Accelerating Innovation in Brazil

After several years of focusing on monetary and fiscal policy at the macro-level, and creating a more stable and predictable economic environment for industry, Brazil embarked over the last several years on a large-scale effort to address structural issues around building innovation capabilities with the country. In the face of increased global competition, particularly from Asia, many Brazilian workers and industries are at a competitive disadvantage when it comes to capturing higher skilled and value-added work that can translate into higher productivity and a higher standard of living.  This competitive disadvantage has been exacerbated by the country’s current economic and political crisis. Given recent headwinds, the innovation agenda is more important than ever to Brazil and to the Brazilian government’s effort to support and drive economic growth.

SENAI, Brazil’s National Service for Industrial Training, is also turning its attention and resources to the issue of innovation in Brazil. Because of SENAI’s vast network of workforce training institutes across the country and its long history of working collaboratively with industry, it has been charged with the creation of 25 SENAI Innovation Institutes (ISIs), each of which will focus on a particular technology or group of technologies associated with one or several industries in which Brazil has existing capabilities. Over half of the Institutes are operational as of 2016 and the rest will be launched in the next two years. SENAI’s goal is to create a network of institutes that will work with industry on applied research, and also act as catalysts within the national and regional innovation “ecosystems” to spur greater innovation, more open collaboration across institutions, and the development of the next generation of globally competitive Brazilian firms, both established and emerging.

Collaboration with MIT and the Industrial Performance Center

In its collaboration with SENAI, MIT’s IPC builds on two decades of research on national and regional systems of innovation around the world. In this program of research we have collaborated with governments and private organizations responsible for promoting innovation in a wide range of countries, including Taiwan, China, Finland, the United Kingdom, Norway and Japan.  An important goal of this work has been to understand the sources of variation in national and local systems of innovation, and in particular, to seek practical insights into how the role of research and educational institutions can be enhanced in these different contexts.

The IPC’s research agenda with SENAI on Brazil’s innovation ecosystem will focus on three primary areas of research: 1) national and regional institutional context for innovation, 2) industrial organization and structure, including global value chains with an initial focus on three industries:  biopharma, information and communication technology (ICT) and oil and gas and 3) the ISIs individually and collectively as part of the network of innovation institutes across the country.

The IPC holds a spring and fall seminar series on the topic of innovation in Brazil. For more information about the seminar series or the project in general, please contact

Advisory Board

 Glauco Arbix, Professor of Sociology, USP, Former President, FINEP
 Rafael Bottos, CEO, Welle Laser
 Carlos Henrique de Brito Cruz, Scientific Director, FAPESP
 Ricardo Felizzola CEO HT Micron; MEI Representative
 João Fernando Gomes de Oliveira, Professor USP; Former President, Embrapii
 José Eduardo Fiates, CEO, CV Ventures
 Bernardo Gradin, CEO, GranBio, MEI member
 Fernanda de Negri, Director of Studies and Industry Innovation Policies, Regulation and Infrastructure, IPEA 
 Carlos Pacheco, Director, CNPEM
 Fernando Reinarch, Principal, Pitanga Investmentv

IPC Industry Roundtables, Spring 2016

2016 Accelerating Innovation in Brazil Working Papers

Sturgeon, Timothy J.
Brazil in Global Value Chains
MIT-IPC Working Paper 16-001
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Lima de Oliveira, Renato
Resource-Led Industrial Development in the Oil & Gas Supply Chain: The Case of Brazil
MIT-IPC Working Paper 16-002
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Zylberberg, Ezequiel
Redefining Brazil's Role in Information and Communication Technology Global Value Chains
MIT-IPC Working Paper 16-003
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Reynolds, Elisabeth B., Ezequiel Zylberberg, Victoria Del Campo
Brazil's Role in the Biopharmaceutical Global Value Chain
MIT-IPC Working Paper 16-004
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Martínez-Vela, Carlos
Benchmarking Research and Technology Organizations (RTOs): A Comparative Analysis
MIT-IPC Working Paper 16-005
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