03/06/2021 – Engagement strategies regarding the Brazilian Diaspora of Science, Technology and Innovation: the case of Rede Diáspora Brasil

The aim of the present work is to analyse engagement strategies regarding the Brazilian Diaspora of Science, Technology and Innovation (ST&I) by the Brazilian government. The specific use of the term diaspora for the migration of highly qualified people has developed throughout time, starting with the “brain drain” approach and moving towards the understanding of the positive effects of talent insertion in the international knowledge network (“brain circulation” and “brain networking”). At the beginning, the engagement strategies were focused on mapping the diaspora members, carrying out events and awarding prizes to outstanding diaspora members. More recently, the policy design became “high resolution”, articulating cooperation and engagement based on specific national problems. Thus, the challenge posed is twofold: not only mapping and engaging the diaspora, but, simultaneously, expanding the cooperation in strategic themes to home country problems, where the collaboration is a two-way road. The efficient engagement of the ST&I diaspora depends on strategies and policies that promote substantial behavioural changes, both at the diaspora level – so that this is motivated towards engagement with homeland projects – and at the sending country institutions – setting up more flexible and less bureaucratical mechanisms and tools. This means changes in the way diaspora issues are being understood and dealt with, setting up a favourable environment for the establishment of virtuous interaction circles.  The focus of the presentation will be the engagement strategies regarding the Brazilian Diaspora of ST&I in the United States of America by the Brazilian government, specifically the project named Rede Diáspora Brasil.  This project was developed from 2013 to 2016 by the Brazilian Industrial Development Agency (ABDI) and was funded by the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil).  The aim of the project was to set up a “network of networks”, engaging active initiatives and Brazilian professionals (executives, entrepreneurs and scholars) and foreign professionals presenting affinities with Brazil, comprising interest in common projects, partnerships and research cooperation for the development of business and projects in intensive knowledge and technology areas. In other words, it was an initiative to set up a collaborative network of Brazilian professionals. In order to obtain information on the Rede Diáspora Brasil, the research team carried out a document review based on literature; the ABDI website; the Rede Diáspora Brasil social media; and the recovery of information from the old website of the Rede, using the WebArchive tool. The Rede Diáspora Brasil contributed to positively redefine the vision regarding the Brazilian diaspora.  However, the tools used were not the most adequate. The Rede developed many activities in a short period, nevertheless a more coherent strategy was lacking. For example, to be less focused on the carrying out of events. Apart from this, the studies and mapping developed were weak. Based on more recent literature, which suggests high resolution design strategies, the project could have started on a lesser scale and have slowly grown. Another problem encountered was that the project could not sustain itself due to being a government project and not a State policy.

About the speaker

Ana Maria Carneiro is a researcher at the Center for Public Policy Studies at the University of Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil. She is also an advisor to the Dean’s Office regarding Institutional Evaluation and a collaborating professor at the Science and Technology Policy Graduate Program. She has a PhD in Science and Technology Policy and a master’s degree in Sociology. Her projects and future interests include Brazilian diaspora of science, technology and innovation; evaluation of higher education and science and technology programs; and higher education focusing mainly on access and success of underrepresented groups and undergraduate and graduate student experiences.

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