Innovation for sustainable development – new partnerships (NoPa) (completed)

Project description

Title: Innovation for sustainable development – new partnerships (NoPa)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Brazil
Lead executing agency: Department of Science and Technology of the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Ministério das Relações Exteriores (MRE)/Divisão de Ciência e Tecnologia (DCTEC))
Overall term: 2014 to 2018

Brazil. A workshop for researchers and their partners from politics and business. © GIZ


As the seventh largest economy in the world, Brazil only succeeded in attaining 69th place out of 127 countries in the 2017 Global Innovation Index, despite boasting excellent research institutions and universities. The reasons behind this include marginal international networking and a limited transfer of knowledge into practice.

Promoting research and ensuring its practical relevance through cooperation with policy-makers and the private sector, offers significant potential for innovation. Such cooperation will enable Brazil to achieve its self-imposed climate protection goals more quickly: for example, a reduction in climate-impacting greenhouse gas emissions by protecting biodiversity and the country's tropical forests. Or the increased use of renewable energy sources and technologies to enhance energy efficiency.


The results of bilateral research collaborations are being used more effectively. Research opens up new and highly relevant fields of application. Innovative technologies and concepts are incorporated into Brazilian-German cooperation programmes for sustainable development (the protection and sustainable use of natural resources and the promotion of renewable energies and energy efficiency).

Brazil. NoPa supports innovations in the protection and sustainable use of natural resources, as well as renewable energies and energy efficiency © GIZ


The Brazilian research funding organisation CAPES, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and GIZ worked together to implement innovation projects up until 2018. The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) was GIZ’s commissioning party. The project focused on three main areas:
Demand-oriented calls for proposals to use research funds: The initiative tendered research projects based on existing demand from policy-makers, the business and research sectors and the wider civil society.

New partnerships between researchers and the future users of research results: Matchmaking events in the run-up to tenders promoted processes of exchange between universities and research institutes as well as policy-makers and representatives of the private sector and civil society.

Implementation of German-Brazilian research projects and back-up support until the results are integrated into practice: Scholarships facilitated the development of bilateral research projects and the mobility of teachers, researchers, doctoral candidates and students. 

NoPa built on the approach behind the targeted promotion of cooperation on applied and demand-driven research. The funding was based on tenders from CAPES and DAAD for bi-national research projects. Further topics included the provision of scientific and technical advice for these research projects, as well as their monitoring.


Since 2010, the NoPa programme has supported a total of 20 bi-national research projects involving approximately 60 German and Brazilian research institutions, as well as more than 60 partners from the private and public sectors in Brazil.

For example, regarding innovative approaches to sediment and water management in Brazil: The research cooperation collected data on reservoirs and created a software solution. On this basis, recommendations for innovative water management were developed, including on sediments, algae distribution and water levels. The research results were prepared as a manual for their practical implementation, and 20 technicians were given training. The research cooperation involved the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), the Federal University of Paraná (UFPR), the Paraná state water utility - SANEPAR, the company Innomar Tecnologias and SENETEC Aquatic Technology GmbH. SANEPAR invested in equipment and gauges to improve its reservoir management. Improved water management contributes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Another research cooperation looked at the energy-efficient retrofitting of buildings in Brazil. It developed design guidelines for retrofitting - i.e. the modernisation or expansion of structures. The guidelines adopted a focus on natural ventilation which would save electricity. With the support of the Union of the Civil Construction Industry of the state of São Paulo (SINDUSCON-SP), which represents more than 32,000 member companies, the research findings have been translated into a guideline for the construction sector. In total, more than 80 people were reached during workshops and seminars.

The research cooperation involved HafenCity University Hamburg (HCU), the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP), the companies Christophe Lenderoth GmbH and MGM Produtos Siderúrgicos Ltda, and SINDUSCON-SP.