UAlberta partners with Brazil to enhance student mobility and research

Four of Canada's top universities have sent a signal that they're open for business as Brazil prepares to send thousands of students to study and conduct research abroad.

The University of Alberta, University of Laval, Dalhousie University and the University of Ottawa—members of the CALDO consortium—have signed agreements with Brazil’s two premiere funding agencies as the South American country looks to advance its research connections with post-secondary institutions around the world.

“We want both the Brazilian government and Brazilian students to know that we’re ready to partner as they work to enhance the quality of their academic research and teaching," said John Zee, executive director of the CALDO consortium. “We have tremendous research capacity and many of Canada's greatest minds among the four CALDO institutions, and we can offer a level of student service that is unparalleled. We’re really taking a lead in Canada to engage Brazil as they open their universities to the rest of the world.”

Earlier this year the Brazilian government announced an ambitious plan to sponsor approximately 75,000 students to study and conduct research abroad between now and 2014. The Science Without Borders program is meant to address the country’s increasing need for highly-skilled scientists and engineers given its expanding economy. With a focus on engineering, health sciences, life sciences and technology, the scholarships will be awarded through the Ministry of Science and Technology's National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) and the Ministry of Education's Federal Agency for the Support and Evaluation of Graduate Education (CAPES).

Zee noted that CALDO is at the forefront in Canada, already signing agreements with CAPES on November 15 and CNPq in September. CALDO will be working immediately to establish undergraduate and graduate student mobility connections, specifically targeting doctoral study and short-term undergraduate research internships for Brazilian students at CALDO institutions. Visiting research exchanges, postdoctoral fellowship training, and opportunities for Canadian students to study in Brazil will also be explored.

Zee said Brazilian students will be best served by CALDO because the consortium offers a unique, exclusive first point of contact for sponsored students interested in studying abroad in Canada. CALDO’s four-in-one philosophy gives students access to more than 6,000 professors, 240+ research centres and institutes, and hundreds of graduate program options.

“With one inquiry, students will get help identifying a graduate program and receive ongoing assistance as they choose a CALDO university and move through the application process. It’s an amazing level of service offered within one-stop—a perfect window into Canada for Brazil’s outstanding young researchers,” said Zee, noting CALDO represents all regions of Canada—Alberta in the west, Ottawa and Laval in central Canada, and Dalhousie in the east.

“Canada is a safe, multicultural, welcoming country and our consortium represents the very best our country has to offer. When you put together our ground-breaking research, our intellectual capacity and our specialized services, students at a CALDO university will have the very best chance for success. We can’t wait to further our relationships with Brazil.”

Britta Baron, Vice-Provost and Associate Vice-President International for the University of Alberta, agreed. “CALDO has brought a group of universities and a group of people together who are willing to make things happen,” she said.

“We are building a new model within Canadian postsecondary education that would allow the CALDO institutions to better interact with government and corporate partners abroad. We are receiving very positive feedback from key players abroad such as CAPES in Brazil. It is exciting to move this forward.”

For more information on CALDO, visit www.caldo.ca