and raises the question of to what extent is possible to integrate more government laboratories and firms, more states, and universities that are not among, for example, the top
MERCOSUR stands for “Southern Common Market.” It was created by Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay in March 1991. The agreements of these countries include goals like gradual elimination of tariff barriers and harmonization of the macroeconomic policies.
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20. The list of nanotechnology projects approved under the more recent program "Desenvolvimento da Nanociência e da Nanotecnologia" (2004-2007) gives additional insights. In addition to the most active universities and federal government laboratories, a set of firms (still a few) are also included as intervening institutions (MCT, 2006), which may increase the share of industry in nanotechnology research and, even more interestingly, patenting activity.
TABLE 4 Total research output and share of the research institutions involved in the first nanotechnology projects (NANOBIOTEC, NANOMAT, NANOSEMIMAT, and RENAMI) under the “Redes Nacionais de Nanotecnologia” program in 2001. Institution Universidade de São Paulo, Sao Paulo Universidade Estadual de Campinas, SP Universidade Estadual Paulista Julio Mesquita Filho, SP Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, RJ Universidade de São Paulo em Sao Carlos, SP Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Rio Grande Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, MG Universidade de Brasília, SP Universidade Federal do Paraná, Parana Universidade Federal do Ceará, Ceara Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, PE Associação Brasileira de Tecnologia Luz Síncroton, SP Pontificia Univ Catolica Rio De Janeiro, Rio De Janeiro Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Sao Carlos Universidade Federal de Uberlândia, MG Universidade Federal Rio Grande Norte, RN Universidade Federal Goias, Go Universidade de São Paulo em Ribeirao Preto, SP Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, RJ Instituto de Pesquisas Energéticas e Nucleares, Sao Paulo Centro Brasileiro de Pesquisas Físicas, Rio De Janeiro Comissão Nacional de Energia Nuclear, MG Universidade Federal Santa Maria, SP Universidade Federal da Bahia, BA Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora, Minas Gerais Universidade Federal de Sergipe, SE Universidade Estadual de Ponta Grossa, PR Universidade Federal de Ouro Preto, MG Universidade de Mogi das Cruzes, SP Centro Federal de Educação Tecnológica do Maranhão, MA Escola Politécnica da USP, SP Universidade Federal Paraiba, SP Instituto Pesquisas Tecnol Estado Sao Paulo Sa, Sao Paulo Universidade Estado Rio Grande Do Norte, RN Universidade Federal Alagoas, AL Univ Catolica Pernambuco, PE Total for the group of 36 institutions Publicationsa 1,291 1,108 565 508 506 413 395 329 274 266 241 202 183 174 132 117 109 92 88 87 86 83 74 57 41 33 28 24 24 17 16 16 11 11 11 2 5,800 Share (%)b 19.4 16.6 8.5 7.6 7.6 6.2 5.9 4.9 4.1 4.0 3.6 3.0 2.7 2.6 2.0 1.8 1.6 1.4 1.3 1.3 1.3 1.2 1.1 0.9 0.6 0.5 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.3 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.0 87.0
Source: based on own data. Notes: a. period 1998-2007. b. share of each research institution in the total nanotechnology research output of the country for the period; totals exceed 100 percent due to collaborations.
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6. Conclusions The analysis has portrayed the general structure of the nanotechnology research network in Brazil and given some insights for understanding the policy implications of its recent evolution. Generally speaking, the network has evolved in the sense that has grown in terms of nodes and links, while changing slightly its structure to reduce and change international collaborations and increase the relative participation of industry laboratories and industry. The increasing number of authors and institutions per article illustrates also the growing density of the network. Interestingly, the share of different research areas within nanotechnology has changed towards more diversity. From the policy perspective, nanotechnology programs have shown to be aligned with those general trends, although some caveats apply regarding the geographic distribution of research output and the share of government and industry research. The evidence neither allows conclusive remarks about the effectiveness of the network policy in Brazil nor understates its potential. Future analyses may be more instructive for assessing the effectiveness of the network effects generated by policies when looking back and taking this research work as a baseline.
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