Brain drain?

Image: Tejas Prajapati


In addition to encouraging the return of researchers, Brazil should take care of public universities and the approximately 63 thousand unemployed doctors

The production of science in Brazil takes place, as a rule, in public universities. This is where the scientific production teams come from, that is, those who will unveil viruses in times of pandemic, those who will discover how to carry out the exploitation of natural resources (in a “sustainable” way or not), those who will develop theories about reality and social relations, those who will be able to act in the elaboration of public policies because they have the technical-scientific knowledge to do so.

These and many others come from universities. Therefore, it seems obvious that investment in public universities, in undergraduate and postgraduate courses, should be prioritized by the Union. However, this is not what we have seen in the country in the last ten years or so.

Mainly from 2016, with the coup d'état, education and science suffered significant budget cuts, a scenario that worsened from 2018. Now, postgraduate students depend on scholarships to finance their research (which in fact they are not yours, because the production of knowledge is in the interest of the nation). Undergraduates depend on scholarships to enter postgraduate studies. Education and science depend on public funding to exist.

As a consequence, the successive reduction in this funding promoted the effect called “brain drain”, the departure of qualified researchers from the country for professional placement or continuing research abroad. Recently, the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation estimated that 35 thousand researchers are outside Brazil.

However, many brains remained in the country, without scholarships, without investment and without jobs. This situation has worsened to the point where today we have an estimated 63 thousand unemployed doctors in Brazil. In addition to this amount of highly qualified people without work, we still have the situation of public universities. Dozens of federal universities are on strike, demanding budget restoration and salary adjustments. It is clear that the scenario for higher education in the country is critical.

In parallel to this scenario, the current government announced the Program for Attracting and Retaining Researchers for Innovation and Scientific Development – ​​Knowledge Brazil, which seeks to repatriate researchers who left to pursue postgraduate studies outside Brazil and did not return. As one of the ten priority programs of the 2023 Annual Investment Plan of the National Fund for Scientific and Technological Development (FNDCT), Knowledge Brazil will grant monthly scholarships of R$13 thousand for doctors and R$10 thousand for masters returning to the country.[I]

And the 63 thousand unemployed? We also want to know. These were the ones who remained in the country under the orders and abuses of Michel Temer and Jair Bolsonaro. Could there not be a public policy for absorbing these doctors? What the government offers to those who left is a scholarship worth more than the salary of a professor who has just started his teaching career at federal universities!

Above a postdoctoral fellowship! And more: installation assistance, travel assistance, resources to take out Insurance or Health Plan for the scholarship holder and their family, social security assistance so that the scholarship recipient can collect the equivalent of their contribution as a self-employed person from the INSS,[ii] capital resources and costs for purchasing equipment and project maintenance worth up to R$400 thousand or visits to centers of excellence abroad worth up to R$120 thousand.

For the doctors employed in federal universities as teachers, the strike and the accusation of being enemies of the country remained. We fight against the privatization of the MEC (Ministry of Education), the colony of the Leman/Musk group. We go on strike for essential human resources, for fundamental rights, and we are the ones who are offended and attacked by other teachers – as enemies of the country.

For “brilliant minds, the solution is to repatriate brains that flee the fight. As we stand and fight. Therefore, this is a very dirty country project. Brazil is brown, without a doubt. But, above all, above all, Brazil is stupid. Before we were a friendly caramel.

Let's imagine a dialogue like this, between one of us and a curious neighbor, a little suspicious of the real world:

“I told my neighbor that, if I were starting today, I would never pursue an academic career. Any former student has much more respect in law than I did at a public university. Then the neighbor's caramel said: 'That's right, look at this crazy thing, building 100 federal institutes, without taking care of the ones that exist'. Afterwards, the caramel said he would consult the woodpecker, to find out what this logic was. The woodpecker, which caramel mentioned, is the tough guy who created 100 institutes, having abandoned the others. Brazilian nature is hilarious, but it is perverse. That's why caramel is preferred, exactly, because it doesn't have mongrel syndrome. There is no caramel in the world that can withstand this outrage.”

This project condemns science and research in Brazil, carried out by Brazilian men and women who live in Brazil, puts us in the background, as second-rate scientists. Certainly, this is the worst perception of those who think about science in the country or, to put it another way, they are not scientists or they are and have put themselves at the service of some non-republican undertaking, based on illogical, irrational, disproportionate bases.

Yes, many principles are violated in this project, starting with the principles of equality and proportionality – which is not at all reasonable, so the principle of reasonableness is also violated in the act of authorship of this nefarious idea by some “brilliant mind”…

*Vinicio Carrilho Martinez is a professor at the Department of Education at the Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCar), author, among other books, of Bolsonarism. Some Political-Legal and Psychosocial Aspects (APGIQ). []

*Tainá Reis She has a PhD in sociology from the Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCar).


[I] These scholarships will last for 48 months (extendable for another twelve months). The burning question is: what then? Will these repatriated brains join the unemployed doctors?

[ii] It is necessary to remember that researchers in Brazil are not recognized as workers (they “only study”, after all), so there is no payment to the INSS, which inevitably postpones the prospect of retirement even further.

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