Innovation for sustainable development – new partnerships (NoPa)

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: Division 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 2017


Brazil is the seventh largest economy and one of the most populous countries in the world. However, despite its excellent research facilities and universities, it ranked only 70 out of 142 countries in the 2015 Global Innovation Index. This can partly be attributed to the low level of international networking and the scant transfer of knowledge into practice.

Promoting research and ensuring its practical relevance through cooperation with political and private-sector partners offers enormous potential for innovation. Such cooperation can help Brazil to meet its self-imposed climate goals more rapidly. These goals include reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions by protecting biodiversity and tropical forests, and increasing the use of renewable energy sources and technologies to boost energy efficiency.


The conditions for using the results of bilateral cooperative research have improved. This includes cooperation in the field of protection and sustainable use of natural resources as well as renewable energies and energy efficiency.


The partner for the Innovation for Sustainable Development – New Partnerships (NoPa) programme is the Division of Science and Technology (DCTEC) of the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MRE). The projects are being implemented by the Brazilian Federal Agency for the Support and Evaluation of Graduate Education (CAPES), the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and GIZ on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

The programme is active in three areas:

  • Demand-driven calls for proposals to use research funds. NoPa issues calls for research projects geared to the demand arising from the political, business and research sectors and from civil society.
  • New partnerships between researchers and future users of the research results. Matchmaking events early in the process foster exchange between universities, research institutes, political decision-makers and representatives of the private sector and civil society.
  • Implementation of Brazilian-German research projects and back-up support until the results are integrated into practice. Scholarships make it possible to develop bilateral research projects and facilitate the mobility of teaching staff, researchers, PhD candidates and other students, thereby promoting the application of research results.

NoPa sets out to specifically promote applied and demand-led research cooperation. In the two areas of cooperation for sustainable development in which CAPES and DAAD are active, the programme issues calls for binational research projects, and provides scientific and expert advisory and monitoring services for the projects. The research is opening up highly relevant new fields of application, with innovative technologies and concepts being incorporated into Brazilian-German cooperation programmes for sustainable development (improving protection and sustainable use of natural resources, and promoting renewable energies and energy efficiency).


Under the NoPa programme, 15 results-oriented research projects with a practical basis were carried out between 2010 and 2015. Three of these focused on the protection and sustainable management of tropical forests and 12 on renewable energies and energy efficiency.

For example, partners from the University of Stuttgart and the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro developed a planning method for integrating solar thermal energy (Concentrating Solar Power – CSP) into Brazil’s energy mix and prepared practical recommendations for political and industrial decision-makers. The CSP tools are already being used on the ground and refined by the Brazilian Energy Research Agency (ENE), the German Aerospace Centre (DLR), the Brazilian Electricity Regulatory Agency (ANEEL) and the energy supplier CHESF.

The possibility of integrating solar energy into cogeneration power plants using sugarcane bagasse was explored in a research project by the University of Duisburg-Essen, the Federal University of Santa Catarina and the Federal University of São Paulo. This could enable the sugar and alcohol industry to produce energy throughout the entire year rather than just during the sugarcane harvest. A pilot plant is currently being built by TGM Turbinas, Valmont and Santa Catarina’s non-profit coal industry association.